Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Patronesses of Almack’s

The high hotesses of the era in which my novels are set, something of their temperament and the power the swayed.

…And this from Henry Luttrell of Almack’s
‘All on that magic LIST depends;
Fame, fortune, fashion, lovers, friends;
’Tis that which gratifies or vexes’
All ranks, all ages, and both sexes.
If once to Almack’s you belong,
Like monarchs, you can do no wrong;
But banished thence on Wednesday night,
By Jove, you can do nothing right.

Dorothea Benckendorff Countess Lieven, a diplomatic woman, and the first foreigner to be honoured as one of the matrons at Almack’s. She is credited with having introduced the German Waltz to Almack’s and was as politically influential as her ambassador husband.

Sarah Sophia Fane, Sally the Countess Jersey was said to have introduced the first quadrille to Almack’s social club. She was said to be so consumed with not being likened to her husband’s mother (who had an affaire with our fat Prince of Pleasure) that she frequently made an ass of herself trying to sow her good morals.

Amelia Anne Stewart Viscountess Castlereagh, later the Marchioness Londonderry, and quite possibly the fussiest of the grand ladies, she is credited with instituting the 'no entrance to Almack’s after eleven o’clock' rule. She is rumoured to have turned away the Duke of Wellington from the doors of Almack's for not wearing proper evening attire.

Emily Mary, Countess Cowper, later Lady Palmerston, was the best of the patronesses and quite possibly the most well-connected. She was mother to a Prime Minister, cousin to Caroline Lamb, the daughter of Lady Melbourne and dear friends with every person of interest.

Princess Esterhazy as the youngest of the patronesses, this spiteful child was no different from any attention-starved little sibling.

Maria Margaret Craven, Countess Sefton is the oldest of the patronesses to reign during the Regency. Of brilliant connections and birth, she sponsored the Prince Regent’s mistress Mrs. Fotzherbert’s outing in to London society.
Clementine Drummond-Burrell, something of a fusspot, she got her sense of entitlement from her father. Her greatest distinction is that she married the greatest dandy of all the ladies.
Have a lovely week my dears,


  1. Countess Lieven either has very impressive bosoms or her waist is cinched so tight she cannot breathe. Perhaps a combination of both?

    Countess Cowper has a kind face. I believe I would tell her my business, whether I had intended to do so or not. ;-)

  2. I miss my Norton's anthology from my college days after looking at these lovely classical pictures.

  3. I agree with Lillian, your blog is very inspiring!

  4. So interesting, I always hear so much about the place in books but never knew anything more

  5. It is great to see these arbiters in the flesh-having read fictionally and historically of their death grip on society,impressive. The collection of images is wonderful,thanks for airing the ladies out. la

  6. Hi! I love your blog. This is something new for me. All your images are beautiful.

  7. I love these glimpses at a world I know nothing about.


  8. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. I dream of writing romance novels, and having them published one day, but you are actively trying. I admire that. I became a follower so I can see your newest posts in my sidebar. I'm off to read more of your blog. Happy New Year.

  9. Oh my Simone, your blog is a lovely find!! Not only do you post beautiful images you are a fantastic writer!! I have no doubts about your future success as a romance novelist!!

  10. wishing you a happy new year!
    thank you very much for sharing me beautiful images.


  11. Very cool romantic pictures. Princess Esterhazy is my favorite. It's a very interesting picture.

  12. What a beautiful blog. Thank you for stopping by mine. Have a lovely new year.

  13. Wow, what a stunning blog. A pleasure to visit here.

    All the very best,
    Corra McFeydon

  14. Ohhhhh... you have Flaming June on your blog! My all-time favorite! I've not seen the original, but have seen actual sketches and pre-paintings at my local museum.

    This blog is a blissful place - and a great resource! So glad to have connected with you.

  15. how strong and charming these women were! yesterday i spoke with my dad about the romantic period. he is an art expert and was asked to write a review of a newest book on romantic period in european art published in polish. it's so inspiring!
    have a very sweet day!

  16. I love your blog. It's original and different from all the others I've visited.

  17. Thank you my darlings. You have made me very happy with your kind words. Have a lovely day amd take my care when you go.
    Hugs and kisses,

  18. I love those portraits! And I've actually read that poem about Almack's before, though I can't remember where. Wonderful post, Simone!

  19. Well, after seeing this list I'm pretty sure I would have made some grave mistake and been booted out of Almack's. Unless my past life was of scullery maid and then I never would have had a chance :)