D ORSAY Alfred Count - Autograph Letter Signed 1848 mentioning Lady Blessington
Alfred, Count D’ORSAY (1801-1852)
Autograph Letter Signed (“A d’Orsay”) to an unnamed correspondent, probably an art publisher, 1 page 8vo on gilt-edged paper with integral blank leaf, Gore House [Kensington], 30 August 1848.
“I think that you will find that I have much improved the likeness. Lady Blessington and the Misses Power [evidently relatives of Lady Blessington, whose maiden name was Power] are of this opinion – I hope that you will let me have a few copies of it, when printed. Lord Chesterfield gave me an engraving from Mr. Clive’s picture which I find admirable.”
Count D’Orsay, the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, made his home in England in the early 1820’s. Very good-looking and an artist of minor but genuine talent, he was a friend of Dickens, Disraeli, Thackeray, and the the exiled Louis Napoleon. His ménage a trois with the beautiful Margaret, Lady Blessington and her husband gave rise to great scandal, a scandal only intensified by his unconsummated marriage to Margaret’s stepdaughter Harriet. In 1849, a year after the date of this letter, his extravagance and debts forced him to flee to France. His friend Disraeli based the character of Count Alcibiades de Mirabel in his novel Henrietta Temple on D’Orsay.
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