Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Would Georgie Do? Shortages of Salons

I love 18th century history, absolutely everything. I spend days searching the internet, I love historical movies, and for the books... don't even mention it!!! I don't know much about Georgiana, my speciality is Marie-antoinette and her relations, and that is why I'm following your blog - to know more about Georgiana.
Anyway, this is what is happening. People just don't approve my passion. By this, I mean several things. Sometimes they mock me. Sometimes, they say I read to many non-fiction historical books. Sometimes they roll their eyes when I talk about it. Sometimes they're horrified when they learn that I want to have History in University, and go around screaming "Are you mad, don't you see there is just NO jobs in History?" (let's say that I live in Portugal, and there is basically no job anywhere, but that's another thing!).
The worst is that there are almost no historical reenactments here. I love to talk about History, but not if I'm just the one who's talking and the other's listening. You know, who doesn't like to share interests with someone who is fascinated by History too? But I never met anyone like that. Some people just like to listen to me talk about Marie-Antoinette... Sometimes it's absolutely desperating, I feel alone. Your blog's a blessing, really. So, what would you (or what would Georgiana do?!) in such a case?


Well, one of the things that I have always admired in Georgiana is that she dared to go against the grain and do things different. Luckily for her, she had good taste and her risks usually resulted in others following her lead. When Georgiana was in exile on the continent she began to explore geology and other sciences, a hobby that she would have for the rest of her life. It was also a hobby that not many women were even interested in, especially her old friends. So how was she able to cultivate this hobby? She networked, and found others who shared her love. She held scientific discussion groups at her house and attended lectures.

This task is even easier for us in this fantastic age of the internet. We can connect with those who have a similar interest from all over the world; as you have discovered! If Georgiana was here today would she have a blog or twitter? Absolutely! I think you are doing the right thing by finding an internet community. If you want to participating in discussions on Marie Antoinette rather than giving them I would recommend joining a Forum. If you google 'Marie Antoinette Forum,' you shall find plenty! That way, you are in more a salon setting than a classroom.

Never underestimate the power of becoming a member of a museum or signing up for their newsletters. Many museums and colleges have open lectures you can go to and also network in. I've never paid a cent to hear a lecture and I've seen (and learned) from some amazing people.

The most important thing you can learn from Georgiana is that it is okay to try something different, even if you are criticized by others. The worst that can happen is you fail, and then you just have to get up on your feet again. It happened many times to her and it just made her all the more interesting of a personality!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tart of the Week: Sarah Countess of Tyrconnel

Sarah Hussey was born into money which meant two thing: a prestigious marriage and scandal. Being a grand heiress, poor-ish nobles were lining up to marry Sarah by the time she was sixteen. The man who won Sarah's hand (and money) was George Carpenter, the earl of Tyrconnel, an Irish peer. George has already been married, which made Sarah his second countess. What happened to the first countess you may ask. Well, Lady Frances was still very much alive; she had just gone through the pricey process of divorce, or rather, George had gone through it, to do away with her.

Sarah picked up where the former Lady Tyrconnel left off. She quickly got bored with her older husband and went out partying and man-scouting. She seemed to have hit the jackpot in 1788 when she began an affair with Prince Frederick, Duke of York. As with just about all royal affairs, the press had a field day, boosting Sarah up to celebrity status. The strangest aspect of the whole affair: both Sarah's father and husband were blooming with pride. When Frederick broke off the affair a year later, the two men were more upset than Sarah. It sounds like something out of The Tudors, no?

Sarah wasn't one to mope around about broken relationships. She moved on. The next man in her life was John, Earl of Strathmore, son of none other than Mary Eleanor Bowes. Once again, satirical prints loved the pretty little countess' affair and it publicized for all to see. But this time, the affair seemed to mean a little more to Sarah, she loved John. Finally, one day she just up and left George and went away to live in sin with John. Afterall, she was an independant woman. When the artist John Downman was portraying her, he noted such. Sadly, Sarah's legacy was not to last very long. She died in 1800 from a bad cold at the age of thirty-seven. Her final resting place is the illustrious Westminster Abbey.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Results are In!

Last month I began a poll to see if my blog readership mostly consisted of Tories or Whigs. Well the results are overwhelming Whig (84% in fact). It seems most favor the same political party our beloved duchess subscribed to.

