Reared by a maladjusted mother, described in her novel Mrs Donald, in poverty. Lost her right foot in a road accident when 11. In years following made many attempts to run away from home and worked in sweatshops. Lived in poverty, occasionally working as artist's model (she later sat for Augustus John), fell into bohemian circles and had affairs with Louis MacNeice and Henry Yorke (writer Henry Green). Married film director Ralph Keene; after divorcing him was long-time partner of artist Matthew Smith.