Thursday, May 8, 2008

Portrait Gallery

Here we have Mabel, Countess of Airlie - widow of a hero killed in the Boer War, philanthropist, confidante of Queen Mary, and clearly a formidable personage in her own right. The portrait is by the fabulous Philip de László (about whom there's not nearly enough shouting), who worked his magic on everyone from the Empress Elisabeth of Austria to the current Queen.

He has made sure she has at hand all the tools of her trade:

Pearls, appropriate for fingering? Check.

Furs, for gathering in dudgeon? Check.

Impressive frontage, for overwhelming the unsophisticated? Check.

In short, she is superb - in the language of her day, A Fine Figure of a Woman and a role model for all of us as we enter our twilight years.


  1. But what of her lorgnette, for staring down the impertinent? I’m sure she never left home without it.

  2. Oh, I wouldn't worry - it's either in her right hand, ready for snapping out haughtily, or tucked in her chignon, rather like an Edwardian shiv!