Wednesday, 23 February 2011

And I am all forgotten.


Mrs. Arthur Henry Paget (1853-1919), 1891
Watercolour on ivory 

The subject is dressed as Cleopatra, the costume she wore to the 1875 Delmonico Ball in New York City. In mock ancient Egyptian costume, including a headdress in imitation of Egyptian pharaohs, she is posed against a background of palm trees, a river, and distant pyramids.
New York Historical Society - ALLURE OF THE EAST: ORIENTALISM IN NEW YORK, 1850–1930




Mrs. Paget would attend The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball in 1897 also dressed as Cleopatra. 


Of all the private entertainments for which the Jubilee has provided the occasion, none is comparable with the magnificent fancy dress ball given last night at Devonshire House by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Amid all the public excitements of the last few weeks, when the world, one might have thought, has been sufficiently occupied with the procession, the two reviews, and the garden party, the inner circle of what is still called society has preserved in the background of its mind an anxious preoccupation - namely, how it was to appear at Devonshire-house, supposing it was fortunate enough to be asked. Never in our times has so much attention been paid to old family pictures, never have the masterpieces of portraiture in the National Gallery been so carefully studied, while for weeks past the Print-room at the British Museum, commonly given up to quiet students, has been invaded by smart ladies and gentlemen anxious to search the prints and drawings of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries for something in which they could obey the Duchess's summons to appear "in an allegorical or historical costume dated earlier than 1820". Never in our time have the costumiers been so busy, and the houses so well-known to everybody who has ever organized private theatricals, such as Messrs. John Simmons, of the Haymarket, Messrs Nathan, and Messrs Alias, have been driven districted with orders and counter-orders. As usual on such occasions, the gentlemen, it is said, have proved far more exacting than the ladies; for the stronger sex, when once it makes up its mind to desert the sobriety of plain broadcloth, knows no limit to its requirements or to its suddenly developed fastidiousness. But, whatever may have been the anxieties and the difficulties of the preparation, there can be no doubt as to the splendour and beauty of the result. It is 23 years since a ball of similar design and magnificence was given. We are referring to the famous ball at Marlborough House on July 22, 1874. Many of those who were present last night were present also at the earlier festivity, and those who were, or those who have read the full account that was published in "The Times" on the following day, will find it difficult to award the palm for Royal magnificence and good taste. 
BALL AT DEVONSHIRE HOUSE
Saturday July 3, 1897
The Times




Now playing: The Magnetic Fields - With Whom To Dance?

5 comments:

columnist said...

"As usual on such occasions, the gentlemen, it is said, have proved far more exacting than the ladies; for the stronger sex, when once it makes up its mind to desert the sobriety of plain broadcloth, knows no limit to its requirements or to its suddenly developed fastidiousness."

Do you suppose their was intended innuendo here?

An Aesthete's Lament said...

Ah, yes, dear Minnie Paget, who fell down an elevator shaft. Did you know she was London's hottest marriage broker? She needed to to, considering that her dressmaker bills were huge and the bloom was off the rose, financially speaking.

HOBAC said...

C - innuendo in The Times? Surely they state only fact.

HOBAC said...

AL - and she only managed to injure her thigh! I didn't know, there was a noticeable lack of information on her. I must admit, she interests me.

Thombeau said...

I LOVE IT!