Author Topic: The Mitfords  (Read 22861 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13061
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #45 on: May 23, 2007, 11:33:56 PM »
That bottom picture is the one Ursula uses at her site. Here's what it says about the Derby tiara. The outfit she wears is the one the 8th Duchess wore at the famed Devonshire Ball in 1897 where so many royalties attended in full costume.

"The tiara rests on a band of pairs of stylized buds between collet-set diamonds, surmounted by a sequence of palmettes outlined by diamond borders linked at the base to lotus flowers graduated toward the back,in total ca 1900 diamonds. The design is made in 1802 by Skinner of Orchard Street for the Duchess of Devonshire, who was presumably given this tiara at the time of her marriage in 1889. Since then the tiara has descended through three generations.

An articel written by the Duchess in the Sunday Telegraph from March 17, 2002, described her own behaviour when wearing so much glitter:

“Before the last war, tiaras were worn by married women at all the grand balls in London. Even at a big dance in the 1960s it was not uncommon for men to wear tail-coats and the women their jewels. I remember going to a such an entertainment on my own wearing, with unwonted confidence, the "big" tiara (the Devonshires have two). It must have looked rather odd, because my home-made dress of cotton broderie anglaise was definitely not up to it. At the end of the evening I went out to look for a taxi. It never occurred to me that it might not be a good idea to stand alone in the street long after midnight with a load of diamonds round my neck and nineteen hundred more glittering above my head.

But then, even though Helen, Duchess of Northumberland, once had her tiara snatched off her head as she was leaving her house in Eaton Square, we did not think of being mugged (the word did not exist). My mother-in-law, Mary Devonshire, who was Mistress of the Robes to The Queen from 1953 till 1967, used to fetch the jewels from the bank stowed in a Marks& Spencer carrier bag. My grandmother-in-law, Evelyn, Duchess of Devonshire, was Mistress of the Robes to Queen Mary for 43 years from 1910. Together she and Queen Mary weathered long hours of tiara-ed evenings. After one particularly lengthy engagement, Granny was heard to say "the Queen has been complaining about the weight of her tiara . . . the Queen doesn't know what a heavy tiara is".

Evelyn knew what she was talking about. The larger of the two Devonshire diamond tiaras is indeed a whopper. It was made in 1893 for Louise, the eighth Duke of Devonshire's wife. She was formerly married to the Duke of Manchester and was always known as the Double Duchess..........”source:Sunday Telegraph

In addition to the link in the previous page, this one also contains information on the tiara and more photos:

http://www.royal-magazin.de/england/devonshire/diadem-derby.htm

and this one shows the dress and jewels the 2 Duchesses wore (in color):

http://www.royal-magazin.de/england/devonshire/parure-devonshire-holbeinesque.htm

"Left the Zenobia-costume from Worth,Paris, which the 8th Duchess of Devonshire,Louise, wore at the famous Devonshire Diamand Jubilee House Ball in the 1897
"...The skirt of gold tissue was embroidered all over in a star-like design in emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, and other jewels outlined with gold, the corners where it opened in front being elaborately wrought in the same jewels and gold to represent peacocks' outspread tails.
This opened to show an underdress of cream crepe de chine, delicately embroidered in silver, gold, and pearls and sprinkled all over with diamonds.
The train, which was attached to the shoulders by two slender points and was fastened at the waist with a large diamond ornament, was a green velvet... and was superbly embroidered in Oriental designs introducing the lotus flower in rubies, sapphires, amethysts, emeralds, and diamonds, with four borderings on contrasting grounds, separated with gold cord.
The train was lined with turquoise satin. The bodice was composed of gold tissue to match the skirt, and diamonds, and the front was of crepe de chine hidden with a stomacher of real diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Jewelled belt. A golden crown incrusted with emeralds, diamonds and rubies, with a diamond drop at each curved end and two upstanding white ostrich feathers in the middle, and round the front festoons of pearls with a large pear-shaped pearl in the centre falling on the forehead." The Times "
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 11:36:20 PM by grandduchessella »
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline emeraldeyes

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1586
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #46 on: May 24, 2007, 12:59:28 PM »
I just started reading Nancy's book 'The Pursuit of Love' because of this thread.  It is in a volume along with 'Love in a Cold Climate'.  I wonder how her sisters felt about her use of various aspects of their lives in her characters? 
Also has anyone read the Anne Courcy book about Diana?  Just picked that one up as well, and I'm wondering if I should temporarily put down a book about Vicky Princess Royal to read that one instead.  Opinions?
An intelligent Hell would be better than a stupid paradise.  - Victor Hugo


Offline emeraldeyes

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1586
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #47 on: May 24, 2007, 07:06:08 PM »
According to the website http://albionmonitor.net/decca/sisters.html, Unity (with the middle name Valkyrie) was so named because she was born at the outbreak of World War I (August 8, 1914), a few days after Britain went to war with Germany.  "Unity" expressed the hope that they war would end peacefully.  I'm not sure about the Valkyrie part....

exceprt from "The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family" by Mary S. Lovell:

As regards the time surrounding Unity's conception and birth:

"At about this time David hit on a scheme to end their financial problems.  With his growing family, their limited income must have been the cause of worry to him.  Stories of the rich strikes in the Klondike a decade earlier, perhaps bolstered by his spell of active service in South Africa, seem to have persuaded him that gold-mining might be the answer.  On hearing that a new goldfield had been discovered in Ontario, he staked several claims to forty acres near the small township of Swastika, in the Great Lakes area.  Only small quantities of gold had been found there so far, but a big seam was believed to exist. 
Over the next twenty years or so, David would travel to Ontario many times to work the claim.  He had already been there alone when, in the spring of 1912, he and Sydney decided to go together and - the biggest treat- they were to sail on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.  Fortunately, something happened to make this impossible and their departure was delayed until autumn of the following year.  There, Sydney and David lived in a sturdy, well-built wooden cabin, which they called 'the shack'.  It was basic but it had everything they needed.  There were no staff and Sydney did everything herself, including the cooking and pumping the water by hand.  She even made her own bread, and continued to do this for the remainder of her life.  David, photographed in corduroy knickerbockers, canvas gaiters, warm workmanlike shirt and a leather waistcoat, enjoyed the time he spent there.  It was a rough, masculine environment and he felt at home with the miners, who treated hime with respect and taught him how to crack a stock-whip that he had been given by an Australian miner.  He worked hard and found tiny traces of gold; just enough to keep him enthusiastic.  Meanwhile, there was a massive strike on a neighbouring property owned by Harry Oakes, a prospector who had been mining unsuccessfully for some years.  The Tough-Oakes mine proved the biggest gold mine in Canada, and was a mile or so to the east of David's land, at Kirkland Lake.  Oakes purchased a lakeshore claim and burrowed under the lake after his landlady told him about tine nuggets and flakes of gold she had seen in the streams as a child.  He struck gold almost immediately and issued half a million shares at thirty-five cents each.  Within two years each share was worth seventy dollars and Oakes had kept the majority of them for himself.
It is not difficult to see why David remained keen, although the mining project eventually came to nothing.  Furthermore, he and Sydney were at their closest in the shack at Swastika through the winter in that inhospitable climate, and it was one of the happiest times in David's life.  It was there that Sydney conceived their fifth child.
When the couple returned to London it was to a slightly larger house at 49 Victoria Road, off Kensington High Street.  The new baby was born there, in August 1914, four days after Herbert Asquith declared war to cheering crowds gathered at Downing Sttreet.  Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, David had been on the point of leaving for his gold mine in Canada, but as he watched the situation deteriorate he became anxious to 'do his bit'.  Although he had been classed as permanently unfit because he had only one lung, and knowing it was unlikely he would be allowed to see action, he nevertheless rejoined his old regiment.  On 8 August he got a twelve-hour leave, and the latest addition to his family obliged by being born while he was at home.  It was a girl.  The parents, still hoping for a second boy, were disappointed, but soon came around.  There was time for another boy.  In David's absence Sydney called her Unity after an actress (Unity Moore) she admired, and then Grandfather Redesdale said that she must have a topically apposite second name so they added Valkyrie, after Wagner's Norse war-maidens.  Almost from the time of her birth she was known in family circles as 'Bobo', but with hindsight, Unity Valkyrie's unusual name, combined with the place of her conception, Swastika, seems almost like an eerie prophecy which the fifth Mitford child had no alternative but to fulfil."