Which makes me feel a bit like the Morning Chronicle.

The 18th century saw the birth of the press as we know it and, more importantly, freedom of press. Because of these two aspects, newspapers tended to lean toward certain political opinions, just as certain television networks do now. The Morning Post favoured the Tories whilst the Morning Chronicle favoured the Whigs. While Georgiana was canvassing in the 1784 election, the Morning Post was notoriously badmouthing her every move and making up scathing falsities. But of course the Morning Chronicle was not without its own faults; no newspaper was truly innocent.

I guess my humble blog is also just as guilty for favouring the Whigs, so I apologize to my 17 beloved Tory readers. Don't worry though...I sense more Tory-ish posts in the future.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Genesis of Rowdy Rowlandson

Thomas Rowlandson is often disregarded when we think of great artists of the eighteenth century. You may have noticed from this blog's banner that I am quite a fan of the sometimes raunchy satirical artist. So, for those who are not familiar with him, let me introduce Rowlandson to you.

Rowlandson's artistic talent was noticed from a young age. But the artist was not without his own initial setbacks. For one, he was not the son of an artist, his father was a simple city tradesman from Old Jewry, London. Still, education was a priority in the Rowlandson household and this city boy spent his youth in school. His big break came at the age of sixteen when he was given the opportunity to be a student at the illustrious Royal Academy and then later study in Paris. He first exhibited a painting in 1775 and was on a nice, productive roll. Then, disaster. You know those fictional aunts we all wish we had that die and leave you obscene amounts of money in their wills? Well, Rowlandson had a non-fiction one who left him £7,000 when she died. Rowlandson did what anyone else living in 18th century London would do with that money. He gambled it away until he was penniless.

Rowlandson needed to get back on his feet, and fast. His friends Henry Bunbury and James Gillray, who just happened to be caricaturists, suggested he take upon their 'lower' form of art. That way he could produce work faster and generate money from selling prints. He began slowly, with his drawing of Vauxhall which bordered on satirical, by displaying the great celebrities of the time. While the drawing was exhibited, prints were selling left and right. Rowlandson decided this caricature gig might not be so bad after all. Soon enough he was pumping out satirical images which has given us some of the best political, social, and celebrity commentary of the time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Calling All Bostonians!

I stumbled upon an art historian in need on Craigslist, and you can help! The historian in question needs someone to go to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (a fabulous museum) and check out a certain 18th century portrait and take notes on specific details in the painting. Although he/she may have been swamped with emails already I thought I'd post it on here as a fun project for anyone close to the museum. You can check out the details here.

Immortalizing Mary

A little while ago a reader (I'm sorry I forgot who!) was asking if there were any Georgian portrait-sitters who had also been photographed later in life. This portrait was suggested and I finally was able to find it so that I could post it for all to see.

This is a 1856 photograph by Antoine Claudet of Queen Victoria, Princess Alice, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester at age 80. Princess Mary was the daughter of King George III and the sister of two other kings, George IV (fondly known as the Prince of Wales on this blog) and William IV. She was said to be Queen Victoria's favourite aunt, and was the last surviving child of her parent's fifteen children. Here are some other portrayals of Mary from

1785 by John Singleton Copley (left)

1797 by William Beechey

and an undated print from her brother's reign as regent

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Gentle Readers, If you Please...

It has come to my attention that some of my beloved readers are having difficulties viewing both mine and Lauren's blog in the last few days. This has caused me much alarm especially since I haven't done anything different, and can view both sites without any problems (I use Firefox). Ahhh what could it be!!

I put up a quick poll to see just how many people this is happening to, so if you can, please participate in the poll to the left to aid me in figuring this problem out. In the meantime, I was told that you might be able to view the pages if you clear your personal cache. I have contacted Blogger about the problem, but please keep me updated with comments or email (

I've taken care of the possible assailant. For those who are having trouble, let me know if you can now view the blog without problems.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tart of the Week: Maria Duchess of Gloucester

Many of our tarts are rule-breakers; rebels if you will. That is part of their appeal. So this week's tart should prove to be very appealing.

