Gilbert Fox-Travers is at the heart of the story of Misterley Manor and its inhabitants, even though he lived a hundred years ago. He was the architect employed to turn plain old Langbarnby Hall into the astounding Misterley Manor for Sir Edward Lattimore and his wife, Lady Isobel.
An up and coming young architect Fox-Travers is a young man with a reputation for two things – the first being his extraordinary artistic imagination, the second his reputation as a ladies’ man. He combines the two elements of his reputation in his best known pictures – three notoriously erotic Arthurian scenes that hang in the Painted Gallery at Misterley Manor, the last of the great treasures of the house.
No sooner is the work on Misterley Manor (carefully overseen at every stage by Fox-Travers himself) than he disappears, never to be seen again. But finally, the family papers relating to the building of Misterley have been unearthed by the Lattimore family, and Alice is hoping to find out what happened.
‘Sometimes,’ [said Sebastian to Alice], ‘I think you love Gilbert Fox-Travers more than me,’ he said, sulkily.
Sometimes, recently, Alice had begun to wonder if she did too. The long-dead artist and the mystery of his disappearance had been the focus of her academic studies since her undergraduate days and sometimes he felt as real to her as the living, breathing people around her.
I should like to stress that Fox-Travers, his paintings and his romantic history is COMPLETELY fictional!