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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tete a tete in the garden

Click on the pictures to see them in full if need be.
Below, Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward aged eighteen or so. Notice the precise developing shape of his lovely face, the arch of his eyebrows and the shape of the nose in particular.

Below,  'Tete a tete in the garden', ( a lovely spring garden) by James McNeill Whistler, c1881/2. No specifics from Jimmy, notice! :-)

An etching apparently of Prince Eddy, seen behind the wine on the right of the painting, with a strap over his left shoulder, evidently with Marie Jeanette, 'La Belle du Jour'. The boy and girl look barely eighteen years old. Perhaps about eighteen. This seems to be a litho of Prince Eddy and Marie in their introduction days as a dults afte having met in childhood? 

Zoom in:

La belle du jour is seen below -with the little Prince 'Jo' apparently, it' clearly the same girl. Note the arch of the eyebrows and shape of the nose in the boy there. I would imagine this is a garden in Chelsea in the early 1880s, Whistler's, at the back of his studio there, or the back garden of Oscar Wilde's home.

Prince Eddy and his 'Belle du Jour' Marie in a Chelsea garden in 1881/2 fits perfectly with the testimonies that emerged in the 1970's, to the effect that in the early 1880s the Prince of wales ( later Edward VII)  and his wife Princess Alexandra gave permission for Prince Eddy to go to town (  Chelsea and the West End)  and get some experience in art and socialising ( and all that went  with that.) Prince Eddy does look timid in the Whistler litho above, and a bit as if he has never seen himself start! :-) From what I have seen in archives here and abroad, I am in no doubt that Bertie (later Edward VII) would have been perfectly happy about such a meeting between his son and the pretty Stuart girl at this stage, the early 1880s. For instance, he was constantly showing other Royal youths such as Gustav of Sweden photo cards of his mistresses and encouraging them to behave in a similar manner, putting about the idea that any self respecting prince who did not have an adoring harem to show about the place was not up to much. And he did not in the least mind how or where said photo shoots had been obtained.

Above, Prince Eddy in a Hanoverian Uniform. Left, Prince Eddy in his White Stuart rose with his father Bertie, then the Prince of Wales. ( Later Edward VII). Bertie, the Prince of Wales incumbent in the early 1880s, had long adored pretty Irish mistresses, and will not have objected to encouraging his son in behaviours similar to his own. On the contrary, he promoted his influence. Often as generous to others as he was with himself, he did not concern himself with the consequences of the encouragements he was giving Prince Eddy and other young gentry. As for political consequences, he appears to have had a deal of naivety, natural authority and charisma. He frequently, at times naively, trusted in his perceived ability to influence all manner of personalities in almost any circumstance. He does not seem to have given much for a passe, restricted and repressed society wherein women had been deemed wise to shy away from artistic exigences and inquisitive early camera lenses. In fact from archives I have seen, Bertie treated his mothers consternations with complete disregard. She might as well have been a turnip sitting in the corner of the great ballroom all year for all the note he took of her views. 

 For people who've been writing emails suggesting ( two people have been insisting) that 'Jo' was Bertie's , ( Bertie also signed 'ALBERT EDWARD') you can see  that he was not; but as to whether Bertie had everything to do with how it all came about behind his mothers back, well.  If 'Jo' had been Bertie's, even as a Stuart boy of a Stuart mother with serious Fenian connections, the situation would not have presented as an immediate political problem to the powers that were (though it would have been a vintage threat to their position). 

As Prince Eddy's son, the lost Prince 'Jo' was instantly in line for the Empire throne in conjunction with an automatic, complete overhaul of the Hanoverian interpretation of the Act of Succession and all the powers that were. (A 'proper payout of the dues of Culloden Moor!'). 

Below, Manet's painting 'Woman in a negligee, 1882'. You can compare this painting with the newspaper artist's picture of Marie Jeanette in 1888 'A lost woman in Millers' Court' and Walter Sickert's 'The Iron Bedstead' painting here.( 'Found in London Lamplight')  This may be Manet's own rendition of the 1881-2 ' Belle du Jour' ( Marie Jeanette Stuart/'Marie Jeanette Kelly'.) Manet seems to have focused specifically on the full eyelids and the lengthy eyelashes in the fact that you can at times see in aristocratic Stuart descendants, e.g the Princess Diana.There are slight creases under the eyes as with the artist's rendition of 'Mary Kelly, a lost woman in Miller's Court'. She is unnamed, and the breast are not painted in, only overtly suggested.

Below, Jimmy Whistler's rendition of 'Le Belle du Jour', ( one 'Marie Jeanette' apparently)  seen here ( click) compared with other pictures of the same girl, including pictures drawn by Walter Sickert.

A good article here, 'Manet and Whistler against the world', outlining some of the artistic premises through which the two artists developed their close association.

One thing all these items of artistic and historic record relating to this era have poignantly in common, whether they be photo cards of mistresses or touching artist renditions of  individuals in the setting of their private and personal lives, is that they were all beautifully recorded without anyone expressing indignance or moralistic prurience and with the subjects' full permission. This 'lost epoque' was an artists' epoque, one of subtelty, seduction and adventure. Poise and beauty were sought after. 

I think the loveliest picture of  La Belle 'Marie Jeanette' ( "the woman Kelly") is the one below, Walter Sickert's picture of her topless/ nude and pregnant with the little boy and his whip superimposed on her tummy, and the nun meandering beside her knees. I also think its is likely to be the most accurate facial representation for Marie Jeanette around mid 1882-3. They have all captured Irish / Jacobite beauty, of course.


The outline of the current situation in respect of the libel campaign against me and the legal stuff (click).