Friday, April 17, 2009

Georgiana's Children

Georgiana and Little G by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and her husband had three children who lived to adulthood:

The Bachelor Duke

Georgiana's son, the bachelor duke, was a collector who became friendly with the sculptor, Canova, and attained many of his best sculptures. These sculptures and others were shown in the last movie version of Pride and Prejudice.

He was also friendly with Joseph Paxton, who built the Emperor Fountain which is the highest gravity-fed fountain in the world.

Some thought that the duke may have been gay because of his close friendships with men but there is no evidence for this.

Little G

Her daughter, Georgiana, married George Howard, Earl of Calisle and had twelve children. It was apparently a very happy marriage.


Harriet, usually called Harryo, wrote very interesting letters. Some of these are quoted in Amanda Foreman's book.

She married the much older Lord Granville Leveson Gower, who had had an affair with her aunt, Harriet, and two illegitimate children with her! Leveson Gower (pronounced lesson gore, I think) was apparently considered the handsomest man in Regency England. He confessed everything to Harryo before their marriage and insisted on retaining his friendship with her aunt. Harryo loved her aunt, of course, and knew that the affair was over so she accepted these terms. She also brought up the illegitimate children, showing that she inherited her mother's generous nature.

There is more about the children at Georgiana's Guide to the Eighteenth Century

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