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Lafayette L1532
Neg. Date: 18-08-1897

copyright V&A


Consuelo, Duchess of Manchester, née Yznaga del Valle (d. 1909), daughter of Don Antonio Yznaga del Valle (of Ravenswood, USA & of Cuba).

Married in 1876 to the 8th Duke of Manchester, the daughter of a wealthy American, Consuelo (along with her namesake and goddaughter Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough) was one of the first in a new phenomenon in British society – that of newly impoverished aristocrats marrying new American money. Beautiful and rich, the two Consuelos along with Lady Randolph Churchill and a few others were great hostesses and represented the American element of the Prince of Wales’s (later King Edward VII) set.

Daisy stayed with the Duchess at Cowes Week in August 1906. Of this visit she recalled the time King Edward, trying to make a private and unannounced visit, took an equerry and a cab to the wrong address where he hammered on the door and demanded, as King, to be allowed in to play bridge with the Duchess of Manchester – whereupon the two startled old ladies who lived in the house threatened to call the police.

For the Devonshire House Ball of 1897, the Duchess’s costume was various described as Anne of Austria/Margaret of Orleans/Margaret of Orleans Period/Visitor to the Court of Savoia.  Her hair-style and costume appear to be closely based upon the van Dyck-style costume of the 1630s with slashed sleeves, falling lace collar and square neckline, which JP Worth had designed for the American soprano, Emma Eames, in Emil Bach’s opera The Lady of Longford, produced at Covent Garden in 1894

This image, made six weeks after the ball, was published in The Lady’s Pictorial.