Tuesday, July 28, 2015
CHRISTINE WOOD-DIXON-SABATINI (1897 – 1963)
According to Jesse Knight Christine was a talented whistler and used to perform on stage which is how she came to the attention of her first husband. He stated that “virtually all the personal information” he had of Christine came from Mrs Nina Oestreich.
According to Ancestry (online) she was married to Hugh Wainwright Dixon (1880?-1974?) at St Marylebone Church, London, in January 1912. That would mean that Christine was married at the age of 15 or slightly less (we don’t know her birth date in full). Their only child, Lancelot Steele Dixon (Lanty) was born in 1916 and died in 1940. Christine petitioned for ‘judicial separation’ in 1931. Details can be had (on payment) from the National Archives, Kew; the reference number is J 77/2959/1453 and the Divorce Court File is number 1453.
Here are some examples of Christine’s work as sculptor. First a photograph of her then father-in-law, Lancelot Steele Dixon (1844-1931 – after the divorces of Hugh and of Ruth), followed by a bronze bust which is still in the office of the L.S. Dixon Group Ltd. in Liverpool. Photograph of the bust by Jesse Knight/ Dollie C. Smith.
Two photographs of Lanty’s grave by Jesse.
A close-up of Rafael’s head taken by Jesse/ Dollie; and a photograph by David Willis, both of Rafael (and Christine)’s grave.
Some surviving (in 1985) sculptures at Clock Mill, photographed by Jesse/ Dollie: an otter with a fish, a triton, and a hand – brought out of doors and laid on the grass for the photo - which Jesse believed was Rafael’s hand, but cited no reason for believing it. However, it does seem a likely supposition.
And finally, details of Christine’s Will in case any would-be researcher would care to follow clues! (This data is courtesy of David Willis.)
To Gladys Jones (Christine’s sister and only sibling) of “Keyner” Mayalls near Swansea in the County of Glamorgan, £5000 and all her wearing apparel including furs but excluding jewellery; to the Vicar and Churchwardens for the time being [sic] of St Mary’s Church, Clifford in the County of Hereford, £100 for the maintenance of the church; to Frank William Morgan if he is still in her employ at the time of her death, £500; to John Reginald Smith and to James Noel Smith, both of Glastonbury-on-Wye, £200 each; to Edwin James Hyett of 2 Dulas Terrace, Hay-on-Wye, £200; to Sarah Parr, widow of Raymond Parr, £100; and all her real and personal estate to the Westminster Bank in Trust for distribution among the following: the Imperial Cancer Research Fund at Royal College of Surgeons, Lincoln’s Inn Fields; the National Institute for the Blind, Great Portland Street; and the National Fund for Poliomyelitis Research, Vincent Square, all in London.
Sadly, Christine showed a complete want of sense in her legacies to people in Adelboden. Rafael used to have an account in Berne, not declared to the British taxman. The bank manager was a great friend who used to visit him in Adelboden every year. After Rafael’s death Clock Mill was thoroughly searched for incriminating evidence of undeclared finances hidden abroad, but in vain. However, the friendly manager was succeeded by a stranger who, after learning of Christine’s death, informed the Westminster Bank of this account and all that had been drawn from it. Christine appears to have left – somehow – sums of money as follows: 4000 francs to Nina Oestreich, smaller sums to the doctor and the nurse and to Christian Schmid, her favourite ski-guide, and all the balance to a kindergarten in Adelboden. The Westminster Bank took the legatees to court and, in 1973, compelled them to return their legacies.