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JORDAN Dorothea - Autograph Letter Signed 1805 from the celebrated actress

  • £450.00

Dorothea JORDAN (1761-1816)

Autograph Letter Signed (“D Jordan”) to Miss Downs expressing her concern for “the poor little girl” and desire to help “promote the interest . . . of the Boy”.

3 pages 4to with integral blank leaf, Bushy House, “Sunday” [postmarked 25 March 1805].

Having been taken dangerously ill on the 3rd day after my delivery, and continuing so, until a few days ago – I was not suffered to open a letter or to attend to any thing like business before yesterday, I therefore only yesterday received your letters, both together. I lament with you the situation of the poor little girl – and shall do every thing in my power to promote the interest & wishes of the Boy – as soon as I am able I will consult some respectable medical person with regard to the Boy, - I should have been happy to have seen the children but trust to your goodness under these circumstances for your acquitance of any … towards the poor children – have the goodness to let me have your address when you leave Portland Place, and at the same time excuse this scrawl as I really am barely able to hold a pen. . .”

The child whose birth had caused Dorothea Jordan’s illness was Augustus, the last son and penultimate of her ten children by the Duke of Clarence, later William IV. Intelligent, charming and an excellent comic actress, Mrs. Jordan excelled in breeches roles, such as Rosalind in As You Like It, in spite of the inconvenience of her numerous pregnancies. She and William enjoyed a happy domestic life together for twenty years, before a combination of debts and the urgent need for a legitimate eventual heir to the throne forced him to find suitable wife. Dorothea was left with a suitable financial settlement, but this was withdrawn when she returned briefly to the stage, and she suffered the fate of other impoverished mistresses, dying in straightened circumstances in France.

The boy and girl referred to in this letter remain unidentified, but the letter itself is addressed to “Miss Downss at Lady Page Turners Portland Place”; the Lady Page-Turner in question was Frances, wife of the MP Sir Gregory Page-Turner.


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