Beatrix Jane, Countess Cadogan,
née Craven (1844-1907),
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.

Countess Cadogan’s father owned a portrait of Gerard Honthorst’s “Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia” in his collection, but her costume for the Ball appears to be more closely on a version (c. 1630) owned at the time by the Earl of Romney.

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.



Click on image to enlarge
copyright V&A. Lady Ashburton 1897V&A Lafayette Archive
Negative number: L1482


copyright V&A. Lady Ashburton 1897
Gerard Honthorst’s “Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia”.

copyright V&A. Lady Ashburton 1897
The Countess photographed in peeress's robes by Lafayette for The Lady's Realm, 1897




List of Sitters
All text copyright © Russell Harris 2011