Tecolote, The Yules, Cowboys, The Nahlin and The King of England and Mrs Wallace Simpson.
While the impact of Lord David Yule’s production of jute and tea on the economic structure of India since the early 20th century cannot be overstated it is the story of his wife, Lady Annie Henrietta that holds the most fascination.
In 1934 it was Lady Yule in collaboration with J. Arthur Rank and John Corefield who founded The British Films Institute, thus creating the studios which were responsible for so many landmark films in the history of British cinema. Curiously the most extraordinary story never made into a screenplay here was that of the founder herself….Lady Henrietta Yule.
When Lord David died Henrietta inherited £15 million, an unheard of sum at the time. Her interests ranged from big-game hunting, world cruising, stud farming, cattle ranching and film making. Her money, flair and energy built a world famous breed of Arab horses second only to Crabbetts in horse-breeding history, the first privately owned steam powered yacht, the S. Y. Nahlin, and an iconic film studio. Remarkably, these all still exist. She also had a ranch in California, which sadly does not. It was here she befriended the renowned Western artist Edward Borien whom she commissioned to paint frescos, large water colours and individual place cards for lavish dinner parties. (see attached images)*
In the summer of 1936, while Lady Yule and her daughter Gladys were on vacation on the ranch Tecolote in Santa Barbara, Henrietta made The S.Y. Nahlin available for King Edward VIII to charter for a cruise down the Adriatic with Wallis Simpson. This was the notoriously public holiday that attracted so much media attention to the royal romance, and preceded the abdication crisis.
1) A large photograph album 17.5” x 14” by Bert Clark Thayer, the noted society photographer, signed and dated 1936 and entitled Tecolote, contains 80 photographs showing Lady Yule, daughter Gladys and friends in Western gear, riding, roping and branding cattle on the ranch while the English King was sailing to his demise on their yacht; a priceless pictorial record. There is also included a rare photograph of Borein outside his studio.
There is also a second album with photographs of Tecolote and the family’s Hanstead Stud here in England.
Lady Yule actually owned a home in the foothills above Santa Barbara on El Cielito Road during the 1930s. She spent the years of the Second World War in England and made a final visit to Santa Barbara in 1946.Given Spalding’s interest in yachts, perhaps he and Lady Yule were friends and the album was produced during a stay by the latter at Tecolote Ranch.d of just one aspect in the life of a most extraordinary British family.
In 1876 the heirs of Nicolas A. Den sold 1400 acres of the Rancho Dos Pueblos, located in the Goleta Valley just to the west of Santa Barbara, to Shelton Sturges, who began a cattle operation on the property.
Sturges eventually lost title to the ranch and it passed into the hands of Thomas B. Bishop, a San Francisco attorney. In1926, oil tycoon and yachting enthusiast, Silsby Spalding, bought the ranch and the family sold it in 1959 to a mortgage company with an eye to developing the property, which occurred on a small scale in ensuing decades.
One more note of interest – Ed Borein and his wife lived at Lady Yule’s El Cielito Road house during the Second World War while she was in England. She was very much an admirer of Borein’s work. The Boreins were planning to return to their home on Santa Barbara’s Oceanside Mesa neighborhood at war’s end, but Borein died in 1945 and Lucile Borein eventually returned alone to the Mesa house to live out the balance of her life.
2) The set of 12 small unused place-name cards by Ed Borein.
Each is 2.52 x 3.5”. One is of Lady Yule
One – the Mexican – is signed Ed Borein. Three are signed Borein.
Seven are initialled ‘B’ One is unsigned.
More images available upon request