Maria Walpole (yes, Horace Walpole's niece) was the second daughter of Edward Walpole, an MP and son of the first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. Normally, this would mean Maria and her sisters would grow up with good prospects but there was a problem. Maria's mother, Dorothy Clements was a milliner and not married to Edward. She wasn't, however, just some mistress; Edward loved her, he didn't marry her out of fear of it hurting his family's reputation. Well, her daughters, although Walpoles and loved by their family, did have a ruined reputation. They struggled to be accepted by society. Eventually a few brave members of the gentry opened up to them and they were introduced to court.

Maria stood out from her sisters in both beauty and personality. So when the twenty-two year old Maria was introduced to Lord Waldegrave, the forty-three year old was smitten. Not only was James almost twice Maria's age but he was known for poor personal hygiene. But a girl could use some extra pocket money, especially if you're considered to not have the best prospects to begin with. Hence, Maria became the Countess Waldegrave. Three beautiful daughters quickly followed the 1759 marriage but no heirs were to grace the Waldegraves for James died of smallpox in 1763.

After three years of marriage Maria was a widow with three young children. In those three years she had also made a name for herself as a delightful society lady. Maria had become close friends with Lady Coventry and Horace Walpole delighted himself to report that the beauties would be mobbed by onlookers when they took walks in the park. However, she was still not thoroughly protected financially. She needed another husband, and there was no shortage of eager candidates. She had already rejected the Duke of Portland (a duke!) when Prince William, Duke of Gloucester became acquainted with her. A romance blossomed, but it was a forbidden romance for Maria's illegitimacy prevented William from being able to marry Maria. His brother, King George would need him to form a proper attachment. Their chances of marriage approval diminished completely when the Duke of Cumberland enraged their brother by marrying a commoner.

King George saw the marriage as a betrayal and made William promise not to do the same with Maria. William gulped, and agreed in an attempt to calm his brother's anger. When Maria became pregnant though, in 1772 he had to finally admit that they has been secretly married in 1766. George threw a temper tantrum and tried to prove the marriage to be a farce but was defeated. The two were recognized but not welcomed at court, forcing them into exile onto the continent.

Maria did not go through all this trouble for the money (this time) she and William genuinely loved each other. Eventually George did forgive his brother and the two were welcomed back and their children provided for, after all, they were princes and princesses. Sadly, Maria and William's love cooled after a fight over their daughter's education and they eventually separated. Maria occupied herself by finding good husbands for her three eldest daughters and involving herself in politics. She was a fervent Whig, and would have made a mean politician if she were born a man. Maria continued to cause fusses and live fabulously until her death in 1807.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What a Mess!

It seems like whenever a young 18th century prince was in need of some heirs a German princess of some sort came forth. But never a princess of Germany or the "Holy Roman Empire" as it was known. Instead it would be a princess of Bohemia here an electress of Saxony there.

Did you ever wonder where the heck all these modge-podges of countries came from? And were they really "countries?" Well they were imperial estates which were ruled by dukes, kings, etc. but they all feudally responded to the Holy Roman Emperor. This made for this sort of map hanging above the blackboard:Yuck.

But then again Europe was also a bit of a modge-podge itself. It's various empires and monarchies made for a much different map than what we have today. Take a look at Europe's borders in the 18th century here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review: The Smart

In forgery and perjury owned such art,
She palmed the Gold, while others paid the smart.

William Combe, The Diablo-lady, 1777

I have heard that to write a successful biography one must be enamoured with their subject in order to devote their life (for a period of time, at least) to the all consuming process of retelling the subject's life. I don't know if this is the case for Sarah Bakewell and her subject, Margaret Caroline Rudd, the infamous skank who let her boyfriend and his brother hang for a crime she committed. Bakewell brings Rudd to life in The Smart, and successfully retells her tale in a neutral tone. Perhaps, it is not Rudd that Bakewell is enamoured with, but the fascinating way in which Rudd manipulated everyone who came in contact with her; the men in her life, her servants, the public, etc.

The amount of research that went into The Smart cannot be denied. Bakewell found some remarkable details about Rudd and the Perreau brothers that will leave your mouth gaping open. However, I found that there were many slow parts in the book. I would have liked it more if Bakewell summarized the actual crime and trial more. She drew out the details so they would get a bit confusing and/or repetitive. Another criticism I have is that her voice seemed to switch back and forth from novel narrative to biographical narrative. I would have liked her to keep one voice throughout the book.

