Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hoppner's Drawings of Ladies

I haven't written extensive on John Hoppner before, which is a shame because he is one of very talented artists to come out of the late eighteenth century.  His parents emigrated to England from Germany to be attendants in the London palaces of Hanovers.  Hoppner's talent as a tot gained the notice of George III who continued to encourage the boy and was his first patron.  George's interest in the boy caused whispers to fly that Hoppner was an illegitimate son of the king, but it is highly unlikely.  Hoppner painted some of the great personalities of the time but it is his drawings that I find particularly captivating. 

Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, 1784
Sarah, Countess of Tyrconnell, 1792
Mary 'Perdita' Robinson, c1783
Unknown Lady, 1785
Lavinia Banks
Catherine Bulteel, 1781

A Standing Woman
Mrs Houlton, 1801
Lady Charlotte Maria Waldegrave, 1780
Jane Douce, 1804-6

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Duke of Bedford Causes a Stir

"Indeed we are all undone,"

These were Georgiana's distressed words to Lady Melbourne in 1802.  Political catastrophe was first thing on the two ladies minds; she continued, "no possible event could have so thoroughly overtuned the habit of our society as this.'

The Duke of Bedford was considering, do I dare say it? 'tis truly horrible...a Tory for a wife. 

Yes, the prominent Whig was not just crossing over to the dark side, he was crossing over to the deep-dark side; he was considering the Duchess of Gordon's daughter as a wife.  That would mean having Tories for in-laws.  Georgiana saw him as good as turned just from mere proximity to that Tory temptress!

She also blamed herself for this whole debacle. Bedford had once been after her eldest daughter, Little G but she instead ended up marrying Lord Morpeth.  He had also been canoodling with the widely available Lady Melbourne for fun.  Although Little G marrying some other dude didn't hurt Bedford's feelings, Georgiana not paying him back money she owed him when he was short on cash did.  He refused to speak to her, and not long after was courting Georgina Gordon. 

Georgiana and Lady Melbourne expected the worst but they certainly didn't expect the duke to suddenly drop dead while playing tennis three weeks later.  Neither did the notorious husband-hunter Duchess of Gordon; she and her daughter were severely lampooned by satirical artists for their fruitless labour of love.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Museum Exhibition: Panniers, Stays and Jabots

I was lucky enough to be in Brussels this weekend, and even luckier still that their costume museum happened to be holding an exhibition on 18th-century clothing called, Panniers, Stays, and Jabots.  I was even luckier still when they told me I could take pictures (without flash, of course).  This naturally meant I went crazy taking as many pictures as I could for your viewing pleasure.  The quality isn't amazing but the clothing and their condition certainly is!

Just check out that gorgeous bow on the back!

Sparkly-edge sleeves

A purse, a familiar face, and a fan

The detail on some of the gentleman's clothing was fantastic


I had to wonder if the edging was original because of its pristine condition

Late 18th C shoes

Embroidered flower detail on the heel

These would slip on a delicate pair of heels to avoid muddying them

Perhaps my favorite garment in the show

A calash bonnet- a rare sight!

Ivory fan

I would buy a blouse like this now!

The back of said favorite dress

These fans needed labels so badly! A fan made entirely of feathers

Ostrich feather fan- again I need a date of origin so badly!

Monday, June 11, 2012

And the winner is....

Mari (Marilyn)!

Congratulations! Please email me (GeorgianaGossip@gmail.com) with your mailing address so we can quickly get a copy of Radicals & Royalists to your humble abode.

Thank you to all who entered, if you would still like to get your hands on a copy of the book you can do so on Amazon.  Thank you also to the gracious author, Emily Jacobs for the generous giveaway!

Saturday, June 2, 2012


"In fact, if we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful not the most gentle of their sex."
-Mary Wollstonecraft