Lady Archibald Campbell
as "Artemis, Goddess of the Chase"
Orphaned at the age of four, Lady Archie (as she was usually called) become a ward of the 8th Duke of Argyll and was brought up at Inveraray Castle in Scotland. In 1869 she married the duke's second son, Lord Archibald Campbell. They shared an interest in the occult and in West Highland lore, on which both published articles. They were enthusiastic ice-skaters, and Lady Archie was also a keen and early lady cyclist.
After moving to London in 1870s, they entered the capital's artistic elite and befriended the great American painter James Whistler. He made a number of portraits of the renowned beauty, Lady Campbell, of which the Arrangement in Black: La Dame au brodequin jaune (now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) is the most famous. The other, Note in Green and Brown: Orlando at Coombe (now at Glasgow's Hunterian Art Gallery) depicts her as Orlando in Shakespeare's As You Like It - one of the 'pastoral plays' she staged, directed and starred in during the 1880s. These early open-air productions brought her fame and a lasting legacy in the history of theatre.
For the Ball, as Artemis, the Greek goddess of the Chase - known by the Romans as Diana - she wears a Greek tragedienne costume much seen in photographs of late Victorian actresses, consisting of a peplum of very pale green crêpe hand embroidered in silver round the hem with a Greek scroll pattern. The outer scarf of gauze, falling in multitudinous folds, was intended to reflect mysterious moonlight tints, partly green, partly blue. The quiver, made of ash wood, contained silver-shafted arrows, and she carried a green unstrung bow. On her head beamed the huntress goddess's own symbol - a crescent moon of mother-of-pearl lit by electric light.
Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
Ben Johnson (1572-1637), Hymn to Diana
Negative number: V&A L1357, 03-07-1897