Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Buccaneers Spirit

Have been enjoying the 1995 miniseries The Buccaneers, based on Edith Wharton's unfinished last novel. I am fascinated that Wharton based some of her characterizations on the (spoilers!) ill-fated marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough. On the Wiki there is a copy of one famous family portrait of the great beauty and her family.

I've seen that enormous painting, in November, 2005, when we visited Blenheim Palace. At the time, Jon said:

"[The princely dwelling] seems a little thin justification for a World Heritage Site. It's a very nice house. The most exciting thing that every happened there was Winston Churchill's birth. (His grandfather was the 7th Duke.)"

As I recall, I was also excited by the portrait, which is by one of my favorite painters, John Singer Sargeant; his portrayal of Consuelo is aloof and surreal, as is the connection between Wharton and her roman à clef characters, the permanent residents of Blenheim.



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