Portrait of Grace Elliot by Thomas Gainsborough, circa 1778 (in the Frick Collection)
|Died||16 May 1823 68–69) (aged|
|Burial place||Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris|
|Occupation||writer, courtesan, spy|
|Known for||mistress of the Louis Philip II, Duke of Orléans|
|Journal of my life during the French Revolution|
|Spouse(s)||Sir John Eliot (divorced)|
|Parent(s)||Grisel Craw (mother)|
Hew Dalrymple (father)
Grace Dalrymple Elliott (c. 1754 – 16 May 1823) was a Scottish courtesan, writer and spy resident in Paris during the French Revolution. She was an eyewitness to events detailed in her memoirs, Journal of my life during the French Revolution (Ma Vie sous la Révolution) published posthumously in 1859. She was mistress to the Duke of Orléans and to the future George IV, by whom she is said to have borne an illegitimate daughter. Elliott trafficked correspondence and hid French aristocrats escaping from the French Revolution. She was arrested several times but managed to avoid the guillotine, and was released after the death of Robespierre.
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.
Elliott was born probably in Edinburgh about 1754, the youngest daughter of Grisel Craw (died c. 1765) and Hew Dalrymple (died 1774), an Edinburgh advocate concerned in the great Douglas case. Her parents separated around the time of her birth, and she was most likely brought up at her grandparents house.
Captain Hew Dalrymple, sometimes spelt Hugh was a Scottish advocate and poet who served as Attorney General of Grenada.
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.
An advocate is a professional or non-Professional in the field of law. Different countries' legal systems use the term with somewhat differing meanings. The broad equivalent in many English law-based jurisdictions could be a barrister or a solicitor. However, in Scottish, South African, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian, Polish, South Asian and South American jurisdictions, "advocate" indicates a lawyer of superior classification.
She was educated in a French convent, and on her return to Scotland, was introduced by her father into Edinburgh society. Her beauty made such an impression on John Elliott, a prominent and wealthy physician, that he made her an offer of marriage in 1771. She accepted, although Elliott was some 20 years her senior. They were married on 19 October 1771 in London. The couple entered fashionable society, but eventually grew apart due to their difference in age and interests.In 1774 Elliott met and fell in love with Lord Valentia, with whom she entered into an affair. Convinced of his wife's infidelity, John Elliott had the couple followed and eventually sued Valentia for criminal conversation (adultery). He received £12,000 in damages before successfully obtaining a divorce.
Arthur Annesley, 1st Earl of Mountnorris FRS was an Irish peer.
At common law, criminal conversation, commonly known as crim. con., is a tort arising from adultery, abolished in almost all jurisdictions.
With her social reputation destroyed, Elliott became recognised as a member of the demimonde and forced to earn her living as a professional mistress or courtesan. She was then taken by her brother to a French convent, but she seems to have been brought back almost immediately by Lord Cholmondeley, who became her lover and remained one of her principal protectors throughout her life.
Demi-monde refers to a group of people who live hedonistic lifestyles, usually in a flagrant and conspicuous manner. The term was commonly used in Europe from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, and contemporary use has an anachronistic character. Its connotations of pleasure-seeking often contrasted with wealth and ruling class behavior.
A courtesan, in modern usage, is a euphemism meaning a escort, mistress or a prostitute, for whom the art of dignified etiquette is the means of attracting wealthy, powerful, or influential clients. The term originally meant a courtier, a person who attends the court of a monarch or other powerful person.
George James Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley, styled Viscount Malpas between 1764 and 1770 and known as The Earl of Cholmondeley between 1770 and 1815, was a British peer and politician.
Having met Lord Cholmondeley at the Pantheon in 1776, she began a liaison with him that lasted for three years. Thomas Gainsborough painted a portrait of her in 1778, which is in the Frick Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1782, she had a short, concealed intrigue with the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV) and gave birth to a daughter on 30 March 1782, who was baptised at St Marylebone as Georgiana Augusta Frederica Seymour (d. 1813) but used the name Georgina Seymour.
