Odo Cross

The mention of Odo Cross, who was sufficiently well-to-do to finance the purchase of Benton End for Cedric Morris and Lett Haines in 1939 (Cedric Price was, after all, rich enough to buy it himself), has sparked interest in who he was. I don’t know much. He was painted by Cedric Morris in an undated portrait in the National Museum of Wales and appears in Bill Feaver’s biography of Lucian Freud living in Jamaica in great style with Angus Wilson (from New Zealand, not the novelist), surrounded by Impressionists and looked after by black house boys. His money apparently came from Crosse and Blackwell soups, a big and international company which made Lea & Perrins sauce and Branston Pickle and he is said to have been an ex-ballet dancer, as well as Morris’s lover. In 1947, he published The Snail that Climbed the Eiffel Tower, illustrated by John Minton and the inspiration for John Lennon’s ‘I am the Walrus’. Any other information would be welcome.

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