In memoriam

Miss Diana Joll
31st May 1927 – 4th October 2019

A tribute to a very dear friend and a great supporter
of The Regency Town House


Diana was well know to many in Brighton & Hove. Some remember her from the time when she worked for the Social Services Department, others met Diana following her retirement, when she became increasingly active in the community, especially with The Friends of Brunswick Square and Terrace.    

Diana was also known to many beyond our city, as the editor of the Silhouette Collector's Club Newsletter and as the world’s leading authority on British portrait silhouette history.  

An avid collector almost her whole life, in early childhood Diana’s focus was on metal figures to make a farmstead; in her second decade ceramic rabbits were favoured; later, her collecting interests ranged across jewellery, dress, objets d’art, card cases, postcards and more. In the early 1960s she developed a passion for silhouettes, an art form that would come to consume her time and interest.  

Diana’s particular concern for local history led her to support the restoration of the town house she partly occupied, during the long process of its transformation into the heritage centre now known as The Regency Town House.    

Nick Tyson, Curator at The Regency Town House says,   

‘Diana has played a pivotal role in enabling our development, allowing us to disassemble the apartments introduced to the property in the 1950s and re-establish the house as it would have been in the late Regency. Without her enthusiasm and passion for the project and her very active support, we would not exist. We will be forever grateful for Diana’s encouragement'.  

Following a long illness, Diana died peacefully in her apartment at The Regency Town House on Friday the 4th of October, passing away at home, as was her long-held wish.  

We were privileged to have been able to support Diana through the last, challenging, few months of her life. During this time, Diana conducted herself with great dignity, an inspirational example of how to cope with the difficulties of old age.   

During the latter part of her life, staff and volunteers at The Regency Town House were able to collaborate with Diana to assemble what would become the world’s most extensive online resource about portrait silhouette art - it can be found here:  

Moving forwards, it is our plan to dedicate a part of the Town House to the study of silhouette history, creating the Diana Joll Silhouette Centre - equipped with original art, research literature and working facsimiles of historic silhouette machines. In this way, we aim to permanently celebrate Diana’s contribution to the knowledge and conservation of silhouette art and establish a national centre for the genre.  

We extend our deepest sympathies to Diana’s family and to her many friends as we share the pain of her loss.