Obituary: Frank Pogson Doria Pamphilj

WHEN FRANK Pogson met Orietta Doria Pamphilj in a church in the Adriatic port of Ancona in 1943, he had no idea that the chance encounter with a volunteer aid worker would lead to his becoming a member of one of Rome's greatest noble families.

Born in Maidenhead in 1923, brought up in Mexico where his father worked for Shell and educated at Hurstpierpoint College in Sussex, Pogson had volunteered for the Navy at the start of the Second World War. He sailed with North Atlantic convoys before being promoted to the rank of lieutenant- commander and being given the command, at the age of just 22, of a minesweeper in the Adriatic.

"Knowing my mother," says Jonathan Doria Pamphilj of their meeting, "I expect she gave him no indication at all of her family background. In fact, he may not have realised exactly who she was until years later, when he came to visit her in Rome."

Drawn together by a shared interest in Catholicism - Pogson had converted at the age of 18 - the two cemented their friendship in a 14-year correspondence. Then in 1958 Pogson - a Shell employee at the time - changed his name by deed poll to Doria Pamphilj before marrying his long-time flame in the Brompton Oratory.

The union received the blessing of Orietta's father, who himself had married an Englishwoman in a family tradition which dates back to 1830. Prince Filippo insisted only that Pogson take the family name before marrying the last of the line. The prince died before the wedding took place, leaving the newly weds to face crippling death duties and to cope with a huge estate badly in need of refurbishment.

Pogson Doria Pamphilj rose to the challenge, throwing himself into the administration of the properties, and having the family's gallery in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in central Rome rewired and refloored to provide a suitable home for the priceless collection of Titians, Caravaggios and the stunning Pope Innocent X by Velzquez. Moreover, he broke with tradition and had the dust sheets taken off the palace's private apartments, opening them up to the public for the first time.

In the small, provincial, conservative Rome of the 1950s, the task facing the English interloper was not an easy one. "He had to learn the language, and, more importantly, he had to learn how things were done here. It can't have been easy for him," says Jonathan.

Though he threw himself into his new Roman life with a vengeance, Pogson Doria Pamphilj also held on firmly to his British roots, setting up the cricket club which met each Sunday at the Villa Doria Pamphilj in the north of Rome ("though my father hated cricket," recalls Jonathan) and working hard to encourage good relations between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church which he had left so many years earlier. Rome's Anglican Centre is based in the family's Rome palace.

His new life style gave Pogson Doria Pamphilj an opportunity to indulge his great passions, for music, sailing, and history which he had longed to study at university, a desire stymied by his father who insisted he left education and earned a living.

"He would have historians around here and they'd sit and talk for hours," Jonathan says. "Then there was music: he loved music, and any musicians passing through Rome would be invited home too."

One long-time resident in the huge complex of apartments inside the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj recalled Frank Pogson as "one of the kindest men I ever met. He was warm and witty and had a knack of understanding people's needs."

Frank Pogson Doria Pamphilj died after a long illness. He was at the lunch table at the time, laughing at a joke with an old friend.

Anne Hanley

Frank Pogson: born Maidenhead, Berkshire 6 September 1923; changed surname by deed poll 1958 to Doria Pamphilj; married 1958 Princess Orietta Doria Pamphilj (one adopted son, one adopted daughter); died Rome 2 October 1998.

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'