Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The Duchess

This is the kind of movie that would be worth seeing even with the sound turned off. The costumes are stunning, the hair is huge, and the buildings and interiors are an absolute pleasure. The movie is based on the book 'The Duchess' by Amanda Foreman, and is based on the the life of Georgiana Spencer (1757-1806), who became the Duchess of Devonshire. She was a very popular and fashion forward lady, and it-girl of her time.

"Another of Georgiana's innovations was the dropping ostrich feather, which she attached in a wide arch across the from of her hair. In April Lord Stormont, the British ambassador in Paris, presented her with one that was 4 foot long. Overnight it became the most important accessory in a lady's wardrobe..."

Excerpt from Amanda Foreman's 'Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire'.


The Lady's hair in this movie is also remarkable, and unmissable.

"Women's hair was already arranged high above the head but Georgiana took fashion a step further by creating a three foot hair tower. She stuck pads of horse hair on her own her using scented pomade and decorated the top with miniature ornaments."
Excerpt from Amanda Foreman's 'Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire'.


Parts of the movie are filmed at Chatsworth House, Althorp and Spencer House. Most noticeable are the marble hallways and staircases, flooded with light - the perfect background to set off the costumes and the drama. All of these place are open to the public and a visit would provide the perfect opportunity to basque in period glory. (Whilst not forgetting to be thankful that you are not a woman in the 18th Century).

© Chatsworth House Trust, photo by Gary Rogers

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