You couldn't make that up if you tried... :o
An intelligent Hell would be better than a stupid paradise.  - Victor Hugo


Offline Martyn

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7022
  • Martyn's Chips
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #48 on: May 25, 2007, 09:57:00 AM »
How simply wonderful to see that Worth costume in colour!!! How exciting!  As someone who has pored over those wonderful Lafayette images of all the guests who attended the Devonshire House Ball, I have often wondered quite what those costumes must have looked like in real life and in colour.  That Worth creation is simply stunning.  Thank you so much GDElla for providing that link; it really has made my day to see that costume!

I'm not really a fan of the Devonshire Parure, too heavy for my taste and the effect is not lightened by all of the diamonds having been removed from the settings to furnish other peices of jewellery.  As I recall, this parure, consisting of tiara, coronet, necklace, stomacher and other pieces, was made for a family member (Countess Granville?) to wear in her capacity as ambassadress (to the Court of St Petersburg?)  Still the cameos and intaglios are really beautiful, and very fine, valuable specimens

I was surprised to see that the Cavendishes still possessed Louise von Alten's diamond tiara - really a splendid piece!  I have just finished reading a joint biography of Louise, the double duchess, and her husband - fascinating characters and powerful people in their time.

Debo Devonshire has been a wonderful chatelaine at Chatsworth and I think that she till resides there?  Compared to the very grand Cavendishes and their lengthy history of being wealthy and powerful landowners, the Mitfords were minor aristocracy. She and her husband really stepped up to the mark at a very difficult time for the family - post-war and after the death of the elder brother, the Marquess of Hartington.  Under the care of Debo and her husband, Chatsworth has gone from the strength to strength over the years; the 'Palace of the Peaks' is well worth a visit - one of my very favourite places.

I must add that although Nancy Mitford is best known for 'The Pursuit of Love' and 'Love in a Cold Climate', my two favourite works of hers are her biography of Madame de Pompadour and her book on Louis XIV and his family, 'The Sun King'.  They really are worth a read as they are written with humour and style and really give sparkle to the respective subject matter - absolutely vintage Nancy.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline grandduchessella

  • Global Moderator
  • Velikye Knyaz
  • *****
  • Posts: 13061
  • Getting Ready to Move to Europe :D
    • View Profile
    • Facebook page
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #49 on: May 25, 2007, 11:27:38 AM »
How simply wonderful to see that Worth costume in colour!!! How exciting!  As someone who has pored over those wonderful Lafayette images of all the guests who attended the Devonshire House Ball, I have often wondered quite what those costumes must have looked like in real life and in colour.  That Worth creation is simply stunning.  Thank you so much GDElla for providing that link; it really has made my day to see that costume!



No problem, Martyn. You made my day by coming back.  :)

In the Interesting Women of the Nobility Thread (in Their World & Culture), I'm working through the Duchesses of Manchester, including the 'Double Duchess'.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 12:27:27 PM by grandduchessella »
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
Come visit on Pinterest--http://pinterest.com/lawrbk/

Offline Martyn

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7022
  • Martyn's Chips
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #50 on: May 25, 2007, 11:42:27 AM »

No problem, Martyn. You made my day by coming back.  :)

In the Interesting Women of the Nobility Thread (in Their World & Culture), I'm working through the Duchesses of Devonshire, including the 'Double Duchess'.

Oh thank you - too kind.....  :-[

I'll take a look at that thread.  As I said, I have just read a book about Louise, which was not really very satisfying, although it did have some great information about Devonshire House, and of course the ball.  Louise was a fascinating woman and a major player in 19th century British politics and society, but l'll take that up in the appropriate thread; thanks for letting me know about it.  :)
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline ashdean

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1176
  • Formerly Lancashireladandre & Morecambrian
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #51 on: May 27, 2007, 11:38:25 AM »
How simply wonderful to see that Worth costume in colour!!! How exciting!  As someone who has pored over those wonderful Lafayette images of all the guests who attended the Devonshire House Ball, I have often wondered quite what those costumes must have looked like in real life and in colour.  That Worth creation is simply stunning.  Thank you so much GDElla for providing that link; it really has made my day to see that costume!

I'm not really a fan of the Devonshire Parure, too heavy for my taste and the effect is not lightened by all of the diamonds having been removed from the settings to furnish other peices of jewellery.  As I recall, this parure, consisting of tiara, coronet, necklace, stomacher and other pieces, was made for a family member (Countess Granville?) to wear in her capacity as ambassadress (to the Court of St Petersburg?)  Still the cameos and intaglios are really beautiful, and very fine, valuable specimens

I was surprised to see that the Cavendishes still possessed Louise von Alten's diamond tiara - really a splendid piece!  I have just finished reading a joint biography of Louise, the double duchess, and her husband - fascinating characters and powerful people in their time.

Debo Devonshire has been a wonderful chatelaine at Chatsworth and I think that she till resides there?  Compared to the very grand Cavendishes and their lengthy history of being wealthy and powerful landowners, the Mitfords were minor aristocracy. She and her husband really stepped up to the mark at a very difficult time for the family - post-war and after the death of the elder brother, the Marquess of Hartington.  Under the care of Debo and her husband, Chatsworth has gone from the strength to strength over the years; the 'Palace of the Peaks' is well worth a visit - one of my very favourite places.

I must add that although Nancy Mitford is best known for 'The Pursuit of Love' and 'Love in a Cold Climate', my two favourite works of hers are her biography of Madame de Pompadour and her book on Louis XIV and his family, 'The Sun King'.  They really are worth a read as they are written with humour and style and really give sparkle to the respective subject matter - absolutely vintage Nancy.
The Devonshires still own the great diadem because although made for Louise it was made with Devonshire diamonds taken from other gems including the cameo parure ( They were replaced with crystals I think) so they remained Devonshire property as did the great triple sargent portrait of the Acheson sisters....Louises grandaughters but no relations of the Cavendishes.
Much has been written on other sites about Debo selling next month (at Christies) a Cartier diamond necklace...This must be her own property not like the tiaras, the great diamond rivere and the famous rubies... "family jewels" and as an increasingly frail lady..it is doubtful she feels the need for this item AND has the use of the family treasure trove if need be....

Offline Martyn

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7022
  • Martyn's Chips
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2007, 07:43:49 AM »
The Devonshires still own the great diadem because although made for Louise it was made with Devonshire diamonds taken from other gems including the cameo parure ( They were replaced with crystals I think) so they remained Devonshire property as did the great triple sargent portrait of the Acheson sisters....Louises grandaughters but no relations of the Cavendishes.
Much has been written on other sites about Debo selling next month (at Christies) a Cartier diamond necklace...This must be her own property not like the tiaras, the great diamond rivere and the famous rubies... "family jewels" and as an increasingly frail lady..it is doubtful she feels the need for this item AND has the use of the family treasure trove if need be....

I have only ever seen photos of the cameo parure with empty settings where the diamonds once were set.  I am sure that the diamonds must have lightened the effect of this parure considerably. 

This suite of jewellery is very much of its era, embodying the spirit of the Revivalist taste for classical antique jewels in fashionable pseudo Renaissance settings of the mid-nineteeth century. The set of eighty-eight cameos and intaglios were bought by the 2nd Duke of Devonshire in the early eighteenth century and are a mixture of some very early gems, dating from the first century B.C., from the court workshops of Rome and Alexandria, mixed with examples of Renaissance, Tudor and Stuart engraved gems.  These latter include portraits of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I and Charles I.

It is said that the maker, C.F. Hancock added the 320 diamonds as an afterthought, which also came from the collection of the sixth Duke, who had commissioned the parure.  As the former explained: ' I found it necessary in the progress of the work to put diamonds round the cameos in order to lighten it up otherwise the whole parure would have been heavy and utterly spoilt.'

Countess Granville, the wife of the nephew of the Sixth Duke, initially wore the parure to the Coronation of Alexander II in 1856 and it is easy to see how this suite of jewellery must have complemented court dress at that time.  Coupled with an embroidered velvet court train and the very full skirts of a grande toilette, this parure of seven pieces (four of which are for the head alone!) bandeau comb, coronet, diadem, necklace, stomacher and bracelet must have appeared to great advantage.

Countess Granville wore the parure again in 1857 to a State Ball at Buckingham Palace, this time with a white satin gown trimmed with flowers and diamonds........

Duchess Louise's tiara was thus made from the diamonds formerly set in this parure by a jeweller called A.E.Skinner of Orchard Street.  This tiara consists of 'twelve honeysuckle ornaments with fourteen between pieces resting on a two-row bandeau with collets in between.'  It is set with 1,097 diamonds, of which apparently 1,041 of which were 'broken from old ornaments', including the 320 stones from the Devonshire cameo parure.

It does seem that the cameo parure by this time had become outmoded and thus had to surrender its stones to furnish Louise with something that no peeress could seemingly be without - the ubiquitous diamond tiara...........
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Arleen

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2007, 09:23:17 AM »
I am so happy that you are back Martyn, I am quite beside myself!  Missed you dreadfully!

Arleen

Offline Martyn

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7022
  • Martyn's Chips
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #54 on: May 29, 2007, 11:44:11 AM »
Oh thank you Arleen!

I just hope that I can contribute something again.........
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Janet_W.

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1888
  • ...And no one's grief has ever passed you by...
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2007, 01:39:56 PM »
I'm also very happy to see you back, Martyn! And didn't realize until now that you had returned, so hope that what ever kept you away has been resolved and that you're doing well.

Offline Martyn

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 7022
  • Martyn's Chips
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #56 on: May 30, 2007, 07:39:24 AM »
I'm also very happy to see you back, Martyn! And didn't realize until now that you had returned, so hope that what ever kept you away has been resolved and that you're doing well.

Thank you Janet, I am both well and glad to be back!
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Lord Rossmore

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #57 on: December 25, 2009, 04:51:28 PM »
Hi i thought id start this new thread, Its appears that alot of the Pictures from the first Mitford Thread are blank with little red x's in them. Could someone repost those pictures as id love to see them, My Interest mainly lies with Debo, current (Dowager Duchess of Devonshire). Also was Wondering if anyone had the Picture of the Duchess of Devonshire on Coronation Day in her Coronation Robes with the Marquis of Hartington as her page. Many thanks in advance.

Offline Kalafrana

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 2912
    • View Profile
Re: The Mitfords
« Reply #58 on: February 21, 2010, 12:36:22 PM »
From all I've heard about them, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire (as she is now) is lovely and not at all pretentious, and the old duke was lovely too. A lady who was a sort of grandmother figure to me and who died recently knew the Duchess from girlhood and told me the following tale which I particularly like.

My friend Olivia was visiting Chatsworth at a time when the Duke was about to go to London for an important debate in the House of Lords. 'How are you getting there?' says she over tea.
'X is going to take me to the station and I'll get the train.'
'And when you get to London?'
'Oh I'll get a taxi. But don't tell Debo. She thinks I should go by Tube!'

This is entirely my personal opinion, but I think Unity was one of those people who are intelligent (she learned German very rapidly) but have absolutely no sense. I have no time for Diana whatever, and no sympathy for her being interned during the war. An invasion was expected imminently and the authorities simply could not take the risk. Having recently read the Lovell book, I think that apart from the Duchess the one I'd have got on best would have been Pamela - the rest were far too noisy and exhausting!

Ann