Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, known as Lady Blessington. Irish novelist, beauty and literary hostess.
AL. 1p plus integral blank leaf. No place. Wednesday evening, no month or year (but paper watermarked 1832). To Mr Oliver.
"Lady Blessington's compliments to Mr Oliver and will have much pleasure in seeing him tomorrow at 3 o'clock, but if Mr O could make it convenient to call at 2 o'clock it would oblige Lady B".
8vo Approx 7 x 4.5 inches. Small chip to foot of first leaf. Mounting traces to verso of integral blank leaf. All else near fine.
Lady Blessington was one of the most extraordinary figures of the 19th century. She was born into a poor Irish family and was married against her will at the age of 15. Her husband, an English army officer, was a drunkard who died in a debtor's prison. Marguerite had fled from the marital home and had taken refuge with a kindly and literary sea captain who introduced her to the Irish peer, the Earl of Blessington, who she married only 4 months after the death of her first husband. Lady Blessington was possessed of a remarkable beauty, charm and wit but shared the extravagant tastes of the Earl and their estate was soon burdened by huge debts. Whilst on their grand tour she met and became close to Lord Byron, who was later to be the subject of one of her books. They also met Count D'Orsay, who married her step-daughter and, after an acrimonious and much publicised separation, became the lover and companion of Lady Blessington. In 1829 the Earl died of apoplexy. Lady Blessington and Count D'Orsay settled at Gore House, Kensington (now the site of the Albert Hall) which became a magnet for the literary, scientific and fashionable set of the time. Lady Blessington supplemented their reduced income by her writing but the couple were eventually unable to sustain their extravagant living. D'Orsay fled to France to escape his creditors and Lady Blessington was forced to sell her house and furniture before joining him in Paris, where she died of a burst heart in 1849.