Edward George Villiers Stanley,
later 17th Earl of Derby (1865-1948),
"a Grenadier Guards Officer 1660", and
Mabel Susan, Baroness St. Oswald,
née Forbes (d. 1919),
"a Venetian lady of the 16th Century"

The heir to huge estates in the north of England and a matching income, the future ambassador to Paris was still a subaltern in the Grenadier Guards in 1897. The future earl was remembered by history as a great statesman who was “at ease equally with a bishop or a bookmaker”.

His costume appears to be a very close copy of the Full Dress Uniform of an Officer, The Kings or Royal Regiment of Guards 1660 as depicted in FW Hamilton’s The History of the Grenadier Guards:“State coat of scarlet cloth, trimmed gold, with shoulder knot; white silk throat bow, trimmed with lace; Parade Armour consisting of breast plate and back plate, decorated with heavy gilt; baldric belt with heavy gold lacing; block-heeled shoes with silk bows; gauntlets; wide-brimmed felt hat, with heavy lace band round brim and ostrich plumes.”

The costume of Lady St. Oswald (sister of Mrs. Willie James), which was made by Monsieur Alias of London, caused some confusion in the press which described her variously as a Venetian Lady of the XVIth century and a Florentine lady of the XIVth century! For this she wore a costume consisting of an under robe of old blue brocaded velvet, an overdress of the white crêpe de chine, very elaborately embroidered with silver, with appliqué of blue satin and cabochons of pearls.

To my true king I offer'd free from stain Courage and faith;
vain faith, and courage vain.
Thomas Babington Macaulay, A Jacobite's Epitaph


Click on image to enlarge
copyright V&A. Lady Ashburton 1897V&A Lafayette Archive
Negative number: L1450


copyright V&A. Lady Ashburton 1897
V&A Lafayette Archive
Negative number: L1378


List of Sitters
All text copyright © Russell Harris 2011