Classic Beauty: Mistresses (2)

The first in this series generated an interesting response from Readers in Comments, and I have to make a couple points before we look at the next one.

Firstly, verisimilitude:  it is extraordinarily difficult to recreate the human face in a drawing or painting.  A glance at any judicial court artist’s work should suffice, or those of the guys you see at state fairs who promise to render a decent portrait of your kids / girlfriend / wife.  Most fail, abjectly, at the task.  Portrait painters of yore were probably little different.

Several people commented on the beauty (or lack thereof) of the women;  but even taking the above into account, we have to remember two things:  beauty, as one Reader pointed out, is defined differently in different eras.  What was considered “handsome” in Edwardian times would have been regarded in the 1920s “flapper” period as horribly overweight, whereas few men of Edwardian times would have looked with favor on those skinny, flat-chested flappers, who were clearly wasting away and not capable of producing heirs.

What we have to assume, therefore, is that the mistresses of kings were probably far more attractive (especially to the kings) than as depicted.  It might also be that the women had attractions that had nothing to do with beauty:  witty, waspish, skilled exponents of soixante-neuf, who knows?  What they were was different to the various queens, very available (women are attracted to powerful men) and that’s probably all that it took.

Anyway, having mentioned the Edwardian era, let’s look at the first of the Edwards (Edward VII of Great Britain, after whom the 1902-1910 era was named), who was a renowned ladies’ man of prodigious sexual appetite.  Here are but some of his bedmates:

Alice Keppel

Interestingly enough, Mrs. Keppel is the great-grandmother of the current Queen Camilla, herself the one-time mistress of Charles, Prince of Wales (and now King Charles III), and himself the great-great grandson of Edward VII.

Got all that?  There will be a test.  Next:

Daisy, Countess Warwick

Jennie, Lady Spencer- Churchill

...Winston’s mum.

Then the actresses, among whom were:

Sarah Bernhardt

…the Divine Sarah.

Lillie Langtry

Hortense Schneider

Moving along to the next Edward (VIII), who was famous, of course, for renouncing the throne because he was besotted with a married (later divorced) woman, one

Wallis Simpson

However, our “David” (his family name) had been a very busy boy before Mrs. Simpson ever came on the scene, to wit:

Freda Dudley Ward

...who was, by the way, the first married woman he wanted to marry.

Marguerite Alibert

This French totty later shot and killed her husband, so he really could be said to have dodged a bullet hereAny man of experience can see that Teh Crazy is strong with this one.

Thelma, Countess Furness

and, it was rumored, with her twin sister as well.

Sporting lot, these British kings.  In the next of this series, we’ll go a little further back down the line, and this time, to the French guys.

Classic Beauty: Hayley Mills

One of the several ingenue actresses of the era, Hayley Mills was always too much the “girl next door”, despite having all the attributes, because everyone around her nurtured and maintained the image (like they did with Julie Andrews) — and not the least because her father wouldn’t let her play the title role in Lolita.

That’s not to say she wasn’t beautiful, both as a young girl and then a teenager.

And in color:

And surprise surprise, she turned out to be a gorgeous older woman, too.

That was her in her sixties, and not in the Sixties.


Finally, Autumn

Our temperatures here in north Texas will finally (!) be seasonally adjusted this week from Broil to Simmer and finally, Acceptable:

(I left the silly Celsius things there for the benefit of my Furrin Readers)

My laptop’s wallpaper reflects that mood, although fall in Texas is never that pretty:

(right-click to embiggen and save)

I don’t know where that is;  my instincts say New Hampshire because of the granitic boulders, but I’ll be persuaded otherwise.