Aida Dellal

Art Patron and Cultural Engineer London
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Aida Dellal

Aida Dellal has had more than enough drama for one lifetime — and she’s still only in her fifties. Born an Iraqi Jew, she was brought up by Catholic nuns in Iran. She left to study at the London School of Economics when she was 17, but never went home. ‘The revolution,’ she says by way of explanation. Her family, prominent property and business magnates in Tehran, went into hiding for more than a year before finally escaping to New York in 1981. Since then, she has married, had two children, divorced, and fought and won bitter legal battles with everyone from property agents to the local Polish religious community. She is the mistress of Fawley Court, Kenneth Grahame’s inspiration for the fictional house he describes in his 1908 classic The Wind in the Willows. 'I would like to create a modern-day “salon” where people can discuss the issues of the day and try to make some progress,' she says. 'I’d like to host a festival of peace to bring Muslims, Jews and Christians together side by side, just like when I was a child in Tehran.’

John Arlidge, The Sunday Times 'Home', 25 October 2015