|Raised at Lancaster Gate, father was
a general. Eleventh child of 13. He was schooled at Leamington College,
Liverpool University College, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where
he was a member of the Apostles and a close friend of Leonard Woolf.
Perhaps the most free-thinking of the early group, Lytton introduced
the use of first names amongst the Cambridge friends and first broached
the taboo subject of sex by pointing at a stain on Vanessa's dress
and asking, "Semen?" His work in the field of biography
was similarly groundbreaking, subjecting figures previously revered
to an uncompromising scrutiny. Though he was homosexual, the most
lasting intimate relationship of his life was with the painter Dora
Carrington, who deeply loved him and lived with him from 1917 until
his death, first at Tidmarsh, Berkshire, then Ham Spray, where they
were joined for a time by Carrington's husband, Ralph Partridge.
Shortly after Lytton died of stomach cancer, Carrington committed
suicide, unable to bear the thought of life without him.
"The duality of his temperament found a parallel in certain physical characteristics. He spoke with two voices. The one tiny as that of the gnat in Alice and Wonderland; the other grave and deep. [...] There was a similar contrast in his demeanor; an extreme passivity bordering on lassitude was apt to be broken by the most fantastic gesticulation when he repudiated some enormity or hailed an extravagance that delighted him."