Adam Nicolson appears to have grown up among the casual antiquity of aristocratic homes, leaving him with the childhood memory of being stared at from the dining room wall by an Elizabethan earl. Funny to think of a bowl of cornflakes being munched under the 400 year old watchful gaze.
No wonder his eyes were rheumy.
Thomas Sackville, first earl of Dorset, a member of Elizabeth’s Council, the rheumy-eyed earl who used to stare at me from the dining-room wall when I was a boy.
Source: Adam Nicolson, Sissinghurst: An unfinished history (London: Harper Press, 2009), p. 183