Biography

David Robert (Lorne) Litchfield was born in the UK on 30 April 1943 and died there on 18 January 2023.

He was the son of military pilot Frederick Lorne Litchfield and of a doctor’s daughter. (His step-great-grandmother was a Hungarian Countess, Ottilie von Schosberger). His great-grand-father was a sea captain from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, where Litchfield had his base in Cowes for the best part of the last three decades of his life.

He was educated at St Clare in Haywards Heath. Read Oriental Studies at Benghazi University, Libya. Worked as an editorial assistant for Bailey Brothers and Swinfen, London agents for Schocken & Harvard University Press. Travelled extensively in Europe and Asia Minor before settling in St Tropez, where he made a living as a painter. Returning to Britain, he studied graphic design at St Martins School of Art in London.

He was then employed as a book designer by Aldus Books (a subsidiary of Doubleday). Worked with South African musician Gui Gui Mawebi and avant-garde composer, Cornelius Cardew, a disciple of Stockhausen. Freelanced as an illustrator and photographer.

Founded the Baroque Press and published The Image, an award-winning graphic arts and photography magazine which featured the work of Andy Warhol, Elliot Erwitt, Don McCullin, Harry Holland, Horst, Richard Hamilton, Homer Sykes, Nick Roeg, Allen Jones, Peter Blake, John Schlesinger, David Bailey and William Burroughs.

Wrote, edited and designed ‘Andy Warhol’, published by Mathews Miller Dunbar, based on a TV documentary by David Bailey.

Made a number of documentary films, with and concerning Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney and Bob Marley (whose manager threatened to kill him); a theatrical production of ‘The Fall of The House of Usher’ by Stephen Berkoff, ‘The Point’ by Harry Nilsson, ‘One Hand Clapping’ and ‘Empty Hands’, a Japanese martial arts documentary film for theatrical release. The cameraman on ‘Empty Hands’ was Roger Deakins, who went on to become Hollywood’s most celebrated director of photography. Litchfield directed one commercial for Liberty of London starring the legendary Elaine Stritch.

Lectured in Advanced Communications at the London College of Media Studies.

Founded, edited and designed the award-winning, monthly Ritz Newspaper (with David Bailey for eight of its fifteen year life). Ritz was the British equivalent of Andy Warhol’s Interview. A glamorously superficial magazine, Litchfield was responsible for introducing paparazzi photography to Britain; a move that he subsequently very much regretted.

He interviewed and profiled such people as R D Laing, Jeanette Winterson, Jack Nicholson, Helmut Newton, Charlotte Rampling, John Irving, Francis Bacon, Gore Vidal, Princess Margaret, Buckminster Fuller, Stephanie Grimaldi, Tiny Rowlands, Orson Wells, Rupert Murdoch and the entire Thyssen family. Many of these people also became his friends and some, such as Mick Jagger, his enemies!

He appeared in three documentary films concerning the rise of the celebrity cult, including Karen Altmann’s documentary regarding Ritz Newspaper, aired on Thames TV on 5th September 1978.

Having sold Ritz and two weekly newspapers, he lived in Paris for two years while writing a screenplay for Jean Jacques Beneix, based on Le Taxi by Violette Leduc.

Then spent ten years travelling throughout India, Europe, the US, Cuba and Bermuda, while researching and subsequently writing ‘The Thyssen Art Macabre’ with Caroline. The book was first published in 2006 by Quartet Books in London and then, in 2007, in Spain by Temas de Hoy. In 2008, it was also published in Germany by assoVerlag Oberhausen. This Thyssen biography caused a major controversy in the German-speaking press, in particular surrounding the involvement of members of the Thyssen family in the murder of 200 Jewish slave labourers from Hungary at the family’s castle in Rechnitz (Rohonc), Burgenland (Austria) on 25 March 1945. The book was published in Italy by Mimesis Edizioni in 2019.

He completed a screenplay entitled ‘Hannibal, The Legend’.

In 2013, his uncensored biography of Unity Mitford (‘Hitler’s Valkyrie’) was published by The History Press.

In January 2023, shortly before his death, David (with Caroline Schmitz, Mike Jolliffe and Paul Dibbens), published his memoirs of his collaboration with David Bailey and others on Ritz Newspaper, entitled ‘Bailey and I’.

He had written for The Times, The Mail on Sunday, Tatler, The Independent on Sunday, Connoisseur, The Art Newspaper, Rolling Stone and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

His first novel will be published posthumously.

Acknowledgments
June Abbey, Apicella, Paul Armfield, Don Ashby, Naim Attallah, Richard Avedon, David Bailey, Michael Barker, Jeremy Beale, Robin Bell, Baron Steven Bentinck, Hans & Gaby Biermann, Peter Brook, Barbara Brownfield, Seymour Chwast, Marta Cibelina, Candida Cohane, Nicholas Coleridge, Alex ConstantineBob Cotton & Mary Clemmensen, Edward de Bono, Maureen Docherty, Jo & Sir John Drinkwater, Ahmed ElAmin, El Dead Pixel, Stephen Elekes, David Elliott, Bardo Fabiani, Tim Farin & Christian Parth, Adrian George, Milton Glaser, Nicola Graydon, Keith Hayter, Dr Josef & Marie-Luise Hotwagner, Stella Jackson, Elfriede Jelinek, Dafydd Jones, Robert Kearns, Bianca Köppe, Dr Norbert Korfmacher, Ulli Langenbrinck, Summer Lee Litchfield, Sanchia Lord, Frances Lynn, Madame Arcati, Geoff Magee, Lyndon Mallet, Nick Mason, Carmen Mayerhausen, Paul & Linda McCartney, Dr Gottfried Mierau, Issey Miyake, Brinley Moralee, Helmut Newton, Anthony Price, Grahame Richardson, Harold Robins, Kevin Rock-West, Conxa Rodriguez, Richard Rogers, Samuel Schirmbeck, Hannelore Schmidt-Engel, Dr Peter Schnyder, Heinz & Gregor Schumi, Mukta Sharma, Janet Street-Porter, Hans Jürgen Syberberg, Colin Swift, Gina Thomas, Heini Thyssen, Lorne Thyssen, Michel van Rijn, Gore Vidal, Mike von Joel, Günter Wallraff, Lord Weidenfeld, Sandy Whitelaw, Peter Wilkie, Harriet Wilson, Jeanette Winterson, Richard Young, Dr Waldemar Zettel.

David R. L. Litchfield (photo: Charles Dickens)

David R. L. Litchfield (photo: Charles Dickens)

David R. L. Litchfield (photo: John Swannell)

David R. L. Litchfield (photo: John Swannell, National Portrait Gallery London) 

David Litchfield with David Bailey, ca. 1980 (photo: Aurelio D’Angelo)

Caroline Schmitz, The Collaborator

Caroline Schmitz, The Collaborator (photo: David Litchfield)

'Paul & I' (Ritz Newspaper)

‘Paul & I’ (Ritz Newspaper) (photo credit unknown)

Litchfield interviewing Heini Thyssen in Lugano, ca. 1989 (photo: Nicola Graydon)