Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Duke of Dorset Writes to Georgiana

News from France!

In April of 1786 the Duke wrote to Georgiana to fill her in on the latest gossip. "The little Po [the duchesse de Polignac] is preparing to set out..." for her awaited visit to Georgiana. He reported that "poor Mrs. B" [Marie Antoinette] was in true despair about the loss of her friend and green with envy about not being able to join the happy party in England. In fact, he said, it seemed as if a whole "colony" was going to London. Even the Queen's other favourite, the princesse de Lamballe had requested leave to Brighthelmstone, but the Duke was doubtful whether Antoinette would be willing to part with her. "Mrs. B told her she would think about it before she mentioned her wishes to the King, and yesterday she sent me (Mrs. B) to desire to see me on Saturday morning so I am afraid [her voyage depends upon my advice], which I am sorry for, as I cannot judge the propriety or impropriety of her being in a place with the P. of W. and Mrs. F..." It would appear the antics of the Prince were about to ruin the Princesse's planned holiday!


Anonymous said...


I was wondering if you could do a post about Catherine the Great of Russia? I mean, I've seen several portraits of her, but I'm always on the look out for new ones.

Heather Carroll said...

Of course! I'll do my best!

Judy said...

Heather, if you are taking requests perhaps you can do something on the new Thomas Lawrence painting of the actor John Kemble as Cato that has just been acquired by the NPG. It's a little known but successful work by Lawrence. Very dramatic, I thought.

Heather Carroll said...

Thanks for the heads up Judy! This is definitely gossipworthy.

Margravine Louisa said...

oh, my dear, you do publish such interesting tittle tattle - where DO you find your sources?
wamest regards,
Louisa von Browne

Heather Carroll said...

Why thank you! This particular gossip came from the published letters of Georgiana (from the mid 20th c I believe) which Amanda Foreman accurately described as having a lot of gaps. Gaps being, missing a lot of fabulously scandalous gossip.

Margravine Louisa said...

Of purely personal interest, do you have any delicious bits about harpists?
Margraviaine Louisa von Browne

Heather Carroll said...

I don't actually but I do know Georgiana was a gifted harpist!

Margravine Louisa said...

Oh, My! that is just too "close" !
Do you recommend the book that was recently released from her letters - the one the movie was based on? I heard some negative comments about it, but now my curiosity is piqued?
kind regards,
Louisa von Browne

Heather Carroll said...

Do you mean Amanda Foreman's biography? If so I definitely recommend it, it's one of my favorite books! I can't imagine why it would even get negative comments because it is just fantastic.

I know they re-released it under the the movie title, and I don't know if that version is any different, it looked slightly smaller. I would go for the original Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire