Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lady Hester Stanhope on...Political Hostesses' Hospitality

Lady Hester Stanhope was not a woman to hold her tongue, which was only more apparent when her doctor (and close friend) released her memoirs in 1845 - which was more like his memoirs of her.  In it, William Pitt's niece remembered the various environments created by the great political hostesses of the time:

"'I remember too what a heavy, dull business the Duchess of R[utland]'s parties were - the rooms so stuffed with people that one could not move, and all so heavy - a deal of high breeding and bon ton; but there was, somehow nothing to enliven you.  Now and then some incident would turn up to break the spell.

Now, at the Duchess of Gordon's there were people of the same fashion, and the crowd was just as great; but then she was so lovely, and everybody was animated, and seemed to know so well what they were about - quite another thing.

As for the Duchess of D[evonshire]'s, there they were - all that set - all yawning, and wanting the evening to be spent, that they might be getting to the business they were after.'
It may be mentioned that Lady Hester was always very  severe on the Duchess of D. and her friends, whenever her name or theirs was mentioned."'

Friday, January 18, 2013

Country Homes: Nocton Hall

Location: Lincolnshire
Famous Inhabitants: Albinia Hobart, Countess of Buckinghamshire
It difficult to believe that a house with such history is listed as endangered.  After countless fires and subsequent vandalism Nocton Hall is now a shell of a once-elegant country home.  Not only did Nocton house the Tory hostess, Albinia Hobart's, lavish parties and private theatricals but also was transformed into a hospital for recovering soldiers in both WWI (for American soldiers) and WWII (for the RAF).