The Two Duchesses: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire
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‘The Two Duchesses’ is family correspondence of and relating to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, Earl of Bristol (Bishop of Derry), the Countess of Bristol, Lord Byron, the Earl of Aberdeen, Sir Augustus Foster and others 1777-1859, focusing on the period from America’s independence to the fall of Napoleon. Single letters are also included from Gibbon; Sheridan; Fox; the Prince Regent; General Moreau and Alexander, Emperor of Russia. The Devonshires were one of the first families of the land they were highly connected with George, Prince of Wales being a regular visitor to Devonshire house along with James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and other politicians and celebrities of the day. They were at the centre of society and their interest to history is heightened by the celebrated m’nage a trois and other affairs which led both duchesses–at separate times–to seek a quiet period abroad to bear illegitimate children; Georgiana’s daughter Eliza Courtney was sired by Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, who later became prime minister; Elizabeth’s children, Caroline St Jules and Augustus Clifford were sired by William, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, who she later married. Vere Foster, Elizabeth’s grandson, had unique access to the papers and over a period of years produced accurate transcriptions of these historically important letters–often working from abdominal scrawl–to provide us with fascinating window into the pinnacle of society of the period.
|Dimensions||156 × 234 mm|
Vere Henry Louis Foster was born in Copenhagen in 1819, while his father was serving as British Minister to Denmark. He was educated at Eton and Oxford and after graduation, entered the Foreign Office where his promising career as a diplomat was put aside once he returned to Ireland, in 1847. The rest of his life was dedicated to helping his countrymen. He contributed towards building school houses in rural Ireland-he devised economic, but very effective school books, and tried to better the lot of the poorly paid Irish school teachers. For over forty years Vere Foster gave freely of his own money until his death in 1900. During his life he assisted around 25,000 people to start a new life in the Americas and it is believed he spent approximately GBP100,000-a huge amount at the time-on other charitable endeavours while he himself lived on very modest means.
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