Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2009

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Ralph Fiennes, out of costume

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

Painting of the 5th Duke of Devonshire

As a devoted fan of the real Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and as someone who enjoyed the movie “The Duchess” very much, I have definite opinions on all of the characters, and on the portrayals in the movie.

I decided that I am still a little frustrated that Ralph Fiennes portrayed William, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, in such a sympathetic light. Though, in thinking about it, at least Fiennes showed the flaws in the Duke’s character, and did not do what would have been tragic – make the Duke seem charming or especially sexually appealing, after all the Duke’s womanizing and emotional abuse of his wife.

It is also disappointing that the portrayal of the Duke is up for so many awards, when it is Georgiana who should have been (and was in some measure)  “a light burning at the center of the film”, as commentary on the DVD edition notes. Perhaps because I had read the book by Amanda Foreman, I still saw Georgiana’s light as the center of the film. Indeed, the story would probably have not been told if it were not for her flair, her fame and her fashion sense. And, contrary to some critics, I believe that Keira Knightley’s portrayal of Georgiana was wonderful. Knightley was able to portray the character and emotions in the range of an innocent young bride of 17-years-old, to an aristocratic woman having a passionate affair, to a mother and wife who has come to terms with her place in life. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Politically, I am a third party person. So, I won’t be hyper-focusing on the new President and his wife. Though, an inauguration ball is such an interesting example of politics intersecting with fashion, that I thought it would be important to at least mention it here. Please note that I am also preparing a series of posts on the topic of politics and fashion.

(excerpt from) The Boston Herald
All eyes will be on Michelle Obama and her choice of inaugural gown
By Maria Recio / McClatchy Newspapers
Wednesday, January 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – Inauguration Day will belong to President Barack Obama, but that night will be wife Michelle’s turn in the spotlight, as all eyes will be on her – and her choice of ball gown.

Throughout U.S. history, and especially in the post-World War II era, first ladies have made statements about themselves and the times they live in with their inaugural wardrobes.

“They are symbols of our country. They reflect around the world an image of our country,” said Carl Sferrazza Anthony, a historian who’s written extensively about first ladies.

more from the Boston Herald article…the internet/blog phenomena of the Women’s Wear Daily post with pictures of dresses famous designers think that Ms. Obama should choose. It is fun to flip through.

Women’s Wear Daily has created a buzz with its feature “Michelle Obama: What should she wear?” which showcases designers’ sketches for her inaugural gown done at the behest of the newspaper.

and, from the Boston Herald article…Who started Inauguration Fever, the series of balls and social events all packed into one night?

Inauguration fever as we now know it, with multiple balls, galas and celebrations, is a relatively new phenomenon. The tradition of the inaugural ball began in 1809 with first lady Dolley Madison, a skillful hostess who knew that social events could support her husband’s presidency.

NOTE: The possibly related link to Part Four below doesn’t work now. It is my fault for hitting “publish” and changing it to draft when I made a mistake. Please accept my apologies, and if you want to see the series, here is Part One. Many thanks. (Please comment. Input is highly valued!)

Read Full Post »

Thanks to Heather at the Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th Century for this link:

Fuchsia’s 18th Century Dress Project

This blog has wonderful photos of whole dresses, parts of dresses, and sewing materials to make your own dress.  A very interesting study in fashion and fashion design.

From the about page:

I created this blog simply to document the process of my making a whole 18th century outfit – complete with stays, pocket hoops, petticoat, stomacher and stuff. I have the ambition to do at least 80-90% by hand and in as time typical materials as possible.

I might also feuture tips, tricks, how-to’s and other related things I’ve found in my search for inspiration.

An example of an 18th century dress found at Wikimedia Commons:

Read Full Post »

A collection of 3 reviews about “The Duchess” movie, the story of the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. I chose reviews which had something extra to offer in terms of comments and new details:

from POPDOSE
DVD Review: “The Duchess”
Sunday, January 4th, 2009 by Lance Berry

This is an excellent review with unique insights. I also wanted to post it here because it offered commentary and praise of the musical score, which I had overlooked in my own review. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Found this wonderful drawing of over a dozen different 18th century hairstyles. It includes many that might have been warn by Georgina, Duchess of Devonshire. You must click to see the up-do with the sailing ship on top:

Post at The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th century

Here is the picture. (DofD Gossip Guide is a fun site to visit, though!)

Read Full Post »

I think that posts about Keira Knightley are somewhat off-topic to this blog. I want the focus to be on historical women and women’s rights. Though, for now, while Keira’s star is shining in the world of Georgiana, I found it interesting that she will be working on a new project. While the next one is a period drama, I believe it will be much different…

from The Guardian UK
Jazz age romance of Fitzgerald and Zelda heads for big screen
Keira Knightley to star as Great Gatsby novelist’s wife, with John Curran directing

Excerpt:

Their tempestuous relationship was reputedly the basis for some of his most famous works. Now the story of F Scott Fitzgerald and his novelist wife Zelda Sayre is to made into a Keira Knightley-starring film called The Beautiful and the Damned, reports Variety.

Read Full Post »

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…)

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Please use the comments section below to add your own thoughts.

What lessons have you have learned from studying the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire? (more…)

Read Full Post »

Please share your thoughts on this topic at the comments section. Hearing what you think is a lot of the reason I created this blog.

What are the life lessons that you have learned (as a woman, as a person, as a feminist) which might have helped Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire to have a happier life, and reached more of her potential? (more…)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »