Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Toiling Schedule

No one ever said it was easy being a fashionable duchess! Take for example the week of 14 February, 1785. Georgiana was just swamped with social events!


On that day (a Monday) Georgiana wrote her daily letter to her mother before going out. She reassured Lady Spencer that although she was going to many balls she was never out after midnight and that dancing was a good distraction from the temptations of gambling. Well, there was a lot of distraction this week,
"There is a ball tonight at Ly Beauchamp's, Tuesday Ly Lucan's, (I GO upon PARTICULAR invitation), Wednesday Princes, Thursday D'Adhemar's, Friday Mrs. Poole (who was Miss Forbes), Saturday, the Prince, and Monday the survivors dance Scotch reels at the Dss of Gordon's..."
The Duchess of Gordon's? Georgiana's foil? I predict some major dramz!

Tuesday Night

Georgiana wrote that the Duchess of Gordon "made a great riot at the Opera." She was tricked into thinking that in France it was a proper mark of respect to kiss a blood royal upon introduction. So when introduced to Louis, the Duke of Chartes (future Duke of Orleans and Louis Egalite) Jane laid a big one on him! Oh the laughs that must have followed... Georgiana also reported that
"Ly Lucan's was a very pretty ball...Nannette's dancing is vastly pretty, but my sister is without question the best. I sup'd and was home about 3."
What happened to 'before midnight' Cinderella?


The Prince of Wales' ball at Carlton House was a hit. Georgiana spent most of the letter gushing that her and her sister's outfits which were "very smart." She went into detail,
"Our gowns were night gowns of my invention. The body and sleeves black velvet bound with pink and fasten'd with silver buttons. The pettycoat light pink, and the skirt, apron and handkerchief crape bound with light pink, large chip hats with feathers and pinks."
If that doesn't sound absolutely fabulous, I don't know what is! She added, "My shape look'd very decent." After describing the rooms, Georgiana went back to talking some smack on the Duchess of Gordon,
"[She] was drest in the Prince's uniform [what a suck-up!], blue and buff, and his buttons. They persecuted her by pinning foxes' tails to her back..."
The moral of that story, Mrs. Gordan: stick to your roots because no one likes a sycophant!


  1. "She was tricked into thinking that in France it was a proper mark of respect to kiss a blood royal upon introduction. "

    oh my I LOVE THIS it reminds me of that popular 18th century dance, The Vomiter

  2. Awesome post!! How lovely to hear an actual clothing description from the fashionista herself.

    Are all of these letter excerpts from her biography, or another source? I only ask because I'm currently doing a research project involving 18th century fashion and have been looking for some primary sources with descriptions of clothing.

  3. These are from her published letters, which are so interested yet limited. ie: I would have loved to read how the rest of her week went if those letter survived! You must check out Paula Byrne's biography on Mary Robinson because Mary would keep a detailed diary of her clothing. It was very important to her.

  4. see. this just proves my theory about the importance of journals, letters...blogs! :)

    i loved this post!

    j e a l o u s!!!

  5. Hey now, better watch how you cross Jane Gordon!

    Mary Robinson was an interesting woman with varied experience. The bio is well worth the read.

    Excerpts from G's letters were published in the 40's (?), along with those of Harriet. I'm sure they can be found at or such. One would think that, with all the interest in G, the book would be republished.