However, the book is still of reputable quality and worth reading if your curiosity is peaked by the wicked Margaret Caroline Rudd. Rudd's many devious schemes seem like something only a Kevin Spacey character could be capable of. So thank goodness Sarah Bakewell is there to remind us that sometimes truth is stranger (or more horrifying) than fiction.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Gossip Guide Sun Signs

I've been into astrology for years, and am overly-reliant on it to hash-out people's personalities. I was delighted when Antonia Frasier used Louis XIV's sign as a way to explain him in Love and Louis XIV. Georgiana was a Gemini, like myself, and could be used as the definition of the sun sign.
So for a while I've been working on with a list of famous eighteenth century English examples of each sign which has been quite daunting due to unspecified birth dates and such. So without further ado, here is the Gossip Guide's guide to your star sign.

Aries March 21 - April 20
The Ram, Element: Fire
Traits: Adventurous, energetic, pioneering, courageous, enthusiastic, confident, dynamic and quick-witted.
Negative Traits: Selfish, quick-tempered, impulsive, impatient, foolhardy and daredevil.
Wardrobe Colours: Red, bright colors, especially green, pink, white, and yellow
18th Century Arieses: Queen Caroline (George II's consort) and John Duke of Dorset

Taurus April 21 - May 21
The Bull, Element: Earth Traits: Patient, reliable, warmhearted,loving, persistent, determined, placid and security loving
Negative Traits: Jealous, possessive, resentful, stubborn, inflexible, self-indulgent and greedy
Wardrobe Colours: All shades of blue and green, turquoise, soft rose-pinks
18th Century Tauruses: Lady Bess Foster and Thomas Gainsborough

Gemini May 22 - June 21
The Twins, Element: Air Traits: Adaptable, versatile, communicative, witty, intellectual, eloquent, youthful and lively
Negative Traits: Nervous, tense, superficial, inconsistent, cunning and inquisitive
Wardrobe Colours: White, silver, yellow, spring green, pale gray
18th Century Geminis: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and William Pitt the Younger

Cancer June 22 - July 22
The Crab, Element: Water Traits: Emotional, loving, intuitive, imaginative, shrewd, cautious, protective and sympathetic
Negative Traits: Changeable, moody, overemotional, touchy, clinging and unable to let go
Wardrobe Colours: Pale blue, silver, pearl, glistening white, emerald green
18th Century Cancers: Elizabeth Armistead and Joshua Reynolds

Leo July 23 - August 21
The Lion, Element: Fire Traits: Generous, warmhearted, creative, enthusiastic, broad-minded, expansive, faithful and loving
Negative Traits: Pompous, patronizing, bossy, interfering, dogmatic and intolerant
Wardrobe Colours: All shades of gold, yellow, orange, vermilion, copper, blood red
18th Century Leos: Lady Lavinia Spencer and George Prince of Wales

Virgo August 22 - September 23
The Virgin, Element: Earth Traits: Modest, shy, meticulous, reliable, practical, diligent, intelligent and analytical
Negative Traits: Fussy, a worrier, overcritical, harsh, perfectionist and conservative
Wardrobe Colours: Pastel shades of blue, gold, peach, yellow, and amethyst; jade green, autumn hues
18th Century Virgos: Lady Selina Hastings and Prince William, Duke of Clarence (later William IV)

Libra September 24 - October 23
The Scales, Element: Air Traits: Diplomatic, urbane, romantic, charming, easygoing, sociable, idealistic and peaceable
Negative Traits: Indecisive, changeable, gullible, easily influenced, flirtatious and self-indulgent
Wardrobe Colours: Royal blue, cerulean blue, rose-pink, amethyst, violet
18th Century Libras: Princess Royal Charlotte and Lord Horatio Nelson

Scorpio October 24 - November 22
The Scorpion, Element: Water Traits: Determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, powerful, passionate, exciting and magnetic
Negative Traits: Jealous, resentful, compulsive, obsessive, secretive and obstinate
Wardrobe Colours: Deep, dark shades of red, russet-brown, shadow-black, stone-gray
18th Century Scorpios: Lady Caroline Lamb and Richard Brinsley Sheridan

Sagittarius November 23 - December 22
The Archer, Element: Fire Traits: Optimistic, freedom-loving, jovial, good-humored, honest, straightforward, intellectual and philosophical
Negative Traits: Blindly optimistic, careless, irresponsible, superficial, tactless and restless
Wardrobe Colours: Lilac, mauve, purple, amethyst, violet, indigo, vermilion, midnight blue
18th Century Sagittarii: Mary Robinson and William, Duke of Devonshire

