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Certain lives epitomize an age, its glamour, its successes, and its broken dreams. Such were the lives of Lord Edward Cecil, his wife Violet, and Alfred Milner with whom she fell in love. The adventurous Guards officer Edward Cecil married Violet Maxse in 1894, as Britain reached its imperial zenith. During the Boer War, as Chief Staff Officer to Baden-Powell, he was besieged at Mafeking, while in Cape Town Violet, young, attractive and enterprising, fell in love with Alfred Milner, the High Commissioner responsible for British policy. Her love for him dominated the rest of her life.;This book is also a picture of the British aristocratic world during its last period of real influence. As Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, Lord Edward's father, the Marquess of Salisbury, was Britain's leading statesman. His Jacobean palace, Hatfield, was a political powerhouse. Violet's father, Frederick Maxse was an unorthodox war hero and landed gentleman. His artistic and political friends, such as the statesman Georges Clemenceau, influenced her profoundly.;Alfred Milner, a brilliant scholarship boy, rose to control the destinies of the nation alongside Lloyd George during World War I - a war bringing terrible personal tragedy to Violet and Edward. Edward spent his later life administering the finances of Egypt. After his death in 1918, Alfred and Violet were married for four brief, happy years.
The story of the decline of the British aristocracy is relatively well documented, but this text examines the new plutocracy who challenged it in the years that led to the Belle Epoque of King Edward VII. It explores where its members resided, what they spent their money on and how they lived down, or up to, their parvenu wealth.
Animated by beauty, intelligence and thirst for knowledge - but forever at the mercy of her "too feeling heart" - Lady Elizabeth Foster's life was dramatic, colourful and riven by crises both personal and political. Born a Hervey, one of the foremost families in England, she married young and foolishly. Within seven years she was separated from her husband and children, and condemned to pass her days in poverty and social obscurity. But her meeting with the Duke of Devonshire and his enchanting wife Georgiana changed her life for ever. She became Georgiana's inseparable friend, the Duke's mistress and a member of the Devonshire House circle, a social and political elite composed of some of the most brilliant figures of their day. Gifted with a remarkable memory, she recorded in her journals every twist and turn of the Regency crises, the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.;With unlimited access to the Dormer archives, the journals and unpublished letters still owned by Lady Elizabeth's descendant, Caroline Chapman reveals not the false friend and scheming mistress portrayed by previous chronicles of the period but a woman passionately attached to the Duke and Duchess, devoted to her children and capable of lasting friendships with major figures like Madame de Stael and Edward Gibbon. Always an ardent European and intrepid traveller, after her marriage to the Duke and his death, her last years were spent in Rome where she rapidly achieved eminence in society as a brilliant hostess, patron of the arts and as the close friend of one of the century's greatest statesmen, Cardinal Consalvi.
From the author of How the Scots Made America, this is a definitive history of the Highlands, ranging from the depths of bloody clan warfare to the heights of Gaelic poetry. "This formidable, superb, spectacularly audacious history of the Highlands," wrote The Times, focuses squarely on its people. Michael Fry traces the ironies of their fate as emigration, forced clearances, and the breakdown of feudal relations undermined traditional customs. Fry's groundbreaking reassessment of the Highlands is not, however, the usual eulogy for a dying era. He argues that modernization simply had to happen, and he traces the many inventive ways in which Gaelic culture withstood decline. "Outstanding...best of all, deliciously written." (The Literary Review) The author of four previous books on Scotland, Michael Fry has also contributed to many major newspapers.
Emma Hamilton was a legendary beauty who ranks with Helen of Troy and Nell Gwynne in the public imagination. Beloved Emma traces Emma's life from her birth as the daughter of a Cheshire blacksmith, through her glittering success in Neapolitan society as the wife of Sir William Hamilton, and her famous romance with Lord Nelson, to her death as a pauper in Calais. Flora Fraser captures the charm and vivacity of this unusual woman and her use of contemporary sources and anecdotes brings the period vividly to life.
On the surface the sisters were busy, accomplished girls, but the real story beneath their composed image was quite different - no one who reads Princesses will ever look in the same way again at the calm, composed women in Gainsborough's portraits. The king may have believed that his six daughters were happy to live celibately with him and Queen Charlotte at Windsor, but secretly, as Flora Fraser's absorbing narrative of royal repression and sexual licence shows, the sisters enjoyed startling freedom. The historical searchlight has been turned with great intensity and sympathy on George III and his family, and the sweep of history between the Regency and Victorian eras. Flora Fraser has written an extraordinary (and surprisingly modern) story with real authority, wit and elegance.
