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Posts Tagged ‘Duchess of Devonshire’

Emma, Lady Hamilton. By Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun

Emma, Lady Hamilton, was a contemporary of Georgiana, The Duchess of Devonshire. Georgiana knew and liked Lady Hamilton.

If you like Lady Hamilton, or want to learn more about her, there is currently an exhibit at a book club in New York city. More info about “The Enchantress: Emma, Lady Hamilton”, at the Grolier Club until April 30, 2011, can be found at their link, and at the “read more” below.

I have become fascinated with Lady Hamilton party because of the movie “That Hamilton Woman”, with Vivien Leigh as Lady Hamilton, and with Leigh’s then husband, Laurence Olivier, as Lord Horatio Nelson. The movie is exquisite.

My favorite part of the movie is the way it explores the relationships between men and women, caught in a sexist society, where divorce is more of a shame than affairs, courtesans, or cruelty. And, I love the line uttered by the character of Lord Nelson, “That’s the way people look at these things. They do not believe in a friendship between a man and a woman.” I think that the tension that occurs — partly by nature, partly by a skeptical, sexist society — when a man and a woman try to be friends or colleagues is a large part of the energy that keeps women from succeeding in business, or fairly taking part in governing.

For an excellent review of the Grolier Club exhibit, see the Scandalous Women article: here. A quick biography of Emma, Lady Hamilton can be found at one of my favorite history blogs, The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: here.

Info on the exhibit: (more…)

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Update: Deborah Cavendish, Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, passed away on September 24, 2014, at age 94.

My commentary on the monarchy, circa 2010:

As an American activist for peace and justice, I am surprised to find myself consumed of late with stories of the English elite — the life of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire; Jane Austen novels; and the story of Lord Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, Lord Melbourne and their circle. I have been wondering what fascinates me about these stories, and how I can be so excited about the lives of people who, in real life, I would find to be elitist, over-privileged, and ultimately knowing or unknowing cogs in an oppressive system of unfair hierarchy.

Well, I was gratified to find an article in the Guardian that at least toys with these conundrums. Finally, someone else who admires a Duchess, at least took the time to examine the role of a Duchess. (more…)

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Did the movie “The Duchess” (2008) have a happy ending?

More, importantly, did the life of Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire (nee Lady Georgiana Spencer, born 1757) have a happy ending?

Here are the answers to nearly every question about what happened to Georgiana:

Note: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire is an ancestor of Prince George of Cambridge and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. 

Did Georgiana ever “produce a male heir”? Yes. She had a child with her husband, the 5th Duke. Her son was William Hartington Spencer and he became the 6th Duke.  So, both Georgiana and the 5th Duke felt like they had an heir who would carry on. (Though, “Hart” never had children.)

Did the male heir save the Devonshire name and riches for Georgiana and The Duke’s family? No…but it was saved. (more…)

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This is about a modern debate. Models are expected to be so skinny. So, the fashion industry tends to use models 16-years-old and under. So, they are considering rules (they now have some loose policies that are not working) about how and how much to use models under 18 years old. Interesting in a Lady Georgiana Spencer perspective. Because, Georgiana, too, was exploited for her beauty at a young age. For Georgiana, it was about being an elegant wife, and a young and talented beauty who was expected could give birth to an heir.

As New York Fashion Week rolls out runway, too-skinny model debate turns to age
By Samantha Critchell, AP / February 10th, 2010

Would older models quell too-skinny debate?

NEW YORK — The models auditioning for New York Fashion Week were undeniably thin. But it was only after the fashion industry started worrying about too-skinny models that casting agent James Scully began asking their age. (more…)

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Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Thomas Gainsborough, 1787

Want an easy way to dress as Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire?

There are many costumes you can buy that are “Marie Antoinette” of France. Since Marie Antoinette and “The Duchess”, Georgiana Spencer, were contemporaries and friends, an Antoinette costume should convey the same overall impression. And, after the movie “The Duchess” being a pretty good hit, people might even get who you mean to be. (Or, you can always go home-spun and find some dress in your closet that looks poofy and old-fashioned with a little scoop to the neckline.)

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The Duchess DVD is available

Some differences you might notice, or adjust your costume for:

-Marie Antoinette was from France, Georgiana was from England. (You could even hold an English Flag.)

-Marie Antoinette is usually portrayed with white, powdered hair, Georgiana is usually portrayed with goldish or reddish hair. (more…)

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Stumbled upon this article. And, it is full of stuff that interests me. Hope you will read about women and fashion and being taken seriously (or not.) Also, interesting notes on Duchess author, Amanda Foreman, and woman politician, Margaret Thatcher. – Kimberly

(excerpt from) Times on Line UK

TV ‘genius’ Gail Trimble leads the march of the bluestockings

Gail Trimble has infuriated critics by both being very intelligent and refusing to have a celebrity-style makeover

by Alexandra Frean and Helen Rumbelow / February 28, 2009

Britain has a problem: we are overproducing something that we have little idea what to do with. We can’t get rid of it, and many loathe it unless it’s disguised as something else. The product? Clever women.

This week saw the “victory” of Gail Trimble, the cleverest contestant on University Challenge. Not that you would know we were celebrating.

The reaction to the 26-year-old – who is studying for a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford – swung wildly between gross sexual insults and gross sexual invitations.

The fact that she did not dress like Paris Hilton simply added to her offence. Here was a living embodiment of that favourite female stereotype: the “bluestocking” – a clever woman unbothered by looks or fashion sense… (more…)

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The costumes for the movie “The Duchess” were gorgeous and detailed. The subject of the movie, Georgiana the Duchess of Devonshire, nee Lady Georgiana Spencer, was known for being a fashion plate, and for using fashion in the service of politics. So, it is only appropriate. At the movie web-site, you can see the costumes, created by Michael O’Connor, in unique windows with the ability to zoom in and turn the costume around. If you want to see some pretty 18th century style dresses, you should click on: here. There is also an interesting dress, with a military flavor, which shows how Georgiana would dress up in the colors of her party, the Whig Party.

So, now, The Duchess has received the Oscar for “Best Costume.” Very nice. Hope it brings attention to the story of Georgiana. She was a fascinating woman.

Do you wonder what Georgiana would say about the fact that the movie portraying her life, and her character as “The Empress of Fashion”, won an Academy Award for Best Costume? With Georgiana, the answer is easy.

As noted similarly at several sources, including Wikipedia, Georgiana had the same response to all compliments. The story goes that when Georgiana was stepping out of her carriage one day, an Irish dustman exclaimed, “Love and bless you, my lady, let me light my pipe in your eyes!”, a compliment which she often recalled whenever others complimented her by retorting, “After the dustman’s compliment, all others are insipid.”

Hope you will browse the Georgiana Circle web-site, and leave any of your thoughts about Georgiana, the movie, the Academy Awards, or 18th century fashion.

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