Capricorn Decmeber 23 - January 20
The Goat, Element: Earth Traits: Practical, prudent, ambitious, disciplined, patient, careful, humorous and reserved
Negative Traits: Pessimistic, fatalistic, miserly and grudging
Wardrobe Colours: Black, gray, violet, dark brown, dun, shades of earth
18th Century Capricorns: Maria Edgeworth and Edmund Burke

Aquarius January 21 - February 19
The Water-bearer, Element: Air Traits: Friendly, humanitarian, honest, loyal, original, inventive, independent and intellectual
Negative Traits: Intractable, contrary, perverse, unpredictable, unemotional and detached
Wardrobe Colours: All colors of the spectrum, particularly electric and ultramarine blue, electric green, deep violet
18th Century Aquairii: Elizabeth Lady Derby and Charles James Fox

Pisces February 20 - March 20
The Fish, Element: Water Traits: Imaginative, sensitive, compassionate, kind, selfless, unworldly, intuitive and sympathetic
Negative Traits: Escapist,idealistic, secretive, vague, weak-willed and easily led
Wardrobe Colours: Purple, violet, amethyst, sea-green, turquoise
18th Century Pisces: Frances Lady Jersey and William Godwin

For the best books on astrology or analyzing signs check out any books by Linda Goodman, the woman was scary-good in her analyzes; down to physical looks. Her Sun Signs is a must read.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Regal Twelve

Alexia Sinclair is starting to get some big attention from the blogging community for her latest photographic series, The Regal Twelve. In this series she honors some of the most vivacious and intriguing women in history in altered photographs that combine history, fantasy, and fashion. Marie Antoinette leads the procession as the "Extravagant Queen," and I think you'll be pleased with the historical women of power.

The Playful Guillotine

My latest obsession is a card game. No, not faro, this time it's Guillotine. Lauren, being of the french persuasion, discovered this game which puts you in place of the revolutionary French mob, deciding what nobles will be executed on that day. You collect points for each person sent to the guillotine; morbid, I know, but highly addicting. For certain people, such as Marie Antoinette, are worth more points than other lesser nobles. Whoever has acquired the most points at the end of three days, or rounds, of executions wins. Amazon has the game available to buy, and you'll soon discover no card party is complete without it!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Best Conversation of Your Life

I was reading Elizabeth's latest post at Scandalous Women and it made me revisit the question that I love to meditate on. If you could meet any three people, living or dead, and chat over lunch who would they be? My choices just happen to all be some kick-ass ladies of England, Queen Elizabeth I, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire (no surprise there!), and Kim Woodburn.

Who would you choose?

And let me prose some further questions. Which person would you you pick (living or long dead) to be in each of these situations with:
  • Go out for a memorable night on the town
  • Spend a night in jail
  • Attend a lovely tea party
Hmm, I'm going to have to think about that one. At the moment, I think Calvin Harris would be a great person to bar-hop with, and James St James would be fantastic to have tea with; but narrowing down someone to get in legal trouble with, now that's a tough decision. I'll have to go through my rolladex of historical figures.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tart of the Week: Margaret Caroline Rudd

Now when I write my weekly discourse on our lovable tarts, I try to take a neutral or even positive standpoint, unless they're Bess Foster. But this tart, well, she's just despicable. Her abilities at deception, bitchiness, and being a total slut go beyond the normal tartly powers.

Raised in suburban mediocrity in a town outside Belfast, Margaret Caroline Youngson was born around the year 1744. As with most young girls of suburbia she dreamed to get away and live in the big city. After all, she was meant for bigger things. Caroline also lived with the delusion that she was descended from Scottish gentry, her mother's maiden name being Stewart. Although this was highly unlikely, she managed to acquire some papers tracing her family back to the Stewarts and would constantly brag about her genes. She also managed to cause a stir wherever she went. While at school she caused so much trouble that the other students' parents threatened to remove their children if Caroline wasn't expelled. She continued to scandalize the people Lurgan by being quite popular with the young men of the town. Already as a teen Caroline was not being received in polite society because of her actions. Time to move on.

Caroline saw her opportunity to escape when a regiment of foot soldiers were stationed in her town. Ten days after meeting with the dashing lieutenant, Valentine Rudd, the two announced their engagement. The town of Lurgan rejoiced, they were finally rid of her! But alas, they didn't move immediately. This wasn't what Caroline had planned at all. What's the point of getting married if you can't get out of your po-dunc town? She continued to flirt with the other officers.

When the Rudds finally moved to London, Caroline let loose. She racked up debt and trouble immediately. Rudd found he had his hands full with his young wife. Then suddenly she was no longer there. She ran away with another man. You may think that this news would cause Rudd to put up his hands and say "forget that troubling wench." But oh, it wasn't that easy. To add to his already acquired debts, Caroline would just send her bills to her husband, forcing the poor guy to go on a wild goose chase to find his wife and her lover before she put him in debtor's prison. The authorities found Rudd before he could find his wife and that is exactly where he was put. She continued to bill him to ruin. After his release from prison Rudd was forced to flee the country in order to live out the rest of his life a free man. Caroline brought him to ruin...but there were more lives to destroy.

Enter the brothers Perreau. Identical twins who could not be more opposite in personality. Robert was an enterprising apothecary and businessman. He had a good marriage with his wife Henrietta and loving children. Daniel on the other hand was more rakish and would rather gamble than work. He was constantly running and the wrong crowd and in debt. So of course he met Caroline and the two began a relationship. Soon she had moved in, was calling herself Mrs. Perreau and pregnant with Daniel's child. All was fine until Caroline, always short of cash, decided to forge a bond and have the honorable Robert attempt to cash it in instead of her boyfriend, Daniel. It is highly illegal to write a document stating a rich guy will cover your expenses, when he has no idea who you even are.

For brevity's sake, this caused quite the problem. Questions were asked, investigations initiated and both Perreaus and Caroline were thrown in jail for forgery while the courts tried to figure out who was responsible for the forged bond. It was time for Caroline to use her cunning skills to save her own butt. Screw the man she lives and has a child with, and his innocent bystander brother who thought he was just doing a favor by delivering what he thought to be genuine bond. Operating from her office in JAIL Caroline manipulated both the press and the courts to be in her favor. After all, how could a mere woman be possible of this level of deception? The Perreaus' trial was first and they were found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Caroline's trial consisted of her writing notes to her lawyer throughout and getting off scott-free. Despite people (including Daniel) publicly appealing to the King for Robert's release from the hangman's noose and even his wife beseeching the queen woman to woman, the two brothers were sent to the gallows. Caroline let the two brothers hang for her crime.

Caroline laid low for a while, but unwisely didn't disappear from public. She next preyed on James Boswell who gleefully dove into a full-fledged affair with the "diablo lady." It took him a while, but Boswell, along with the public began to realize that Caroline should be avoided at all costs. The only way to destroy her was cut her off from the attention she thrived on. Caroline made a few more attempts at schemes, but no one trusted or liked her anymore. After ruining the lives of many, she finally died in obscurity on 4 February 1797.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Go Go Goya this Season

For upcoming makeup trends this season look no farther than our beloved Spanish painter, Francisco Goya. Because this season Spanish colours are in, and as we all know the eighteenth century is never out.

The first look is The Marquesa after the Marquesa de Pontejos' 1786 portrait. Natural is rumored to be the "in" look this spring/summer and this would be a good "day" look.

Start off with a spray of Intimately Beckham for a sophisticated floral scent.

For your eyes, graze them with MAC's Royal Assets Palette (on sale here).

Give yourself some rosey cheeks with CoverGirl's Cheekers is Snow Plum (135)

Smooth some Never Too Busy to Be Beautiful Lip Cream in Bard on your lips.

Lastly, your nails should be pampered with Illamasqua nail varnish in "Collide" or "Demure"

Now I could be getting ahead of myself, but I have a look for fall as well! Although it wouldn't hurt to wear it as a "night" look this summer. This is the Duchess of Alba look, inspired by one of Goya's most interesting sitters.

Make your mysterious eyes smolder with that 'come hither' look with MAC's eyeshadow in "Amber Lights"

Carefully apply MAC's powder blush in "Raizin"

Finish your look with Rimmel's Intense Wear Lipstick in "Fudge Brownie" (242)

As for nails, you have plenty of options when OPI's newest fall line comes out. I would recommend "Bullish" or "Suzi Skis the Pyranese."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Immortal Companion: Doña María Ana de Pontejos

One of the most noticeable aspects of this paintings is that the sitter's pug was painted with more care than the sitter. Unfortunately, I can't tell you much about either the sitter or her pug, which doesn't stay entirely true to this series I created, but I can tell you that Francisco Goya was another artist obsessed with his dogs. Therefore, the pug probably kept his interest longer than the Marquesa de Pontejos.

María Ana was painted here in 1786 to mark her marriage to Spain's ambassador to Portugal, who also just happened to be the prime minister's brother. Very political. As was typical with a bridal portrait, she holds a pink carnation as a symbol of love. Her beloved pug steps before her in an act of protection, cementing his employment in the painting as a symbol of loyalty.

But, this is also, and very importantly, a painting of fashion!

By 1786, Marie Antoinette's Triannon fashion had finally trickled down to Spain, who seemed to be always be a fashionably late country in the 18th century. Although the marquesa attempts to mimic the free-flowing Triannon style, her gown is still extremely Spanish. After all, that tight corset was what Marie Antoinette strove to get away from with her Gualle gowns. However she does capture the essence of those gowns with the flower details and the thin white muslin fabric. Her 'doo and straw hat are also tres tres Antoinette. Of course, as a fashionable lady, María Ana's pug has an outfit that matches his mistress'. His pink ribbon with bells (so he can't get lost in the garden) is from the same ream of ribbon as the one tied around her waste. As James St James wisely states, fashionable companions should match; "Be sure that your partner doesn't clash with your look. Plan ahead and execute together."


Faro was the doom of many a Georgian gambler, especially Georgiana. It put both her and her sister thousands of pounds in debt. It was also their favourite game. In fact faro was probably the most popular card game at the time. Lauren will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that even the Queen of France liked to play a round or too.

The game's popular died out with the 18th century was rebirthed in the American Wild West. Go figure, from courtesans to cowboys.

Well, great news! As alerted to by an amazing, yet anonymous commenter, we can play faro online! This saves me the trouble of be boring and explaining the rules in a post which I had been putting off. Sadly though, it's in a wild west setting; so pick up your panniers and dust off that dusty saloon chair, because it is quite addicting.

Now if only the folks at would make us a version set in Devonshire House. A girl can only hope!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Have a Sandwich

The origin of the sandwich is credited to it's namesake, the Earl of Sandwich. "Which Earl of Sandwich?" you may be asking. Why, an eighteenth century one of course: John Montagu ,whose political and military career is overshadowed by his culinary contribution.

The sandwich itself had already been in existence. Through thousands of years and cultures someone had to figure out that meat between slices of bread tastes amazing and doesn't require utensils. Somehow though, John is credited with it. As with most legends of heroic proportions, many stories mask the sandwich's true tale of origin. One of the most popular theories (and believable) is that John or someone working for him came up with the concept so John could continue play at the card table without having to get up to dine. You simply can't win cribbage on an empty stomach! Other variations claim he would chow down on sandwiches while busily working at his desk.

Either way, John's reinvention got people's attention. The plump Edward Gibbons' (who Caroline Lamb was very rude to as a child) journal records the first reference to a "sandwich" as we have come to know it. The sandwich caught on as a gentlemen's late night meal that gamblers would eat while playing long into the night. It then evolved into a dinner delicacy before the industrial revolution established it as the quick and portable lunch it is today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Office Decorating Tips

I must direct your attention to Lauren's latest post which discusses something of importance: decorating your cubicle so it doesn't resemble the 7th layer of hell. In the latest installment of What Would Marie Do? some poor soul asks how to amend her dreary cubicle and Lauren has turned it to the readers for answers. You might just love some of the fabulous ideas or want to add your own two cents!

Hunk Alert: Captain George Coussmaker

SWM, Captain/Lieutenant in the Foot Guards, Soccer-Build, looking for sweet-tempered woman to settle down with.
Likes: Horses, battle tactics, a good hearty meal.

I actually don't even know what to write here, the boys put me up to it. I'm usually too busy with work to go out and find a good woman. If you value your country and don't mind a husband who works long hours on the field, and looks good doing it that I could be the man for you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Joshua Reynolds, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire and Her Daughter, 1784

To all the Mammas out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Let the Gossip Party Commence!

