"Big girls need big diamonds.""Everything makes me nervous - except making films.""I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can't possess radiance, you can only admire it.""I am a very committed wife. And I should be committed too - for being married so many times.""I don't pretend to be an ordinary housewife.""I don't think President Bush is doing anything at all about Aids. In fact, I'm not sure he even knows how to spell Aids.""I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I'm not afraid to look behind them.""I fell off my pink cloud with a thud.""I have a woman's body and a child's emotions.""I haven't read any of the autobiographies about me.""I really don't remember much about Cleopatra. There were a lot of other things going on.""I suppose when they reach a certain age some men are afraid to grow up. It seems the older the men get, the younger their new wives get.""I sweat real sweat and I shake real shakes.""I'm a survivor - a living example of what people can go through and survive.""I've always admitted that I'm ruled by my passions.""I've been through it all, baby, I'm mother courage.""I've only slept with men I've been married to. How many women can make that claim?""If someone's dumb enough to offer me a million dollars to make a picture, I'm certainly not dumb enough to turn it down.""It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.""It's not the having, it's the getting.""Marriage is a great institution.""My mother says I didn't open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.""People who know me well, call me Elizabeth. I dislike Liz.""So much to do, so little done, such things to be.""Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.""Success is a great deodorant.""The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they're going to have some pretty annoying virtues.""When people say, 'She's got everything', I've got one answer - I haven't had tomorrow.""You find out who your real friends are when you're involved in a scandal."
The daughter of Oliver Coles, an insurance inspector, and his wife, Elsie May Fewtrell, Elizabeth Coles was educated at The Abbey School in Reading and then worked as a governess, tutor, and librarian. She married John Michael Taylor, owner of a confectionery company, in 1936. They lived in Penn, Buckinghamshire, for almost all their married life. She was briefly a member of the Communist Party, then a lifelong Labour Party supporter.
Taylor's first novel, At Mrs. Lippincote's, was published in 1945 and was followed by eleven more. Her short stories were published in magazines and collected in four volumes. She also wrote a children's book.
Taylor's work is mainly concerned with the nuances of everyday life and situations, which she writes about with dexterity. Her shrewd but affectionate portrayals of middle class and upper middle class English life won her an audience of discriminating readers, as well as loyal friends in the world of letters.
She was a friend of the novelist Ivy Compton-Burnett and of the novelist and critic Robert Liddell. Anne Tyler once compared Taylor to Jane Austen, Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Bowen -- "soul sisters all," in Tyler's words. In recent years new interest has been kindled by movie makers in her work. Elizabeth Taylor was also a close friend of Elizabeth Jane Howard, who was asked by Elizabeth Taylor's widower to write a biography following Elizabeth Taylor's death. Elizabeth Jane Howard refused due to what she felt was a lack of incident in Elizabeth Taylor's life. See Slipstream, Elizabeth Jane Howard's memoir, for more details on their friendship. Taylor's editor at the UK publisher Chatto & Windus was the poet D. J. Enright.
French director François Ozon made a 2007 film of The Real Life of Angel Deverell entitled Angel, with Romola Garai. US director Dan Ireland made a screen adaptation of Taylor's Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005), with Joan Plowright in the title role.
'The whole point is that writing has a pattern and life hasn't. Life is so untidy. Art is so short and life so long. It is not possible to have perfection in life but it is possible to have perfection in a novel.'