So I'm back from the great beyond. So it is rather fitting that I should do another post on portraits of long dead people.
I am currently reading "Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire" by Amanda Foreman. I've always been a little bit fascinated by the Duchess and so I should be ashamed that I have never read this excellent biography. I generally have a short attention span when it comes to non-fiction, but Foreman has a very engaging style that has kept me reading.
As I have been reading, I've been looking up the various personages mentioned in the book. Which of course has lead me to looking up their portraits. I have written before about my love for portraits of long dead folks, but I thought I would share some of the interesting stories that I've come across while reading.
|Elizabeth Lamb, Lady Melbourne |
by George Romney
|Lady Emily Cowper, later Lady Palmerston|
But perhaps Lady Emily was the "one." In fact her mother counseled her on her death bed that she should remain true to her paramour. And Emily did. Following her husband's death in 1837, she and Lord Palmerston married even though they were both in their 50s. Their remaining years together were reportedly very happy. Emily had three sons during her first marriage, so she certainly did her duty. Her last child, a daughter named Emily, was apparently Palmerston's. But her cloudy paternity did not keep her from marrying an earl when she came of age.
|Lady Elizabeth Stanley |
by George Romney
And the other players in the sordid affair? Well the Earl of Derby went on to marry the lovely actress Elizabeth Farren. And apparently all was forgiven in his book, as the Duke of Dorset was continually received by the earl. He went on to bed other women (including Georgiana's "frenemy" Lady Bess Foster) and eventually married Arabella Diana Cope. Fortunately for her, the Duke died a few years later and she became a very wealthy woman. No rest for the wicked, as they say...
As an interesting aside, Lady Sarah Lennox was also cited as a source of this story in the book. Lady Sarah was the subject of a similar scandal some years before when she indulged in an affair with Lord William Gordon. She became pregnant by him and after giving birth to a girl (who was surprisingly claimed by Sarah's husband Charles Bunbury), she ran off with the baby to live with Gordon. Though Bunbury granted her a divorce, her liaison ended and she was treated as the scandalous relation by her family for many years before finding happiness with a British army officer.