BAFTA-winning artist Alison Jackson was at a smart dinner party in London when she discovered, quite by chance, that her family’s magnificent and much-loved country home which had been left to her older brother had been sold.

‘I only found out because the person next to me told me they had to drive to Gloucestershire after dinner. When I asked where, he mentioned the name of the house and I said, “Oh that’s funny. That’s my family home you’re driving to.”

‘He said, “No, not any more it’s not. It’s mine.” He had just bought it.’ She looks, as well she might, truly aghast.

Alison, 61 years old, is a lively photographer who delights and amuses with her hilarious spoof photographs of the rich. One example of this is Meghan Markle, who wrestled a fake Duchess to the ground by her hair. But for her, this — the sale of her childhood home — is beyond parody.

‘I couldn’t believe it,’ she says. ‘I still can’t, but I had to keep putting on a nice normal face. I was at a proper dinner party so I couldn’t go and scream.

‘You’d have thought there’d have been a phone call from my family, but no. Nothing. Instead, I found out from the person who bought the house.’

Alison’s terribly grand family home, Poulton Priory, once the site of an 11th-century monastery in Gloucestershire, which sold for £11.5 million six years ago, was part of an impressive 3,000-acre estate with ‘many houses’. She reckons the huge chunk her brother has not sold off is worth ‘many tens of millions’ today.

Poulton Priory in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Alison Jackson was at a smart dinner party in London when she discovered, quite by chance, that her family home had been sold

Poulton Priory is in Cirencester (Gloucestershire). Alison Jackson was at an elegant dinner party in London when she found out that her family home had been purchased.

Her father, eccentric, Bentley-loving landowner George Hulbert Mowbray-Jackson, bought it in 1972 after he was handed £5.6 million in a compulsory purchase order for his Georgian estate in Hampshire [the then government wanted to build the M27 through his parkland].

From the age of 12, Alison remembers ‘an army of gardeners, people to do the tennis court, another army of people to do the horses [her mother Catherine was a horsewoman]People who maintain the petrol pump [her motor-enthusiast father’s indulgence]. There were also squash courts, a swimming pool and kitchen garden with ‘delicious’ Muscat grapes, nectarines and apples.

‘My father was constantly building ponds so there were all these ornamental ducks — two, three hundred — and geese, guinea fowl. You’d go up the driveway and there’d be peacocks everywhere. There were also horses. My mother had about eight dogs and ten horses.’

She swells up like one of those peacocks and laughs in a thoroughly ‘life-was-such-a-lark’ sort of way.

Alison learned to drive at Poulton (‘although my first car was an Austin of England when I was nine’), rode there (‘I used to go hunting and have pictures of me on a donkey when I was two’), and celebrated her 18th birthday there (‘Dad would always commandeer my friends and end up getting them drunk and having a raucous time’). She thought this ‘fantastic, delicious’ life would never end.

Pictured: Celebrity spoof photographer Alison Jackson

Pictured: Alison Jackson, Celebrity Spoof Photographer

But her father, a ‘larger-than-life’ character who was ‘king of his castle’, left the lot to her only sibling Julian. ‘It’s because he was a boy,’ she says. ‘My father really believed it was the right thing. I don’t want to diss him.

‘Victorian values shaped his character. He believed children should not be heard but seen. He also believed children should be served formal meals and discipline by staff. I was taught to sit up straight or I’d have a fork slammed in my back.

‘Everything had to be done properly, but I loved my father.’ She stops. She stares at me, her eyes brightened by kohl. ‘I could have got one field, couldn’t I — just one field?

‘I don’t want to use horrible words like mean, but it’s unfair and it shouldn’t happen. There should be more provision for women in the age we’re in. It’s that simple. But it never really dawned on me I wouldn’t have that fantastic, delicious time all my life because, when you’re in it, you just think it will go on.’

Her charmed, happy life was ended by the 2001 death of her mother. Catherine, a former debutante, was left wheelchair-bound after a horrific riding accident at the ripe old age of 59. Her husband died in 1992.

So Alison continued to spend ‘fantastic’ weekends with her mother in Poulton Priory, close to where her brother, two years her senior and now a widower, lived with his only son in the estate’s farmhouse.

‘I was with my mother in hospital when she died in 2001. The undertaker said, “Get something to put in her coffin. That’s the tradition.” I thought, “OK, I’ll get a bit of dog’s fur — she loved the dogs — or a bit of horse’s mane or tail.”

‘So I got in the car and drove to the family home to get something. But let’s just say I couldn’t get into the house. My mother wanted her ashes to be spread in the rose garden so I did that, too — alone.’

Alison says that Julian and Alison had strong words that day. She is still furious and feels that she has been left out of the warm when it comes to the house she once loved.

