D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence was in Bandol from October 1929 until February 1930, when he was persuaded to move to Vence to care for his long-neglected tuberculosis. At the AD ASTRA sanatorium he was examined and attended by Doctor Madinier. As the news spread that his life was in danger; H.G. WELLS, and the AGA KHAN, called on him, and the American sculptor Jo DAVIDSON made a model of his bust. He did not take kindly to life in the clinic, and left it on March 1st for the Villa ROBERMOND, where he died the next day, in the care of his wife Frieda von RICHTHOFEN, of the English writer Aldous HUXLEY and his Belgian wife Maria NYS.
LAWRENCE was buried in the old Vence cemetery on a March 1930. His remains were exhumed in March 1935 in the presence of Mrs Gordon CROTCH, an English resident, and incinerated at Marseille on March 13. A wooden box holding a sealed zinc container in which were his ashes, was then delivered, together with the appropriate transatlantic transport authorization by the Prefecture, dated 14 March, to the former captain of Bersaglieri Angelo RAVAGLI, at that time the factotum and lover of Lawrence's widow. His mission was to take the ashes to Taos (New Mexico) in "a beautiful vase" specially ordered by Frieda for this purpose. The ashes brought to Taos by RAVAGLI in grotesque cicumstances were cast by him into the concrete slab of a "shrine" which he built at the KIOWA ranch at San Cristobal near Taos.
When Baron de HAULLEVILLE and his sister-in-law Rose NYS-de HAULLEVILLE (who knew Ravagli through the Huxleys) were Ravagli's guests atTaos, Ravagli after partaking from a bottle of bourbon, confessed late one night to having dumped the box and ashes between Marseille and Villefranche-sur-Mer (where he was due to sail on the Conde di Savoia), so as to avoid the expense and trouble of transporting them to the USA. When in New York he collected Frieda's vase, mailed "to be called for" from Marseille, and put into it some locally procured ashes which he took to Taos.
The Villa ROBERMOND, later called the Villa AURELLA, was demolished and on its site is now a small apartment house, Le Saint Martin, on the Chemin de Clairefontaine, Quartier de Saint Donat, off the road to Grasse. Of the original villa there only remains part of the old entrance gate, under a metal arch. A memorial plate sent by the Broxtowe district council was unveiled on the garden wall in 1985 for the centenary of LAWRENCE's death. ( Vence )
A tombstone decorated with Lawrence's emblem the Phoenix, designed in seashore pebbles by the Veneois Dominique Matteucci, was saved after the exhumation by Mrs CROTCH, who kept it many years in Vence then moved it to England. It was ultimately rescued by professor Vivian de SOLA PINTO and taken to Eastwood.
This information is from Lawrence's last days by Laura Criado Galarza , and originally from professor Emile DELAVENAY, Universite de NICE. (Full reference on the "Laura's" web.)