Irene Claremont de Castillejo

London, 1885-1967

After the death of Irene Claremont, wife of José de Castillejo, her influential volume of Jungian psychoanalysis was published. Decades earlier, she had graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and fallen in love with Castile and the olive grove that became her home in Northern Madrid. She lived there loving the dry, Meseta countryside and participating in the project of educational regeneration promoted by the intellectual circles that she shared with her husband. After Castillejo’s death in London in 1945 she began writing. She recounted the life that the shared together in the famous olive grove in an exquisite book of memories. She also wrote essays, letters and poetry.


I had married a stranger, but I was the stranger.
Surprise forms part of the author’s first encounter with the Spanish soil that would become her home. Accustomed to the green English countryside, the dryness of Castile struck her. The encounter with the warm earth and vastness of the meseta, the rich colours of ochre and yellows, were an intense sensory experience for her whose beauty would never leave her.
The image of Castile with its miles and miles of bare, white, sun-scorched land never fails to excite me every time I see it again.
Castillejo’s olive grove was a key meeting space for institucionista regenerationism. It was also a paradise for the author. Irene Claremont stopped being an English lady and became a woman of the Spanish countryside. She learnt to efficiently manage the family estate and lived in communion with that dry land, capable of bearing both real and symbolic fruit, located not far from the capital’s centre.
To continue into the future, I could not be absorbed by the past.
The Spanish Civil War put an end to the married life of Castillejo and Claremont in their famous olive grove with their four children. London would be the destination of their exile. The return was not easy. Irene Claremont was widowed in 1945. During her husband’s illness she looked after him devotedly. That time allowed the wounds that exile inflicts on those who experience it to heal. Castillejo never returned to Spain. It would take her twenty years to set foot on Spanish soil again.

ACTRESS: Jude Arkwright | SOURCE: Respaldada por el viento – I Married a Stranger. Ed. by J.M. Bernal Martínez y F. Comas Rubí & El método Mackinder | DIRECTED & WRITTEN BY Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles | PRODUCTION: Isabel Santafé, Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles | CASTING: Cervantes Theatre | ARTISTIC DESIGN: Lucy Richards | COSTUME: O.La.La Vintage Wardrobe | HAIR & MAKE-UP: Charo Hairdressing | POSTPRODUCCIÓN: Luke Hagan, Jonas Hawkins | SOUND: Luke Robinson | SET MANAGER: Jacob Saul | CAMERAS: Luke Hagan, Samuel Walker. EDITING: Ashley Thorpe | STILL PHOTOGRAPHY: Vanessa Miles | TRANSLATION: Isabel Santafé | VOICE ARROZ CON LECHE: Lisa Campos Sánchez.