Sunday, December 13, 2009

Women of a certain distinction

Two of the infamous uncompromising mistress of the regency era.

Mrs Dorothea Jordan she gave the Duke of Clarence ten illegitimate children and though she was a scandalous creature, she was praised enthusiastically by all the great romantic writers of her time from Byron to Lamb. She was a mistress generous to fault, returning to the stage between pregnancies in order to support herself, the children and her royal duke. The poor dear died a pauper in France while her duke went on to marry then later he became King William IV.

Harriette Wilson was a brilliant courtesan who, according to Sir Walter Scott, was ‘far from beautiful …but a smart, saucy girl with good eyes and dark hair and the manners of a wild schoolboy.’ Harriette was popular until she wrote her memoirs, but to be fair she did, ahead of the publication date of the scandalous manuscript, write everyone who could be incriminated making it clear that they would still save face for a mere £200. The Duke of Wellington, stupidly refused and she in turn wrote this by his name in the published text, “sighed over me and groaned over me by the hour,” but then she never thought much of Wellington who, she was quoted as saying, looked like a ‘Rat-catcher.’

Have a lovely week,


  1. I think I have read about the first one, sad fate

  2. Oh, Ms Wilson was definitely brilliant! I'm always sorry to hear about women who are so generous with their hearts and then do not get the same back.

  3. the mistresses always fascinate.dying a pauper seems to be the fate of many mistresses-of many women that did not have the protection of a man. familiar with business savvy Harriet, she warned Him. not so much with Dorothea-any suggested reading? the print is absolutely elegant. thanks for bringing these 2 my way. la

  4. Simone

    I'm intrigued to read about Harriette Wilson. I wonder what Wellington's reaction was, upon reading the revelations?

  5. I have books about both these women :-) Wilson's memoirs are a bit scatter-brained, I think. And so sad for her as she spent all the money she earned from them, too.

  6. Thank you for your kind compliments, Simone. Your blog is quite fascinating! A good read on this rainy Philadelphia day...


  7. The picture of Mrs Dorothea Jordan is enchanting, I am so intrigued I will have to look her up! Wow!
    Thank you very much for the treasure!

  8. I love these Simone, thanks for the breath of fresh air.

    Simone I don't know if I told you that the lady who did the painting I use for my banner is Kelly Vivanco. I am crazy about all of her work.

    Love Renee xoxoxo

  9. Simone!

    I love these paintings! I tend to get lost in your blog as well. Such a sweet read :) Thank you!


  10. Simone, thank you for stopping by my blog.
    I love all the pictures on your blog.

    Again, happy holidays to you.

  11. Bonjour Simone! Very sad ending for these women! I think the lesson here is - there is alot to be said for goog, old-fashioned romance!
    Hope you are ready for Christmas. Thanks you for stopping by and all your kind comments!

  12. Very sad tales about these women, but then, it was certainly a man's world back then.

  13. Simone, I want to thank you for visiting my blog and your generous comments!
    And good luck with your novels : )
    Best wishes,
    Bart Boehlert

  14. Thank you so much for your lovely words on my blog, Simone.
    You have a beautiful blog and I'm glad to stop by it :)

    Have a beautiful week :D


  15. Hi,All.
    Happy Monday and my every thanks for coming by to see me. I love hearing from you and will be sure to stop by your blogs if I haven't already.
    Now for Little Augury question.
    I know there are still copies of Ms. Wilson's memoir in print and there is a credible enough book called "Mrs. Jordan's Profession: The Actress and the Prince," by Claire Tomalin about Mrs. Jordan that offers a degree of insight.
    A brilliant week to all.

  16. Fantastic gossip from another age! And it still thrills! Thank you for this look into some daring lives.


  17. These are fantastic. It seems no matter how many hundreds of years pass, the story remains the same.

  18. Thanks for visiting my blog. You have great taste in art and this post was intriguing! I agree that its fascinating gossip from another age:)

  19. hello! i love your blog! it's so romantic! i love reading and that's why i feel so good here :)
    i'm looking forward to read new romantic posts!
    wish you a very sweet day,

  20. Dear Simone - thank you so much for stopping by and also for introducing me to all the gorgeous historical romance going on here!!! I love it all - one of the things we are enjoying the most about living here is the sheer joy of feeling totally immersed in history. When we go into Bath, there is barely a building without a plaque giving information about some historical figure who lived there! Also love your 'Flaming June' - Lord Leighton is one of my favourites and I have 'Cymon & Iphigenia' in my bedroom! Flaming June is also my current notecard - what a coincidence! Very warm wishes, Susie x

  21. I think Mrs. Jordan would be scandalous in today's time... and the other woman, haha. She is funny. I don't know her but I like the attitude.

  22. I'm glad the ladies have your support for there are a dozen others to whom I'd like to make you known in the months to come. I'm in meetings until cocktails today but I'll be sure to call on each of you before week's ends.
    A lovely day to all,