Welcome to the Gossip Party celebrating the Gossip Guides' first anniversary, or blogiversary! There seems to be many rumours swirling around. Get out your fans and snuff boxes and let's listen-in:

"I heard that Ann Radcliffe is dead!"
"No, no, no. She totally went crazy from writing all those Gothic novels, and now she's been committed to an insane asylum!"
"... uh ... I heard she has asthma..."

Heard in 1762: "Have you seen Allan Ramsay's latest portrait of Queen Charlotte? It is the talk of London amongst the Abolitionists.

When Princess Sophia (daughter of George III) became pregnant out of wedlock, rumors circulated that she had been impregnated by her brother. I first read this in Flora Fraser's Princesses : The Six Daughters of George III, which included a frustrating lack of interest in this rumor: Fraser simply points out that the Duke of Cumberland couldn't be the father since all of his probable attempts to rape his sister would have occurred at the wrong time, and then (frustratingly) feels the subject is closed (p. 192, Book 3, Chapter 10).
-Emily K.

The Queen of Sweden, that odd, silent Sophia Magdalena, has given birth to a son after twelve years of marriage and the boy is not the son of the King at all! He was begotten by a simple stable hand - well, alright, a Baron - because the King himself was...unable, so he asked his good friend Baron Munck (which, to make things very droll, means monk in the local language. Ha! Ha!) to step in for him and do the deed. Just like Count Ehrensvärd so interestingly has shown us in this little masterpiece to the public delight of King Gustav's mother, the poor little bastard's Grand Mama...

Ever wonder why Casanova, that naughty loverboy, ever kept up with all of his conquests? (takes a pretty energetic guy...) So, his secret? As part of his staple diet, he downed 46 oysters a day...hmm-ok.

I heard Anna Nancy Storace was a total skank and hooked up with Mozart AND Emperor Joseph II.

The gossip I remember I liked very very much was that about Georgiana's Picture Hat. It was one of the firsts I read. I love Georgiana's style, and when I see pictures of her I always admire her her style. So when I read this "gossip" I just loved it.

Well, Susan Fox-Strangeways has done it now. Mr. O’Brien certainly is handsome, but really, marrying an actor? No wonder her parents exiled them to the colonies!

The oldest female convict on the First Fleet was Dorothy Handland, an elder in rags and old clothes who was eighty-two years old in 1787. She had drawn seven years for perjury. In 1789, in fit of befuddled despair, she was to hang herself from a gum tree at Sydney Cove, thus becoming Australia's first recorded suicide.

One of the first teabaggers?
From the colony of Pennsylvania, town of Philadelphia, comes news that a lowly female shop keeper, known by the name of Lydia Hyde, is rousing other proprietresses of shops and fellow traders, to call for a general meeting. Her meeting of the merchants is characterized as a local effort in Philadelphia to protest England's passing of the Stamp Act to and forgo the importation and future sales of British goods. Does not the poor lady understand that she is causing harm unto herself and her neighbors by giving up on of the greatest sources of her profits? Tea!

Pst... did you hear that Lord and Lady Auckland were trying to arrange a match between her eldest daughter, Eleanor, and the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger?

It is shocking that Sir Hamilton would be so open with his mistress Emma Hart, but after all they were on the Continent. Now I hear that he is going to marry her, and I will have to address her as Lady Hamilton? Unbearable!

Did you hear that Prinny nearly sliced himself to ribbons when that Papist tart Mrs. Fitzherbert refused him? Leave it to a royal to botch even killing himself . . .

I've just had a confab with miss Burney and she is still not on speaking terms with Mrs.Thrale, or Mrs. Piozzi now I suppose; Dr Johnson has also broken off relations with her. I daresay, it's all very romantic but terribly injudicious. Imagine marrying an Italian music teacher!

Have you seen that new painting of Emma Hamilton? She has a pretty face, but I hear that she’s quite witless!

Goodness, what scathing tongues we have! Now, don't forget to make your way into the French Salon for even more! Thank you for all this great gossip and thank you again to all who have made this a great year of blogging!

The winners (picked out of a hat) are:
Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman- Lucy
The Duchess on DVD- Cathy

Congratulations! Email me your mailing address and I will quickly dispatch a courier to your estates.