William_Orpen_Bridgit-1

Political and Royal gossip 1920s

Lady Elvery by William Orpen

A good letter, over 20 closely written pages. Indiscreet, gossipy ('The Prince of Wales was blotto..') from the inner circles of power and privilege in the mid 1920s. The recipent was Beatrice Elvery, Lady Glenavy (1881 - 1970). Irish artist and literary host, friend of Katherine Mansfield and friend of Shaw, Lawrence and Yeats. She modelled for Orpen and painted 'Éire' (1907) a landmark painting promoting the idea of an independent Irish state. The letter is from her husband Charles Henry Gordon Campbell, 2nd Baron Glenavy (1885–1963) politician and banker in England and Ireland.

Quite a good little show at the Londonderry's the other night. Great strong retainers at the door in short kilts of the Stewart tartan created an atmosphere of sex appeal, much fortified by the magnificent bosoms of the Marchioness Curzon which are said to have only reached their full bloom for the first time this season.

Eire by Beatrice
Elvery (1907)

The white face of Elinor Glynn, a a long green velvet gown, made our RC aboriginals visibly insecure: her walk is so sensuous as to suggest unimagined pleasures in love and is enhanced by some minor pelvic obstruction which necessitates a few swings with the right leg before she can take a step. Her daughters, married to a pair of peers or better, offer a pleasant contrast of blackheads and anaemia. Lady Jowett was escorted by Eddie Marsh who is still holding up wonderfully together...........We bumped into Gladys Cooper fresh from the theatre in full make up, on Londonderry's arm and a bodyguard of four young men........

On asking Lady Jowett how she explained Baldwin's remaining in public life she said the Baldwin family had a firm hold on the British public's imagination ever since she said, when asked whether she found it (illegible) to have so many children imposed upon her by her husband that 'each time she closed her eyes and thought of England'...........

On Friday McGilligan, Hogan and Fitzgerald went to dinner with the King. Everything gold including the forks.

But the king forgot it was Friday: the soup was a meat soup so the R.C's couldn't eat it and in the end, after a huge long dinner all they had was a bit of sole. a few peas and an ice cream. They rushed back here at midnight and gorged themselves on rolls and butter and tea. They said the Prince of Wales was blotto........

[Later he goes to a party at Buckingham Palace and his take on the queen's breasts is hilarious....  He spends a lot of time with Mark Gertler and Mary Hutchinson. The letters ends on a scrap of 'Irish Free State Delegation' paper.] I am writing to keep myself awake while Ramsay Macdonald meanders on about things he doesn't understand.....

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2 thoughts on “Political and Royal gossip 1920s

  1. Anonymous

    I wrote my M.Phil dissertation partly on "Eire," and am shocked to see someone else devoting some thought to it here! Thank you for the fantastic primary source!

    Reply

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