Lola Montez: The Fascinating Life of a Queen of Reinvention (1821-1861)

London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company, Portrait of Lola Montez, unknown date. Scottish National Portrait Gallery, PGP 837.28. Today I wanted to write about a female figure in history who completely fascinates me: Lola Montez. I first heard about Lola Montez in a song (a fantastic song you can find here) by Volbeat, and after listening…

Walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen in Hampshire

Even though I wax lyrical on every single platform about how much I love Jane Austen, I’ve never visited her house at Chawton or her grave in Winchester Cathedral – until this week. We went on a lovely trip to Hampshire and had a beautiful day (helped by the British sunshine) exploring Jane Austen’s House…

What women really thought about “Grand Tourists” in the eighteenth century…

A Caprice Landscape with Ruins, in the style of Bernardo Bellotto, 1740-1800, oil on canvas (National Gallery, London, NG 135) When reading about the eighteenth century and the treasures that came into the country house, it might seem a little bit like only young men were travelling to the continent to undertake the rite of…

Belton House: A Celebration of Creative Women

2018 is a special year in British Women’s History: it marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, when, for the first time, some women were eligible to vote. This moment in history has provided the opportunity for many heritage sites and organisations to reflect on the stories of women and their achievements:…

Dynastic Strategist, Architectural Patroness and Businesswoman: Bess of Hardwick

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury by Unknown Artist, probably 17th century based on a work c.1590, oil on canvas (on display Montacute House, NPG 203) Elizabeth Talbot, or, as she is more commonly known, Bess of Hardwick, was born into a Derbyshire gentry family that became increasingly impoverished and subjected her childhood to hardships, but…

A Venetian Palazzo in Boston: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

A museum created out of the pursuit of pleasure and left behind for public enjoyment and education. Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Museum in Boston is a really unique and wonderful place which arguably, almost a century since she died, Isabella still exerts a certain control over. When she left the museum behind, along with an endowment…

“C’est mon plaisir” – Isabella Stewart Gardner and her collection

Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent, 1888, oil on canvas (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum P30WI) Above the central portal to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is her motto: “C’est mon plaisir” (“it is my pleasure”) This sums up perfectly the collection housed at Fenway Court: a unique and beautiful museum created by a unique…