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Portrait of a Marriage 

Melodrama detailing the real-life love affair between feminist writer Vita Sackville-West and novelist Violet Keppel against the backdrop of post-World War I England and opposition by ... See full summary »


Patricia Hodge

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Janet McTeer ...  Vita Sackville-West 4 episodes, 1990
David Haig ...  Harold Nicolson 4 episodes, 1990
Cathryn Harrison ...  Violet Keppel Trefusis 4 episodes, 1990
Diana Fairfax ...  Lady Sackville 4 episodes, 1990
Peter Birch ...  Denys Trefusis 4 episodes, 1990
Alexander Pearce Alexander Pearce ...  Nigel Nicolson 4 episodes, 1990
Yves Aubert Yves Aubert ...  Concierge 4 episodes, 1990
David Griffith David Griffith ...  Purser 4 episodes, 1990
Chris Walker Chris Walker ...  Ben Nicolson 3 episodes, 1990
Kathleen Byron ...  Lady Carnock 2 episodes, 1990
Madelaine Newton Madelaine Newton ...  Mrs. Milligan 2 episodes, 1990
Judy Elrington Judy Elrington ...  Nanny 2 episodes, 1990
Madeline Blakeney Madeline Blakeney ...  Mrs. Staples 2 episodes, 1990


Melodrama detailing the real-life love affair between feminist writer Vita Sackville-West and novelist Violet Keppel against the backdrop of post-World War I England and opposition by Vita's politician husband Harold Nicolson. Vita and Violet's romantic relationship becomes increasingly obsessive which spawns destructive feelings of possessiveness and jealousy between them. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




UK | New Zealand



Release Date:

19 July 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Portrait einer Ehe See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (4 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

For the U.S. PBS network premiere, 34 minutes of footage was cut from the original print, most of them being the soft-core lesbian love scenes. See more »


Featured in A Bit of Scarlet (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Haji and Ma
24 February 2012 | by bob998See all my reviews

The BBC miniseries issued on DVD have been sustaining me this winter. I found this one at my public library; it had been eluding me for many years. I am a fan of Janet McTeer and Cathryn Harrison, and found the account of the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Violet Trefusis to be fairly engrossing, although overlong (at almost four hours). The problem is that these people are only moderately interesting--we remember Vita, if we remember her at all, as a character from Virginia Woolf's Orlando, while Harold is known as the author of diaries from the 1930's in which he recounts his experiences with Oswald Mosley and other famous people. Harold and Vita are bit-players on the stage of Europe between the wars, not principal players.

I was entertained by the two female leads, who were brought to life successfully by Penelope Mortimer's screenplay. Cathryn Harrison was especially vivid in her portrayal of the more emotional and headstrong Violet. David Haig was excellent as the repellent Harold, a man who has his cake and wants to eat it too (in other words, have Vita as his wife and enjoy men on the side). Peter Birch as Trefusis was no more interesting than an illustration on the cover of a biscuit tin.

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