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Archive for the ‘Georgiana’ Category

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…)

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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…)

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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!)

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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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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…)

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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…)

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Websites about Georgiana and her time:

The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th Century
This site has interesting content about Georgiana, Marie Antoinette (her friend) and other 18th century women. The website is very visually appealing. It offers books and products for sale intertwined in its content. Put up by Heather Carroll.

Places to find images of Georgiana and her surroundings:

Olga’s Gallery
A site with a wonderful collections of  art, organized by artist, country, period/movement, etc.

Georgiana entry at Wikimedia Commons
At Wikipedia, some of the images of Georgiana are public domain (no copyright)

Chatsworth
Chatsworth estate (the Derbyshire home of the Dukes of Devonshire). Chatsworth was used for the movie The Duchess, and also for the 2005 movie “Pride and Prejudice.” The history page of the Chatsworth website lists all the Dukes and Duchesses from the 1st Duke who started building Chatsworth in 1552, through the family of the 11th Duke (married to the Hon. Deborah Mitford, daughter of Lord Redesdale, who published many books about Chatsworth), up to the present Duke, the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish who succeeded his father in May 2004.

Websites about Women’s History in general: (more…)

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This is a modified version of an old essay of mine called:

Living the Skit: I am Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

I am a woman activist who has run for office inside my party to try (unsuccessfully) to win the nomination for Lieutenant Governor, and in the regular election as a write-in for various offices, and on the ballot for Suffolk County Legislator.

I know that I am not as funny as Tina Fey. And, I hope that I am not much like Sarah Palin, since: I believe in women’s reproductive rights; my energy plan does not include nuclear power or drilling in the ANWAR; and I believe in non-violence so much I am against the War in Iraq and the War in Afghanistan. So, I cannot claim too much similarity to either woman.

Though, when Tina Fey puts on her Sarah Palin persona, somehow, there I am in the middle of things.

I think that one reason for the resonance I feel is that Tina Fey’s skits, and the way she portrays Sarah Palin, are a way to explore what it means to be a woman politician. Tina Fey is “Everywoman The Politican.” Her comedy is based on the struggle of figuring out how does a woman hold herself when she is trying to carry an air of leadership and authority, while at the same time, trying to win over voters? Especially when some of those voters hold the patriarchal expectation that a woman should be feminine, and might even hold the expectation that a woman should not be the leader. (more…)

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Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire is an ancestor of the new royal baby, The Prince of Cambridge.

More info about Georgiana: here
Web page for “The Duke and Duchess of Peace”: here.

Lady Georgiana Spencer is an important figure in political history. She was born in 1757 and died in 1806. She married, at the age of 17, and became Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire. She had an influential role in many key, political events, and in the shaping of the early Whig Party. Georgiana saw the French Revolution through the eyes of an English aristocrat, and as a friend of Marie Antoinette.

Amanda Foreman wrote “Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire”, Modern Library Press, 2001. And, in 2008, a movie was made based closely on that book, though, with the movie focusing on one aspect and time period from the full biography. Amanda Foreman was a consultant on the movie. Though the movie was critiqued for saying so in some advertising, Georgiana is, in fact, the great-great-great-great aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales. And, the lives and work of these two women have eerie similarities. (more…)

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