Saturday, August 22, 2009
Lady Blessington's bath
A client from the U.S. asked if I had a print of Lady Blessington's Bath, a popular river scene in Clonmel I have painted this area before but because of the flood wall development going on I have tended to avoid this part of the river of late. However I took some photographs and sketched a bit and working from older images I had in my own archive I created a composition for a finished drawing.
Born Marguerite Power in Clonmel in 1789, in 1818 she married Lord Blessington. She used to swim in this part of the river in the old bridge area of Clonmel
Marguerite and her husband enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle, one they shared with such literary luminaries as Lord Byron. Indeed, Lady Blessington gave the world a great insight into the poet's character and personality in her publication Conversations with Byron. In 1822, after plunging their estates deep into debt, she and her husband moved to the continent, where they remained until Lord Blessington's death in 1829.
A liaison with Count d'Orsay then followed, which gave rise to much scandal in London, where Lady Blessington was now based. In her new career as a journalist and travel writer she edited and contributed to many publications, such as the gossip centred Idler books. She also penned the novels Grace Cassidy and The Two Friends.
Lady Blessington's writings, however, were not enough to save her from bankruptcy, and she fled to Paris, where she died in 1849. Lady Blessington's Bath today commemorates the fame of one of the most colourful and vivacious figures from Clonmel's past.