See Tilda Swinton Totally Transform Into Legendary Eccentric Edith Sitwell

Over the past few years, Tilda Swinton and the ­photographer Tim Walker have channeled an ever-growing cast of intriguing historical figures—the collector and philanthropist ­Dominique de Menil, the artist Leonora Carrington, the poet and patron Edward James, the all-around genius David Bowie—in a gorgeously surreal series of photographs for W. Their most recent muse, the subject of the images seen here, holds special significance. Dame Edith Sitwell, born in 1887, was not only a poet, critic, and famous eccentric, she was Swinton’s cousin and, as an 8-year-old, the flower girl in Swinton’s paternal great-grandmother Elsie’s wedding. In fact, it was Elsie, a celebrated chanteuse once painted by John Singer Sargent, whom Sitwell credited with first introducing her to the world of art. “I have been aware of the Sitwells all my life,” Swinton says of Edith and her younger ­brothers, Osbert and ­Sacheverell, who were also writers. “As significant examples of artists to whom I can claim kin, I’ve always treasured them.” Here, she pays tribute to her cousin in these photos shot by Walker at the stunning Renishaw Hall, in Derbyshire, near Sheffield, a sprawling, nearly four-centuries-old manse where the Sitwells grew up.

Renishaw Hall, the childhood home of Edith Sitwell in Derbyshire, England, remains in the family.

Tilda Swinton wears a Gucci dress; Marc Jacobs belt (worn as turban); rings: (right hand) Vela, (left hand, from left) Uno de 50, A. Brandt + Son, Lisa Eisner Jewelry, Lisa Eisner Jewelry.

Tilda Swinton wears a Michael Kors Collection top and skirt; rings: (right hand, from left) stylist’s own, Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., (left hand, from left) Uno de 50, stylist’s own; Monvieve choker; Camilla Dietz Bergeron necklace; stylist’s own turban.

Tilda Swinton wears a Gucci dress and tights; Marc Jacobs belt (worn as turban) and shoes; rings: (right hand, from left) Pebble London, Pebble London, Lisa Eisner Jewelry, Arman Sarkisyan, Vela, (left hand, from left) Lisa Eisner Jewelry, Uno de 50, A. Brandt + Son.

From Left: Edith Sitwell, photographed by Cecil Beaton, in 1962; A view of the Renishaw Hall estate in a 1930s photograph by John Piper; Osbert, Edith, and Sacheverell Sitwell, photographed by Maurice Beck and Helen Macgregor, in 1924.

Tilda Swinton wears a Michael Kors Collection top; rings: (right hand) Uno de 50, stylist’s own, (left hand, from left) stylist’s own, Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co.; Monvieve choker; Camilla Dietz Bergeron necklace; Joelle Kharrat necklace; stylist’s own turban.

Tilda Swinton wears a Giorgio Armani jacket and pants; Gucci hood (worn as turban) and necklace; rings: (left hand, from top) Uno de 50, Gucci, Pebble London, (right hand, from top) Uno de 50, Gucci, Gucci. Beauty note: Walk a thin line. Lancôme Brow Shaping Powdery Pencil takes a precision approach for amplified arches.

Tilda Swinton wears a Michael Kors Collection top and skirt; Monvieve choker; Camilla Dietz Bergeron necklace; Arman Sarkisyan locket necklace; Joelle Kharrat long necklace; rings: (right hand, from top) stylist’s own, Elsa Perreti for Tiffany & Co., (left hand, from top) stylist’sown, Uno de 50; Gucci tights; Chanel shoes; stylist’s own turban.

Tilda Swinton wears a Givenchy dress; Marc Jacobs belt (worn as turban); rings: (right hand, from left) Dara Ettinger, Dior, Dara Ettinger, (left hand, from left) Patricia von Musulin, Patricia von Musulin; bracelets: (right arm) Urban Zen, Dinosaur Designs, Patricia von Musulin, (left arm) Patricia von Musulin, Urban Zen.

Tilda Swinton wears a Marc Jacobs blouse, trousers, and belt; vintage hat from Early Halloween, New York; Cult Gaia bracelet; rings: (right hand, from left) Dinosaur Designs, Dara Ettinger, Patricia von Musulin, (left hand, from left) A. Brandt + Son, Patricia von Musulin.

Wyndham Lewis’s portrait of Sitwell, 1923–1935.

Amedeo Modigliani’s Portrait of Edith Sitwell, 1954.

A spot in the gardens at Renishaw Hall.

Tilda Swinton wears a Marni coat; Alexander McQueen dress; Prada turban; rings: (right hand) Patricia von Musulin, (left hand, from left) Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., Patricia von Musulin; the Row bag; Gucci tights; Marc Jacobs shoes.

Tilda Swinton wears a Max Mara dress; Heather Huey hat; Proenza Schouler necklace; bracelets: (right arm, top) Cult Gaia, all other bracelets stylist’s own; rings: (right hand) Kathleen Whitaker, (left hand) A. Brandt + Son.

Tilda Swinton wears a Michael Kors Collection top and skirt; Monvieve choker; Camilla Dietz Bergeron necklace; Arman Sarkisyan necklace; Joelle Kharrat necklace; rings: (right hand, from left) stylist’s own, Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., (left hand, from left) Uno de 50, stylist’s own; Gucci tights; Chanel shoes; stylist’s own turban.

Tilda Swinton wears a Michael Kors Collection top and skirt; Monvieve choker; Camilla Dietz Bergeron necklace; Arman Sarkisyan necklace; Joelle Kharrat necklace; rings: (right hand, from left) stylist’s own, Elsa Peretti for Tiffany & Co., (left hand, from left) Uno de 50, stylist’s own; Gucci tights; Chanel shoes; stylist’s own turban.

From Top: The epitaph on Sitwell’s grave at St. Mary’s Churchyard, in Northamptonshire; Sitwell’s hands and rings, photographed by Jane Bown, in 1959; A photograph of Sitwell taken in 1924 by Maurice Beck and Helen Macgregor, included in the book The Sitwells and the Arts of the 1920s and 1930s.

Tilda Swinton wears a Kwaidan Editions faux fur; Dior dress; vintage hat from New York Vintage, New York; Alice Cicolini ring; Urban Zen bracelet; Gucci tights; Marc Jacobs shoes.

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