Thomas Gainsborough FRSA was an English portrait and landscape painter, draughtsman, and printmaker. Along with his bitter rival Sir Joshua Reynolds, he is considered one of the most important British portrait artists of the second half of the 18th century. He painted quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterised by a light palette and easy strokes. Despite being a prolific portrait painter, Gainsborough gained greater satisfaction from his landscapes. He is credited as the originator of the 18th-century British landscape school. Gainsborough was a founding member of the Royal Academy.
The Frick Collection is an art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side in Manhattan, New York City at 1 East 70th Street, at the northeast corner with Fifth Avenue. It houses the collection of industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 7.3 million visitors to its three locations in 2016, it was the fourth most visited art museum in the world, and the fifth most visited museum of any kind. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; it extends the museum's modern and contemporary art program.
Elliott declared that the Prince was the father of her child and The Morning Post stated in January 1782 that he admitted responsibility. However, the child was dark in complexion, and when she was first shown to the Prince, he is said to have remarked, "To convince me that this is my girl they must first prove that black is white."[ citation needed ]
The Morning Post was a conservative daily newspaper published in London from 1772 to 1937, when it was acquired by The Daily Telegraph.
The Prince and many others regarded Lord Cholmondeley as the father of the girl, although the Prince's friends said that Charles William Wyndham (brother of Lord Egremont), whom she was thought to resemble, claimed paternity. Yet others thought she might have been fathered by George Selwyn. Lord Cholmondeley brought up the girl, and after her early death in 1813, looked after her only child.
George, Prince of Wales, introduced her to the French Duke of Orleans in 1784 and by 1786, she had permanently set up residence in Paris and become one of Orleans' recognised mistresses. In exchange for her companionship, the Duke granted her a home on the Rue Miromesnil and a property in Meudon, to the south of Paris. During this period Elliott also pursued liaisons with the Duke de Fitz-James and the Prince of Conde.
Much of what is known about Elliot's life in France is recorded in her memoirs, Journal of my life during the French Revolution. Although there are a number of inconsistencies in her account, her work has become one of the best-known English-language accounts of The Terror, documenting the movements of the Duke of Orleans and those within his aristocratic Jacobin circle at the Palais-Royal. During her life in Paris, Elliott witnessed the horror of the September Massacres and the body of the Princess de Lamballe carried through the streets. Although Elliott was an associate of the Duke of Orleans (who later took the name Philippe Égalité), her royalist sympathies soon became widely known throughout her district, and her home was frequently searched. It has been recently shown that Elliott was trafficking correspondence on behalf of the British government and assisting in the transportation of messages between Paris and members of the exiled French court in Coblenz and in Belgium.
Elliott several times risked her life to assist and hide aristocrats pursued by the Revolutionary government. Shortly after the Assault on the Tuileries Palace, on 10 August 1792, Elliott hid the injured Marquis de Champcentz by physically carrying him to her house on the Rue Miromesnil at great risk. During a search of her home, she placed him between the mattresses of her bed and feigned illness. On another occasion, Elliott agreed to take in and hide at her home in Meudon Madame de Perigord and her two children, who were attempting to flee to England. She helped to arrange false travel documents for several people wishing to escape the Revolution. After hiding Champcentz in the attic of her home in Meudon, she managed to fix his passage out of France. In the spring of 1793, however, she was arrested and imprisoned and spent the rest of the Terror in prisons, including the Recollets and the Carmes, where she claims to have met Joséphine de Beauharnais, although this has been questioned by historians. Her writings detail her harrowing prison experiences, the violent coercion she experienced, and the illness and deprivation endured by her fellow prisoners.
Although many of her friends met their deaths, including Madame du Barry, Elliott did not. She narrowly avoided death and was released after the Reign of Terror came to an end, not before she had been confined in a total to four different prisons by the Republican government. In later years, there were rumours that she had an attachment with Napoleon Bonaparte, but had rejected his offer of marriage. She died a wealthy woman at Ville d'Avray, in present-day Hauts-de-Seine, in May 1823, while a lodger with the commune's mayor.
She was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.
A dramatic portrayal of part of her life is contained in the 2001 film The Lady and the Duke . English actress Lucy Russell played Elliott and Jean-Claude Dreyfus played the Duke of Orleans.
Grace Elliott also appears as a major character in Hallie Rubenhold's novel The French Lesson (Doubleday, 2016).