Nelson's victory at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 was a pivotal event in European history. But Trafalgar was not simply an isolated battle fought and won in an afternoon - the naval campaign had in fact begun more than four years before.;This extraordinary period, following Napoleon's threat to invade England in 1801, came to be known as "The Great Terror", and Britain was on the alert. As the Grande Armee faced a Dad's army of English volunteers across the Channel, a secret war of espionage and subversion was fought in the shadows. New weapons - rockets, submarines and torpedoes - were developed. Even during the year's lull following the Peace of Amiens, when English tourists flocked to Paris (some to be entertained by a bland Napoleon with a reassuring bust of Nelson behind him on the chimneypiece), the secret war continued.;Drawing on diaries, letters and newspapers, Tom Pocock provides a vivid picture of the years from 1801 to 1805, and of people wittingly or unwittingly caught up in these unique events: Nelson himself as he blockaded the French at sea for two unbroken years, his love Emma Hamilton waiting at home, Jane Austen and her naval brothers, the diarist Fanny Burney, the admirals, generals and politicians, as well as the lesser-known men such as Fulton, Congreve, Moreau and Pichegru who waged the secret war on either side of the Channel.
In this biography, Steven Parissien aims to present George IV against the cultural background of his age, showing how his behaviour affected the contemporary view of both the monarch and the monarchy, and how his energies and ambitions focused upon the artistic, architectural and social splendour with which many now associate him.
Nelson's victory at Trafalgar on 21 October 1805 was a pivotal event in European history. But Trafalgar was not simply an isolated battle fought and won in an afternoon - the naval campaign had in fact begun more than four years before. This extraordinary period, following Napoleon's threat to invade England in 1801, came to be known as The Great Terror and Britain was on the alert. As the Grande Armee faced a "Dad's Army" of English volunteers across the Channel, a secret war of espionage and subversion was fought in the shadows. New weapons - rockets, submarines and torpedoes - were developed.;Drawing on diaries and papers, Pocock gives a picture of the years from 1801 to 1805, and of people wittingly or unwittingly caught up in these events. He documents the experiences of Nelson himself as he blockaded the French at sea for two unbroken years, his love Emma Hamilton waiting at home, Jane Austen and her naval brothers, the diarist Fanny Burney, the admirals, generals and politicians, as well as the lesser-known men such as Fulton, Congreve, Moreau and Pichegru who waged the secret war on either side of the Channel.
On August 30th 1841 William John Bankes, former Tory MP, pioneer Egyptologist and renowned traveller, was caught in compromising circumstances with a guardsman in London's Green Park. Bankes paid a heavy price for his 'moment of madness': less than two weeks later, well aware that sodomy carried the death penalty, he had fled in to exile, eventually settling in Venice. The British Government declared Bankes an outlaw, a vindictive and archaic procedure, which might have enabled them to seize his house - Kingston Lacy in Dorset. It was the vicarious embellishment of that house, although it could be no more than a memory, that was to be his only enduring passion. Based on extensive research from previously undiscovered archives, this is the first ever biography of William Bankes. Brilliantly written and highly readable, The Exiled Collector recounts Bankes' dramatic life story, examines the psychology of collecting, the pain and creativity of exile and affords a revealing insight into the minds of a hypocritical ruling elite in early Victorian Britain.
After a three-day romance Brooklyn-born Jennie Jerome married into the British aristocracy to become Lady Randolph Churchill. At a time when women were afforded few freedoms, she was a cornerstone of high society and behind-the-scenes political dynamo. However it was Jennie's love life that marked her out, causing scandal in its day and earning her the epithet 'more panther than woman'. She was sexually fearless at a time when women were supposed to be sexually vapid. Yet, in other ways, Jennie was deeply loyal to her husband. When he was dying of syphilis she took him on a round-the-world trip to conceal his violence and mania. He returned in a straitjacket with only weeks to live. After Randolph's death her great project became her son, Winston, with whom she was entwined in an intense mutual dependency. Jennie died suddenly in 1921 after a dramatic fall downstairs, having tripped over her high heels. Although Winston was not to become the nation's leader for another two decades, he had already acquired from his mother an unshakeable faith in his destiny. With unprecedented access to private family correspondence, newly discovered archival material and interviews with Jennie's two surviving granddaughters, Anne Sebba draws a vivid and frank portrait of her subject. She repositions Jennie as a woman who refused to be cowed by her era's customary repression of women. Neither a bad mother nor a sexually predatory wife, Jennie Churchill was creative and passionate, determined to live life to the full.
Biographer of both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Stanley Wientraub employs previously little-used or unknown diaries, letters, memoirs and reportage from both sides of the Atlantic to throw fresh light on Edward VII's half-century of waiting to become King. The book provides a picture of the Prince and his worlds: his difficult and frustrating childhood, his introductions to gentlemanly sins at Oxford and Cambridge, and his chilly arranged marriage to the pretty but dull Princess Alexandra, from whom he frenetically escaped in a succession of balls, races, spas, gambling, carousing and whoring.
Antony Wynn tells the story of Sir Percy Sykes and his unique role in preserving British interests in Persia between the 1890s and World War I.;Percy Sykes was sent to Persia by Army Intelligence in the 1890s, first as an explorer and spy, then to open consulates along Persia's eastern borders. His job was to deter Russian expansion towards India. Unpaid, he rode through thousands of miles of the harshest desert, marsh and mountain, often with his indomitable sister. When consul at Meshed during a very turbulent time, he bugged the Russian consulate and, armed only with diplomacy, single-handedly faced down a Russian attempt to annex north-east Persia.;During World War, Wassmuss - "the German Lawrence" - incited the southern tribes of Persia against the British. Sykes, who knew everyone that mattered in Persia, was sent out to raise a regiment of local villagers to keep Persian oil safe for the Royal Navy.;Sykes was no blimp. He hunted gazelle with princes, read Persian poetry, sat at the feet of dervish masters and got to the heart of the country. His 25 years in Persia, laced with humour and domestic detail, give an insight into Persia that is still instructive today.
Through the eyes of its inhabitants, Donald Thomas portrays the 19th-century underworld - one of "night houses" and cigar divans, of street people and entertainers. This underworld was sheltered by an underclass, united by a hatred of the police. In its rookeries and paddingkens, gin shops and taverns hard by the fashionable West End, thrived thieves and beggars, cheats, forgers and pickpockets, preying on rich and poor alike.;Thackery wrote that the wonders of the Victorian underworld "have been lying by your door and mine ever since we had a door of our own. We had but to go 100 yards off and see it for ourselves, but we never did". Here Donald Thomas pushes open that door to reveal a world at once both strange and strangely familiar.
The outline of Palmerston's extraordinary career is well-known: his near forty years in Cabinet office, his lead in bringing the Crimean War to an end, his attempt to bluff Bismarck over Schleswig-Holstein. Also known is his swashbuckling, womanising reputation. But not explored until now are the powerful intellect, perception and subtle diplomacy that lay behind Palmerston's high-handed, blustering style, and which made him one of the most internationally influential statesman in British history.;James Chambers pays particular attention to the politician's early years, showing how his 'scandalous' private life and his long, frustrating apprenticeship at the War Office played their parts in turning the diffident 'Lord Cupid' into the notoriously over-confident 'Lord Pumicestone'. Instinctive and headstrong, he horrified his Cabinet colleagues with his brinkmanship. The apparent champion of the underdog and a pioneer in the exploitation of public opinion, 'the people's darling' became England's most popular and powerful politician since the elder Pitt. Even at the end of his career, Palmerston retained the nonchalance that had epitomised the bucks and dandies of his Regency youth. His levity irritated the redoubtable Queen Victoria, but a more astute observer, Florence Nightingale, saw through it. 'He was,' she said, 'so much more in earnest than he appeared.'
How did a notoriously poor, alcoholic, violent and smelly town, consisting of 40,000 inhabitants, make such an impression on its age and on ours? So that Voltaire wrote, with more than a dash of malice that 'today it is from Scotland that we get rules of taste in all the arts, from epic poetry to gardening'? The leading lights of the Scottish Enlightenment - David Hume, Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson, William Cullen and James Hutton - transformed the way we treat our perceptions and feelings as well as mechanical processes, sickness and health, trade, money, relations between the sexes, the purposes of existence and government. In just fifty years, Edinburgh produced more philosophical landmarks than a town of its size since the Athens of Socrates. In an account of exceptionally close focus, James Buchan resurrects every aspect of eighteenth-century Edinburgh, and shows how a succession of disasters demolished old systems of thought and behaviour to set Edinburgh's men and women off in strange new directions. Capital of the Mind opens a fascinating window on a glorious time when Edinburgh was the most beautiful and philosophical city in Europe.
This is a magnificent study of one of Britain's most perplexing leaders and the last Liberal peer in Number 10. Though he spent less than two years in Downing Street, he always remained a glittering political star. Yet he never attained the true greatness that was within his grasp. The problem lay in his complex personality. Self-centred, impulsive and neurotic, as Prime Minister he was crippled by insomnia and virtually had a nervous breakdown. After retiring from the Liberal Leadership in 1896, he became an increasingly solitary, brooding figure. Using a wealth of archival material, the author covers every aspect of Lord Rosebery's character and his life, including his devotion to horse-racing, his literary achievements and his anguished private life in widowhood.Through original research, he provides fresh insights into the man and his involvement in some of the most controversial episodes of the era, from the Jameson Raid to the trial of Oscar Wilde.
From the time of Nelson's death at Trafalgar to the opening of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park nearly fifty years later, London spread like a disease across the fields of Middlesex and Surrey. Foul and dangerous though it was to inhabit, in these decades London developed a new confidence in the intellectual purpose and lucrative promise of art, technology and science. This book is about the men and women who, through their genius and courage, luck and misfortune, anger and charm, put London at the cutting edge of cultural change. Theirs were the minds that moved the city that shook the world. They worked in basements and drawing rooms, in studios and museums, in learned societies and in the squalor of the debtors' prison. Charles Babbage created his calculating machines; John Martin devised a new system of clean water supply for London; John Mayall and Antoine Claudet perfected the daguerreotype; Michael Faraday harnessed electricity. They argued and fought, loved and envied, searched and dreamed, to convert the laws of nature into the purposes of life. Although it took fifty years to achieve maturity and direction, in the early decades of the nineteenth century London set itself on course to become the financial, entrepreneurial and intellectual capital of the world.
At the tawdry, extravagant heart of the Regency period -- nine scandalous, politically fascinating years from 1811 to 1820 -- lies the bitter mismatch between the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Prince Regent, later George IV, separated privately from Caroline of Brunswick within a year of their marriage in 1795. They remained separated until her death in 1821, but the mockery of their marriage resisted the most strenuous efforts to dissolve it. Barred from the Regent's court, Queen Caroline travelled through Europe with a small court of her own. Her story -- of a long, courageous fight by an extraordinary individual to see justice done in the face of overbearing authority -- is compellingly told by Flora Fraser. This astonishing book culminates with the Queen's trial in the House of Lords for adultery and exclusion from her bigamous husband's Coronation.
A fascinating insight into the life of the illustrious couple Lionel and Charlotte Rothschild who were blessed with great wealth and a powerful love but oppressed by dogmatic Victorian anti-semitism. Lionel and Charlotte's papers are a vivid snapshot of what it was like to be rich and famous - and different - in mid-Victorian life. With a cast of colourful characters, eminent historian, Stanley Weintraub, tells this as a compelling love story and family chronicle like no other. When Lionel de Rothschild, from the famous banking dynasty, wrote to his mother to thank her 'for my bride', he had just met his cousin Charlotte in Frankfurt. She was sixteen, and beautiful. An arranged family marriage joining two branches of Europe's most powerful banking firm, it seemed an unlikely love match. Yet it lasted through tragedies and triumphs, as Charlotte became one of the grand chatelaines of the Victorian era, while Lionel became England's leading financier, and the first of his faith to win a seat in Parliament. That dramatic campaign was a prolonged battle that, Charlotte wrote, was 'screaming about the house' for eleven years. Despite - perhaps because - of a surfeit of wealth, and her r
He was acknowledged to be a brilliant debater and parliamentarian, and is still England's first and only Jewish prime minister, but there was much more to Benjamin Disraeli than his career as a nineteenth-century politician. Dandy, novelist, social climber, he often behaved as if politics was merely a conduit to a more interesting life rather than an intellectual vocation. This new biography takes four areas of Disraeli's complex character and through them constructs an entirely new portrait of one of our most fascinating prime ministers. Exploring Disraeli's attitudes to society, the monarchy, his own sexuality and his innate political daring, William Kuhn rediscovers his irreverence and sheds new light on the man and his legacy. Drawing on primary sources and much original research, The "Politics of Pleasure" seeks to restore the core characteristic of humanity to someone who has long been judged merely another eminent but worthy Victorian. It also explores the game of politics as Disraeli saw it - the fun and pleasure of it, as a means of persuading the electorate to take an interest in a way that often seems lost today.
In the Sin City of London in the late eighteenth century, partying, whoring and gambling were endemic. Money ruled and anything went - for men. Women, in contrast, had everything to lose, starting with their reputations. Even so, not every woman was cowed by convention. Some, like beautiful Grace Dalrymple Elliott, brazenly did whatever they wished with whomever they pleased - and flourished brilliantly as a result. My Lady Scandalous recreates the life and fast times of one of the era's most colourful characters, who went from Edinburgh schoolgirl to Europe's most sought-after courtesan. Men competed for her favours even as her society doctor husband pursued a divorce. Grace became mistress to England's notorious Lord Cholmondeley and gave birth to a daughter, Georgiana (who may in fact have been the child of the Prince of Wales). Grace's liaison with France's richest man, Phillippe, Duc d'Orleans, proved perilous as d'Orleans fell to the Revolution's guillotine, just as Grace escaped with her life. details of Grace's life, from the journal published posthumously, with excerpts from contemporary newspapers, magazines, prints and portraits. My Lady Scandalous is a captivating portrait of this darling of kings and princes, an irresistibly unconventional woman whose story cannot fail to fascinate.
When Lionel de Rothschild, from the famous banking dynasty, wrote to his mother to thank her 'for my bride', he had just met his cousin Charlotte in Frankfurt. She was sixteen, and beautiful. An arranged family marriage joining two branches of Europe's most powerful banking firm, it seemed an unlikely love match. Yet it lasted through tragedies and triumphs, as Charlotte became one of the grand chatelaines of the Victorian era, while Lionel became England's leading financier, and the first of his faith to win a seat in Parliament. That dramatic campaign was a prolonged battle that, Charlotte wrote, was 'screaming about the house' for eleven years. Despite - perhaps because - of a surfeit of wealth, and her realization of what money could not buy, she concealed beneath a stubborn will and a sparkling wit an inner melancholy that only her great admirer (and Lionel's best friend) Benjamin Disraeli seemed to recognize. Love and money were the cardinal preoccupations in Victorian life, and the Rothschilds abundantly possessed both, as well as an iconic name. But life works in mysterious ways, often with mixed blessings. This is their enthralling story, told by one of the masterful biogr
Lytton Strachey's classic work "Eminent Victorians" was an assault on the Victorian Age and its values. In choosing four key figures, Cardinal Manning, Dr Arnold of Rugby, Florence Nightingale and General Gordon, Strachey conducted a masterly hatchet job on four key representatives of their age. His book was an instant best-seller and has been in print ever since. But now, the mood has changed. Victorian studies is booming. Scholars are looking again at the Victorian age and are reassessing some of its more notable figures. The text of "Eminent Victorians" is printed here in its entirety, but there are new critical afterwords by scholars demonstrating how lopsided was Strachey's judgement and representing his subjects in fresh light. David Newsome writes on Cardinal Manning; John Pollock on General Gordon; Terence Copley on Dr Arnold and Mark Bostridge on Florence Nightingale. Each has examined Strachey's own manuscript notes for his book and is an expert on recent scholarship. Textual notes and critical apparatus are also included along with many unusual and little known illustrations. Paul Levy, editor of Strachey's correspondence, writes the introduction and the book carries a foreword by the last of the great Bloomsbury Group, Frances Partridge.
Conceived as a showcase for Britain's burgeoning manufacturing industries and the exotic products of its Empire, the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace was Britain's first national spectacle. This book examines the story of how the exhibition came into being; the key characters who made it happen (from Prince Albert, who was credited with the idea, to Thomas Cook, whose cheap railway trips ensured its accessibility to all); and the tales behind the exhibitors and exhibits themselves, from the Koh-i-noor diamond to the more quirky inventions on display - Queen Victoria was very taken with a bed that physically ejected its occupant in the morning, for example. One quarter of the British population had visited the exhibition by its close; this is the story of how it fired the imagination of the era.
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