Category Archives: Peerage

How to Win against History

A chamber spectacular about the wondrous Henry Cyril Paget

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How to Win against History

A chamber spectacular about the wondrous Henry Cyril Paget

Dress-down Friday: Henry Cyril Paget

Paget took the British tradition of aristocratic eccentricity down a back alley and gave it the zhooshing of a lifetime, his extravagant tastes and extraordinary performances setting standards for camp profligacy which have rarely been matched since.

Dress-down Friday: Henry Cyril Paget

Paget took the British tradition of aristocratic eccentricity down a back alley and gave it the zhooshing of a lifetime, his extravagant tastes and extraordinary performances setting standards for camp profligacy which have rarely been matched since.

Fragments

“I watched the pale evening cast her olive veil/Over the fields and woodlands of the sea…”.

Fragments

“I watched the pale evening cast her olive veil/Over the fields and woodlands of the sea…”.

From the cradle to the grave

“Sleep on, my poor child, sleep;/Why must thou wake again?/Thou art but born into a world of woe,/Of agony, unending, deep,/Of long-protracted pain…”

From the cradle to the grave

“Sleep on, my poor child, sleep;/Why must thou wake again?/Thou art but born into a world of woe,/Of agony, unending, deep,/Of long-protracted pain…”

Potocki de Montalk in verse

“And a little boat with lights green, yellow and red,/Is turned into a magical Chinese/Duck, whose long wake is/A right-triangle…”

Potocki de Montalk in verse

“And a little boat with lights green, yellow and red,/Is turned into a magical Chinese/Duck, whose long wake is/A right-triangle…”

Peer to peer

“The theatre was darkened. There was a roll on the drums and the curtain went up on Lord Anglesey clad in a white silk tunic, a huge diamond tiara on his head, glittering with necklaces, brooches, bracelets and rings. He stood there for a few minutes motionless…”

Peer to peer

“The theatre was darkened. There was a roll on the drums and the curtain went up on Lord Anglesey clad in a white silk tunic, a huge diamond tiara on his head, glittering with necklaces, brooches, bracelets and rings. He stood there for a few minutes motionless…”

The hands of Robert de Montesquiou

Montesquiou’s hands — slim, pale, elegant, well-dressed — were the count himself in manicured microcosm. Portraitists, photographers and caricaturists were all drawn to the expressive richness of the long, tapering fingers, whether adorned with rings, gloves, or nothing but perfumed air.

The hands of Robert de Montesquiou

Montesquiou’s hands — slim, pale, elegant, well-dressed — were the count himself in manicured microcosm. Portraitists, photographers and caricaturists were all drawn to the expressive richness of the long, tapering fingers, whether adorned with rings, gloves, or nothing but perfumed air.

The Marquis

Among the guests at the 18th century-themed ball were “50 princes, 35 marquesses, 95 counts, 20 dukes”, a collision of cluelessness and noblesse of a kind not seen since Louis XVI opened his Filofax on 14 July 1789 and jotted down “rien”.

The Marquis

Among the guests at the 18th century-themed ball were “50 princes, 35 marquesses, 95 counts, 20 dukes”, a collision of cluelessness and noblesse of a kind not seen since Louis XVI opened his Filofax on 14 July 1789 and jotted down “rien”.

The Baron

When Carl Theodor Dreyer’s film Vampyr premiered in Berlin 80 years ago, audiences jeered and a contemporary review noted, among other unfavourable comments, that the vampire theme was already passé.

The Baron

When Carl Theodor Dreyer’s film Vampyr premiered in Berlin 80 years ago, audiences jeered and a contemporary review noted, among other unfavourable comments, that the vampire theme was already passé.

Catching up

Body Sweats, a collection of writings by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, is a capital B capital D Big Deal in the shadow world of Strange Flowers. I’ve leafed through 2011’s back pages to see what else I’ve missed (or in some cases, forgotten) of the year’s books.

Catching up

Body Sweats, a collection of writings by Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, is a capital B capital D Big Deal in the shadow world of Strange Flowers. I’ve leafed through 2011’s back pages to see what else I’ve missed (or in some cases, forgotten) of the year’s books.

Death of a shrinking violet

There are those who turn their lives into their greatest work. Theodore Wratislaw was not among them. It wasn’t premature death, prison or drugs which claimed Wratislaw after his last volume of verse in 1896. It was the civil service…

Death of a shrinking violet

There are those who turn their lives into their greatest work. Theodore Wratislaw was not among them. It wasn’t premature death, prison or drugs which claimed Wratislaw after his last volume of verse in 1896. It was the civil service…

D’Orsay the artist

Comte d’Orsay combined physical beauty, sparkling wit, the magnetic amour-propre of the dandy as well as a dangerous whiff of Napoleonic adventure and a pre-Revolutionary title, both bequeathed by his general father. It was a heady brew and society fell at his exquisitely-shod feet.

D’Orsay the artist

Comte d’Orsay combined physical beauty, sparkling wit, the magnetic amour-propre of the dandy as well as a dangerous whiff of Napoleonic adventure and a pre-Revolutionary title, both bequeathed by his general father. It was a heady brew and society fell at his exquisitely-shod feet.

Everything all the time

Along with hope and passion came the constant buzzkill of hard-scrabble day-to-day existence. A map showing Reventlow’s various residences in and around Schwabing is as eloquent as any chronicle of this time – it shows no less than 26 different addresses.

Everything all the time

Along with hope and passion came the constant buzzkill of hard-scrabble day-to-day existence. A map showing Reventlow’s various residences in and around Schwabing is as eloquent as any chronicle of this time – it shows no less than 26 different addresses.

The last Krupp

The Krupp family, rich and powerful as many a nation state, exemplified the poisoned chalice of vast inherited wealth more than any other: the Gettys go gothic.

The last Krupp

The Krupp family, rich and powerful as many a nation state, exemplified the poisoned chalice of vast inherited wealth more than any other: the Gettys go gothic.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

The double life of Evan Morgan

He was an occultist, yet chamberlain to two popes; gay, yet husband to two women. He was a friend to Augustus John, john to Denham Fouts, bogey-man to the Establishment. He mixed with royalty and rabble, and there was a Jekyll-and-Hyde polarity within his own personality.

Sashay shantay épée

The point of honour which prompted the duel was a dispute over Cuevas’s staging of one of Lifar’s ballets. Why a piece of overblown shop-talk should demand satisfaction is unclear, but there was a theatrical element to the entire episode.

Sashay shantay épée

The point of honour which prompted the duel was a dispute over Cuevas’s staging of one of Lifar’s ballets. Why a piece of overblown shop-talk should demand satisfaction is unclear, but there was a theatrical element to the entire episode.

Last splendour

Felix Yusupov, you may recall, was the fabulously wealthy cross-dressing Russian prince involved in the plot to kill Rasputin. This interview records – to the best of my knowledge – the only time he ever spoke on film.

Last splendour

Felix Yusupov, you may recall, was the fabulously wealthy cross-dressing Russian prince involved in the plot to kill Rasputin. This interview records – to the best of my knowledge – the only time he ever spoke on film.

“A huge old baby vulture”

“Eccentricity is not […] a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.”

“A huge old baby vulture”

“Eccentricity is not […] a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd.”

Prince of tides

Although better known in his lifetime as a writer and adventurer, Pückler-Muskau saw the Saxon park as his greatest monument. It was an expression of his lifetime passion for landscape gardening, into which he poured his entire fortune.

Prince of tides

Although better known in his lifetime as a writer and adventurer, Pückler-Muskau saw the Saxon park as his greatest monument. It was an expression of his lifetime passion for landscape gardening, into which he poured his entire fortune.

Benevolent deity

Rolfe became the archetype of a semi-forgotten literary character, stuffed, labelled and musty in the glass cases of the antiquarian, lauded by a small but fervent group of admirers. It is no coincidence that his three major biographers to date have been bibliophiles.

Benevolent deity

Rolfe became the archetype of a semi-forgotten literary character, stuffed, labelled and musty in the glass cases of the antiquarian, lauded by a small but fervent group of admirers. It is no coincidence that his three major biographers to date have been bibliophiles.