‘I recall shouting at him because I was so angry. But shouting doesn’t change anything. Men get everything, and women get nothing. This is absurd in today’s world. I think that was the last time I spoke to my brother.’

Pictured: Julian Jackson, brother of photographer Alison Jackson. Julian is the general manager of the Priory Estate in Poulton, Cirencester. He sold off the family home after he inherited it from he and Alison's parents

Pictured: Julian Jackson, brother of photographer Alison Jackson. Julian is the general manager of the Priory Estate in Poulton, Cirencester. After inheriting the home from Alison and him, he sold it off.

Alison is actually the sort of person who, I suspect, has enough energy to form a collective and sort out Boris Johnson’s carbon emission worries. She went to art college to become the respected artist that she is today.

She is still angry at the fact that women are still considered less citizens due to the attitudes of the landed elite.

‘I had a nice London/country life thinking I was part of Gloucestershire and then suddenly it changed my life dramatically. No more riding horses, no more going down to the country, no more going to the house, the country estate — everything changed.

‘It’s cruel. Seeing this, I see that my brother was perfectly within his rights, because everything was left to me. But does that make it right?’ She sighs.

‘People always think I’ve had a falling out with my brother but I haven’t really. I’ve just never had a relationship with him.

‘It’s like one of those old-fashioned novels in which people are just written out of the script.

‘But I won’t be. This thing propelled me into a world of freedom and individuality that not all people enjoy.’

Indeed, Alison’s story is not one of bitterness but one of inspiration. I’m not too sure though if, like a piece of romantic fiction, it has a happy-ever-after. She has never been married, has never had children, and recently split from her boyfriend of ten year.

She tells me: ‘He [a fellow artist]Used to argue with me over my work and career. It was a nightmare.

‘If I spoke too much or said the wrong thing it would always be a row and that is what split us up.’

Pictured: Alison Jackson (centre) with her parents Catherine and George

Pictured: Alison Jackson (centre), and her parents Catherine & George

Alison’s father was, similarly, a man very much in charge. She tells me the family home was ‘all his, his house. He occupied every space.

‘I was supposed to be seen and not heard. I remember some friends of mind joking saying he was always shouting, “Alison go and get another bottle of champagne from the cellar” and so I would stroll off and get another bottle, but the thing is… I really loved him.’

Due to the tragic deaths of many male heirs, her father was the inheritor the vast Hulbert fortune.

His mother was the one who controlled his purse strings and would never let him leave her sight. But somehow he managed to fix himself a passage on a voyage to South Africa, where Alison’s extraordinarily beautiful mother happened to be. They fell in Love.

He collapsed after she broke her neck while riding and was hospitalized for 18 months in 1989.

‘I think it was so hard for him to have my beautiful mother — a 6ft tall Amazonian who looked like Ingrid Bergman — destroyed or half-destroyed by this accident.

‘She spent 18 months on a ventilator and, the doctors said, shouldn’t have lived.

‘She was my father’s rock so it just sent him into an absolute meltdown. He hated it. He hated being in a wheelchair.

‘All the worst things you don’t want to hear came out of my father’s mouth. At the time, I hated my father for it. On reflection, I feel terribly sad that I didn’t totally understand his position as I think it was devastating for him. It would be for anybody but my father was a very emotional man and I really think he could not cope at all.’

Her father suffered a fatal heart attack three years after his wife’s accident. Alison was working in London and says she doesn’t remember much about it.

Family members claim that she cried for three days, unable to move, and sobbed. She didn’t see his will.

‘Why would I?’ she asks, ‘I wasn’t in it.’ Besides, the estate had already been moved into a trust to avoid death duties. Alison and her brother — who was approached for comment by the Mail — continue to benefit from a separate trust set up for them in childhood in 1972.

‘The advisers were just old males,’ she says. ‘What do they call it? Male, pale and stale.’

Pictured: The Queen sings with Elton John in one of Alison¿s spoof images

Pictured: The Queen sings with Elton John in one of Alison’s spoof images

She pauses. She pauses. ‘Look I don’t want to sound like some whingey thing. I wouldn’t swap my parents for anything or anyone else. I understood that the only way I could be anyone — other than a woman being kept by her husband — was not to change them but to change myself.

‘So, after the age of 30, I studied for ten years — night course, short courses, a BA and MA all in Kensington and Chelsea.

‘If I hadn’t had that education I think, I’d have absolutely shrivelled and died. But I’ve battled all my life in a man’s world, which is why I’m speaking about this now.

‘You have to remember I was supposed to be seen and not heard so I really didn’t speak. I was 16 years old when I became mute. If you don’t speak, the only thing you do is observe.

‘What has happened is cruel. It’s wrong and it shouldn’t exist in the world we live in today. I can whinge and cry and say I’m hurt, but that doesn’t matter. It’s just wrong.