You teach your daughters the diameters of the planets and wonder when you are done that they do not delight in your company… Samuel Johnson


Improper pursuits : the scandalous life of an earlier Lady Diana Spencer New York : St. Martin’s Press, 2002 Carola Hicks  Hardcover. 1st U.S. ed. and printing. vii, 404 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 371-381) and index.Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Calling her action improper pursuits to Boswell, Samuel Johnson dismissed Lady Di Beauclerk, the wife of one of his closest friends, a woman of the highest rank, the daughter of a duke, who had forsaken her reputation, her place in society, her children, and her role as lady-in-waiting to the Queen for love.

Born Lady Diana Spencer in 1735, the eldest child of the third Duke of Marlborough, she was expected rigidly to follow a traditional path through life: educated in the fashion considered suitable for a girl, and married to a man of the appropriate rank for a duke’s daughter. But finding herself in a desperately unhappy marriage to Viscount Bolingbroke, Lady Di overturned convention. She left her husband, maintained a secret relationship with her lover, Topham Beauclerk, hid the birth of an illegitimate child, and eventually helped to support herself by painting.

Lady Di Beauclerk was a highly gifted artist who was able to use her scandalous reputation as an adulteress and aristocratic woman to further her career as a painter and designer. She painted portraits, illustrated plays and books, provided designs for Wedgwood‘s innovative pottery, and decorated rooms with murals. Championed by her close friend Horace Walpole, whose letters illuminate all aspects of her life, she was able to establish herself as an admired artist at a time when women struggled to forge careers.

 

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