About Amaryllis Marie-Louise Fleming
British cello performer and teacher Amaryllis Fleming was the illegitimate daughter of the painter Augustus John by his mistress Eve Fleming, mother of the writers Peter Fleming and Ian Fleming by her late husband. Through most of her life she was raised as the adopted daughter of Eve Fleming as a pretence to hide her illegitimacy only discovered her true parentage when she was in her twenties.
She attended the Royal College of Music in 1943. She established herself throughout the 1950s, winning the prestigious Queen's Prize in 1952, making her debut the following year at the Proms, the annual classical music series at London's Royal Albert Hall, and playing with notable musicians throughout Europe.
Ms. Fleming became a professor at the Royal College of Music.
In 1970, she stood in for Bette Davis in a film called Connecting Rooms, in which the Hollywood star played a cellist.
Her playing career ended in 1993 following a stroke, but she continued to teach.
She died unmarried in 1999.
Ms. Fleming died peacefully in a hospital at the age of 73, as reported by the Associated Press. The Times reported that "she never became complacent. She sought out the best teachers in Europe and willingly experimented with many techniques, including practicing naked in front of the mirror." The Daily Telegraph said friends often remarked: "Men fell in heaps around her."
Her half-brother Ian Fleming, in one of his James Bond short stories "The Living Daylights", has Bond musing about a cellist he observes from his sniper's position: "There was something almost indecent in the idea of that bulbous, ungainly instrument between her splayed thighs. Of course Suggia had managed to look elegant, and so did that girl Amaryllis somebody. But they should invent a way for women to play the damned thing side-saddle."
In March 2009 the concert hall of the Royal College of Music, following refurbishment, was re-named the "Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall" in her honour.