Club owner Reny U. de Meo was born about 1890 in Formia on the coast of Lazio. Having served in World War I, he sailed to New York, spent time in South America, and worked for the Baldwin Piano Company in San Francisco. Having returned to Europe he was involved for a while in the wine trade, before settling in London.
In 1932 he and Mario Cazzini founded The Pheasantry on the ground floor and basement of no. 152 King’s Road, Chelsea, which was a members-only restaurant and drinking establishment patronised by actors and artists who addressed its popular co-owner as René. Germain Greer wrote The Female Eunuch here. In 1949, he married dancer and painter Pamela Synge (née: Pamela Columbina Winnick) in Chelsea. She was one of the girls whose portraits had been used in the 1950s in an eye-catching campaign to advertise Rowntree’s Aero chocolate bars (hers was painted by James Grant).
He was nearly thirty years her senior. They had two sons but the marriage failed, and Reny eventually returned home where on Formia’s beach he established the Grand’Albergo del Fagiano. The Chelsea club closed when Mario Cazzini died in 1966 and the building converted into apartments.