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was a member of the royal family of France and served as Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723. Born at his father's palace at Saint-Cloud, he was known from birth under the title of Duke of Chartres. His father was Louis XIV's younger brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, his mother was Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate.
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, most commonly known as Philippe, was born at the Château de Saint-Cloud. He received the title of Duke of Montpensier at birth, then that of Duke of Chartres at the death of his grandfather, Louis d'Orléans, in 1752. At the death of his father, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, in 1785, he inherited the title of Duke of Orléans and also became the Premier prince du sang, title attributed to the Prince of the Blood closest to the throne after the Sons and Grandsons of France. He was addressed as Son Altesse Sérénissime (S.A.S.).
Charlotte-Jeanne Béraud de La Haye de Riou was a mistress to Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans, and ultimately, his wife; however, Louis XV would not allow her to become the Duchess. She wrote and acted in several plays. She is known simply as Madame de Montesson.
Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily was a French queen by marriage to Louis Philippe I, King of the French.
Louis Joseph de Bourbon was Prince of Condé from 1740 to his death. A member of the House of Bourbon, he held the prestigious rank of Prince du Sang.
Louis Henri Joseph de Bourbon or Louis Henri II, Prince of Condé was the Prince of Condé from 1818 to his death. He was the brother-in-law of Philippe Égalité and nephew of Victoire de Rohan.
John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset, KG was the only son of Lord John Philip Sackville, second son of Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset. He succeeded to the dukedom in 1769 on the death of his uncle, Charles Sackville, 2nd Duke of Dorset. He was the British Ambassador to France between 1783 and 1789 in the lead up to the French Revolution.
The 4th House of Orléans, sometimes called the House of Bourbon-Orléans to distinguish it, is the fourth holder of a surname previously used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. The house was founded by Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger son of king Louis XIII and younger brother of king Louis XIV, the "Sun King".
Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Duchess of Orléans, was the daughter of Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre and of Princess Maria Theresa Felicitas of Modena. At the death of her brother, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre, prince de Lamballe, she became the wealthiest heiress in France prior to the French Revolution. She married Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, the "regicide" Philippe Égalité, and was the mother of France's last king, Louis Philippe I, King of the French. She was sister-in-law to the princesse de Lamballe, and was the last member of the Bourbon-Penthièvre family.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lord William Charles Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck, known as Lord Charles Bentinck, was a British soldier and politician and a great-great-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.
Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans, was the Duchess of Modena and Reggio by marriage. She was the third daughter of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, and of his wife, Françoise-Marie de Bourbon. She was born a princesse du sang. When a married woman, she had ten children.
Louise Henriette de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Conti at birth, was a French princess, who, by marriage, became Duchess of Chartres (1743–1752), then Duchess of Orléans (1752–1759) upon the death of her father-in-law. On 4 February 1752, her husband became the head of the House of Orléans, and the First Prince of the Blood, the most important personage after the immediate members of the royal family.
Bathilde d'Orléans was a French princess of the blood of the House of Orléans. She was sister of Philippe Égalité, the mother of the executed Duke of Enghien and aunt of Louis Philippe I, King of the French. Married to the young Duke of Enghien, a distant cousin, she was always known as the Duchess of Bourbon following the birth of her son. She was known as Citoyenne Vérité during the French Revolution.
Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Légitimée de France was the eldest surviving legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan. She was said to have been named after her godmother, Louise de La Vallière, the woman that her mother had replaced as the king's mistress. Prior to her marriage, she was known at court as Mademoiselle de Nantes.
The Royal Chapel of Dreux situated in Dreux, France, is the traditional burial place of members of the House of Orléans. It is an important early building in the French adoption of Gothic Revival architecture, despite being topped by a dome. Starting in 1828, Alexandre Brogniart, the director of the Sèvres porcelain manufactory, produced fired enamel paintings on large panes of plate glass, for King Louis-Philippe, an important early French commission in Gothic taste, preceded mainly by some Gothic features in a few jardins paysagers.
Georgiana Charlotte Cholmondeley, Marchioness of Cholmondeley, formerly Lady Georgiana Charlotte Bertie, was the wife of George Cholmondeley, 1st Marquess of Cholmondeley.
Harriet Cholmondeley, sometimes called "Lady" or "The Hon" Harriet Cholmondeley, was the first wife of John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham.