Obituary: Susan Lowndes Marques

Susan Antonia Dorothea Priestley Lowndes, writer and journalist, born London 15 February 1907, OBE 1975, Editor Anglo-Portuguese News 1976-80, married 1938 Luiz Marques (died 1976; one son, two daughters), died Lisbon 3 February 1993.

SUSAN Lowndes Marques was a leading figure in the British community in Lisbon, the author of several books on Portugal, and the guardian of the memory of her mother, the diarist and novelist Marie Belloc Lowndes, and her grandmother Bessie Parkes Belloc, the champion of women's suffrage.

My mother was brought up in inter-war literary London and always surrounded by books and writers. Her father, Frederick Lowndes, worked for the Times, for some years editing the obituaries, while her mother, the elder sister of the poet, historian and polemicist Hilaire Belloc, wrote over 50 books, mostly crime novels and biographies. Marie's novel The Lodger, based on the Jack the Ripper case, sold over one million copies before the First World War and was made into a film by Hitchcock in 1926.

Susan Marques edited, together with her elder sister, Elizabeth, Countess of Iddesleigh, The Diaries and Letters of Marie Belloc Lowndes (1971), which well describe the atmosphere, fun and concerns of the interwar years. The chapter on the Abdication has often been quoted in subsequent books on the subject.

Susan Lowndes was educated at St Mary's Convent, Ascot, where she was very happy. She then did voluntary work, with her sister running a club for working girls in Fulham. At one time she had an antique shop in Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, specialising in Queen Anne furniture. She never lost her love and knowledge of art and architecture and her 'eye' for excellence (or not) was queried at one's peril.

In 1938 she married at Westminster Cathedral Luiz Marques, a Portuguese journalist who himself had been educated in England, and went to live in Lisbon. He was the editor (and eventually the owner) of the Anglo-Portuguese News and the Lisbon correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the New York Times. Books and writers were at the centre of their lives, and as a boy I recall visits from Evelyn Waugh, Cyril Connolly, Aldous Huxley and Graham Greene.

During the war years Lisbon was a fascinating place and both my parents worked hard at the paper and also in the Press section of the British Embassy. For the darkest years of the war the APN was the only English-language paper on the Continent and once had the honour of being insulted by Goebbels. Luiz and Susan were on the special embassy list for immediate evacuation should Portugal have been invaded and a large sum of cash was always kept at home (wrapped in fire-proof material) just in case.

The war years in Lisbon also saw floods of refugees coming from war-torn Europe and Susan Marques' flat was a haven for many she and her husband succoured.

After the war, together with Ann Bridge (Lady O'Malley, wife of the then British ambassador in Lisbon) she wrote a book, The Selective Traveller in Portugal (1949), which became a classic in travel writing on Portugal and which is still quoted by practically all subsequent books on the country. Susan Marques had forthright views on art and was especially angry with less than sensitive restoration work. She was particularly incensed with that school of restoration which considers that one must restore a monument to its original aspect (very often mere supposition) destroying all subsequent centuries' additions, however valuable and good they might be.

She was appointed OBE in 1975 for services to the British community in Lisbon. After Luiz's death in 1976 she edited the Anglo-Portuguese News until 1980. She also wrote a Traveller's Guide to Portugal, Good Food from Spain and Portugal and the Thornton Cox guide to Portugal; she annually revised Fodor's Guide to Portugal. In 1991 she wrote an introduction for an edition of Rose Macaulay's They Came to Portugal Too. At the time of her death she was the Lisbon correspondent of the Catholic Herald and the US news agency NCWC and was involved in producing a book on English art in Portugal which it is hoped will be published soon.

(Photograph omitted)

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices