|Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Alfred, Count D'Orsay|
Whilst the Duke of Wellington approved of elegance and was himself known as "the Beau," he felt obliged to advise his splendidly uniformed Grenadier Guards that their behavior was "not only ridiculous but unmilitary" when they rode into battle on a rainy day with their umbrellas raised. A dandy Wellington was not. Odd, then, that one of the pictures of himself that Wellington liked most was one done by one of the greatest dandies of his day - Count D'Orsay. D'Orsay sketched the Duke in profile (above), in evening dress, and the Duke is said to have rather liked the picture, because it "made him look like a gentleman."
Count Albert Guillaume d’Orsay, the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, and descended by a morganatic marriage from the King of Wurttemburg was himself a gentleman in every sense, and his courtesy was of the highest kind. At the balls given by his regiment, although he was more courted than any other officer, he always sought out the plainest girls and showed them the most flattering attentions. During his firsts visit to London, Count d’Orsay was invited once or twice to receptions given by the Earl and Countess of Blessington, where he was well received, though this was only an incident of his English sojourn. Before the story proceeds any further it is necessary to give an account of the Earl and of Lady Blessington, since both of their careers had been, to say the least, unusual.
But once again I digress. Suffice it to say that eventually Lady Blessington and the Count set up a home together, both in London, at Gore House, and in Paris, where Lady Blessington died. Upon her death, andbefore when they found themselves in straightened financial waters, the Count drew upon his artistic talents, both in painting and sculpture, in order to earn money. Whatever one thought about the Count personally, no one could deny his artistic talent. D'Orsay would go on to produce a painting of Gore House, of which I can find no image to use here. Instead, I give you a comtemporary print of Gore House -
Labels: Artists, Duke of Wellington, Kristine Hughes