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Archive for January 4th, 2009

A Celebration of Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire: Book, Movie and DVD

The movie, “The Duchess”, is the story of Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana is the great-great-great-great aunt of Princess Diana. Georgiana was an English aristocrat who married at a young age, and experienced a variety of struggles in her marriage. The movie focuses on her marriage to William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire; her friend (and her husband’s mistress) Lady Elizabeth “Bess” Foster; and on the crisis point of Georgiana’s affair with Charles, second Earl Grey. The movie is based on the book Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, written by Amanda Foreman, which won a Whitbread Prize for Biography.

I enjoyed watching the movie “The Duchess”. Though, personally, I do not like movies, and I really don’t like to watch drama and conflict in art. So, there were parts of the movie–probably necessary to the story- which I will probably never be able to watch again. I am very glad that the movie has been released on a DVD version. Now, I can watch the parts of the movie I enjoy over and over again. And, the DVD also provides background and details that add to the telling of the story of Georgiana’s life.

What the DVD gave me overall: (more…)

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Please take the time to share your thoughts in the comment section.

The playwright Richard Sheridan was at times a friend of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and her family. Though, there was a later conflict which was more than just a falling out.

For admirers of Georgiana and her biography, it is so interesting to get a glimpse of her character in art, a play created by Richard Sheridan, possibly in collaboration with Georgiana herself. And, it may provide a good antidote from the concern about Georgiana’s treatment at the hands of the Duke, to realize that Georgiana was able to win over him in art. It was brilliant of the movie, The Duchess, to incorporate Sheridan’s play into the movie.

Below is Part 1 of 10 of the play “School for Scandal“, written by Sheridan and premiered in 1777.  This 1965 black and white production of the play appears on Youtube in sections, which all link from each other. Joan Plowright plays “Lady Teazle”, a thinly disguised character based on Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire. The details are Georgiana down to the expensive feathers and flowers purchased to adorn her dresses. The play is very amusing. While the plot is somewhat unkind towards the Duke, the happy ending makes one believe that Georgiana (and/or Sheridan) may have had hope for their marriage, and some faith in the Duke’s character.

If you take the time to watch this play (or if you have seen another version of it) it would be great if you could comment on this post. I think it is so magical that Georgiana was able to transport herself in time, in the form of art, for us to hear from her. And, it is even more amazing if we can think about her and her message together. Also, please send or post other interesting links or video or lists of Georgiana-related art.

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