Friday, May 18, 2012

Beauties of the Stuart Era, Part Deux

Ok, I'm wrapping up the week not only with the final post on my series of very cool portraits of long dead folks, but also with a trip to Charleston for some much needed relaxation.

File:Queen Mary II.jpgSir Godfrey Kneller painted the "Hampton Court Beauties" as a commsion for Queen Mary II. For those of you who don't know the ins and outs of the British monarchy, Mary came to the throne jointly, with her husband William of Orange, as a compromise of sorts. For those of you stateside, the College of William and Mary was named after these two ruling monarchs.

Mary's father was James II (the younger brother of Charles II), a committed Catholic and well the English weren't so fond of having a Papist for a monarch. James was overthrown following the birth of a son (and heir, technically) in what was termed the "Glorious Revolution" although it was fairly bloodless. Mary's husband William was the son of James's sister (yes, that made them first cousins), so it seemed fair that both he and Mary would rule together. They apparently had a fairly good marriage, no children unfortunately, and when Mary died of small pox at the age of 32, William supposedly said that he was now "the miserablest creature on earth." He continued to rule for another ten years before succombing to pneumonia.

Mary Stuart was quite the beauty in my opinion. I've always fancied her portraits. I suppose it makes sense that she would commission the portraits of some of the most beautiful women in her court, although one of her ladies of the bedchamber cautioned her not to do it. There are eight portraits altogether.

  File:Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans.jpg
Lady Diana de Vere started out life as the daughter of the 20th Earl of Oxford. She married Charles Beauclerk, the 1st Duke of St Albans. Charles was the illegitimate son of Charles II and his mistress by Nell Gywn. He was quite the looker! They had twelve children together and Lady Diana eventually became a lady of the bedchamber to George II's queen consort, Caroline of Ansbach.

Lady Margaret Cecil was first married to Lord Stawell and the later to Richard Jones, the 1st (and last) Earl of Ranelagh.

Carey Fraser started out in Charles II's court, the daughter of one of the king's physicians. She eventually married General Charles Mordaunt, the 3rd Earl of Peterborough.

Portrait of Isabella, Duchess of Grafton (c. 1688-1723) and her son Charles Fitzroy, later 2nd Duke of Grafton (1683-1757), full-length, a landscape beyond        Isabella Fitzroy (née Bennet), Duchess of Grafton, by Pieter Schenck, after  Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt, circa 1685 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London
Lady Isabella Bennet was the daughter of an earl and married the Duke of Grafton, who was the illegitimate son of Charles II. How do you like that? This portrait was done by Kneller, but is not apart of the original Hampton Court Beauties series since the duchess's son is pictured as well. The engraving however was done after the original Kneller portrait, so you can get an idea of what it looked like. She was quite attractive, in my opinion!

Francis Whitmore was the daughter of Frances Brooke...who was one of the sitters for Lely's "Windsor Beauties" series. Frances married Sir Richard Middleton and became Lady Middleton.

Mary Bentinck, Countess of Essex
Lady Mary was the daughter of the 1st Earl of Portland and eventually became the wife of the 2nd Earl of Essex and later the Rgt. Honorable Conyers Darcy.

Lady Mary Compton married Charles Sackville, the 6th Earl of Dorset. Sadly she died at the young age of 22....but not before having two children, of course!

And last but not least is Mary Scrope. She was known as the most beautiful woman at court (I don't see it...) and she married John Pitt.

Happy weekend to you all. Do you have any writing related activities planned? Or are you all just, as I say, chillaxin'?

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