In about 1972, when Glanville-Hicks was renovating her house on the Greek island of Tinos, she ordered a stained-glass, lead-paned window from a London glazier and installed it over the lintel at the front door. Underneath is the motto “tout en bonne heure” (all in good time).The crest depicts (according to Fairbain’s book of crests of the families of Great Britain and Ireland of 1905) a lion’s gamb (leg or shank) issuing per chevron or and gu (in red and gold).
All of the crests of the English branch of Hicks depict a stag or buck’s head whereas this one is associated with the Irish branch of the surname. Glanville-Hicks’s ancestors on her father’s side however came from Cornwall. In the 1891 census there were about 12,000 Hicks in England and Wales with 1600 of them in Cornwall. Of those there were more than 60 on the island of St Agnes in the Scilly Isles, where her Hicks forebears had lived for generations—at least as far back as the first parish records in the 1720s. Most of them were farmers, boatmen and ship’s pilots. Perhaps she chose the Irish crest because she preferred it. When she lived in Sydney (from 1975) she had letterhead printed with the crest in blue, not just a sign of an aristocratic pose but a reminder of the house she built in Greece.
Today is the thirtieth anniversary of PGH’s death. How did she want to be remembered? When Joyce McGrath painted her portrait in 1989 she chose to wear one of the capes that had been handmade for her in Greece, they used as background two Greek masks that she had hanging in the house and in her hand was a toy owl, representing Athena (or Minerva) goddess of wisdom. Thus the portrait tied her not just to her years of living in Greece but also to ancient Greece and its mythology. Almost certainly she was also making a statement about her own exceptionality.