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Beatrix Jane, Countess Cadogan
née Craven

as Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia

The daughter of an earl and married to an earl, Countess Cadogan was a leader of London Society and a great political hostess. In 1895 her husband was appointed Viceroy of Ireland and during her period as Vicereine "she was at the centre... of every possible good work, hospital nursing associations, and the industrial development of the country."

Imposing as she may seem, she was said to be the life and soul of her own home life and "a most devoted mother and grandmother."

Elizabeth of Bohemia was the eldest daughter of King James I of England. Married to Frederick III the future Bohemian "Winter King" of short duration (1619-20) she spent twenty years in exile after Frederick was ejected from the throne. Elizabeth eventually returned to England and stayed at the London house of 1st Earl Craven, the countess's direct ancestor.

Even though Countess Cadogan's father had a portrait of Gerard Honthorst's "Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia" in his collection, for the Ball, the Countess appears to have copied her costume from a portrait of Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, also by Honthorst and at the time in collection in the Netherlands.

Countess Cadogan wears a black velvet gown. The plain bodice has large puffed sleeves and ruffles of lace, and a large Vandyke lace collar. Two rows of pearls go around her waist with more rows festooning the bodice and mirroring exactly the "fortune in pearls on her breast" in the Honthorst painting.

This image was made in the Lafayette studio almost three weeks after the Ball.


Negative number: V&A L1482, 22-07-1897