L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i



Friday, December 9, 2016

The simplest claret-colored velvet - Edith Kingdon Gould in a Worth gown, portrait by Théobald Chartran, 1898



Edith Mary Kingdon Gould (24 August 1864, New York – 13 November 1921, New Jersey), American actress and socialite. Born to Canadian parents, she was educated in England, and worked as a stage actress until her marriage to George Jay Gould I, extremely wealthy financier and son of Jay Gould, in 1886. Both bride and groom were only twenty-two, and the groom's family were quite understandably unhappy with his choice; at the time, actresses were considered only slightly better than prostitutes. But the new Mrs. Gould, by her vivacity and good humor, eventually won them over. Even more impressively, she went on to be accepted by New York's extremely snobbish "Society". The couple would have seven children. (In the last years of their marriage, Gould also had a mistress with whom he had three more children; he married his mistress six months after Edith's death.) She died at the age of fifty-seven while playing golf with her husband on the golf course of their home in Lakewood Township, New Jersey. From the New York Times: "Edith Kingdon Gould, wife of George Jay Gould, fell dead today while playing golf with her husband on the private golf course at their estate, Georgian Court, in the outskirts of Lakewood. Heart disease was the cause of death." From the Atlanta Constitution: "Mrs. George Jay Gould, the beautiful Edith Kingdon, noted actress of the eighties, collapsed at the ninth tee of the private golf course on the Gould estate, Georgian court, Sunday afternoon while playing a game with her husband, and died in his arms as he was carrying her to the mansion ...."

The original Worth gown.

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Mrs. Gould was better know for a slightly more elaborate style of dress. Three images from 1903.
Her jewels were lavish, and lavishly talked about.
Two images from 1908.

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Théobald Chartran (20 July 1849, Besançon – 16 July 1907, Neuilly-sur-Seine), French painter and sometime magazine caricaturist. A student of Cabanel, he began his Salon career in 1872. Five years later he won the Prix de Rome and a third class medal at the Salon, a second class medal at the Salon of 1881 and a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1889. He was also made a chevalier of the Legion of Honor. His clientele reached well beyond France. Beginning in 1881, he exhibited at the Royal Academy and at the Grafton Gallery in London, and he traveled to the United States to complete commissions. Popular during his lifetime but now considered not of the first rank, he is probably best remembered for his 1902 portrait of First Lady Edith Carow Roosevelt, which is still in the White House collection. He may be even better remembered for his portrait of her husband, begun the same year. The President so hated the finished work - his family apparently called it the "Mewing Cat" because of the President's decidedly timid aspect - that he eventually had it destroyed and hired John Singer Sargent to paint a replacement.




7 comments:

  1. Glorious portrait, and a stunning dress. It's wonderfully clean lined and unadorned for Worth, but Jean Phillipe, who took over after his father died did occasionally produce work that was this simplified. Also, I noted that the painter chose to edit out the waistline break, and narrowed Mrs Gould's waist even more than its already small size. Thanks so much for this!

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    1. Yeah, I find that break at the waist unfortunate; rather spoils the "line", eh? : )

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  2. Fashions were so amazing -and that tiny waist on a rather large woman! I find it fascinating how ideas of beauty change over time.

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  3. She was a fascinating character. The Goulds lived on Fifth Avenue, naturally; their first home, a rather Victorian Gothic-style pile proved too small as their family expanded, so it was torn down in 1907 and replaced by a stately Horace Trumbauer-designed neoclassical palace. Sadly, this house was demolished in 1962 to make way for a high rise apartment building. Mrs. Gould's lavish, antique Louis XVI bed is now on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Georgian Court, their estate in Lakewood, NJ, is today a college. Parts of the main house and extensive gardens have been restored to their original condition.

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    1. Lovely that Georgian Court survives; so much from that time has been lost.

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  4. I can't believe she could golf, let alone walk, in corsets that would allow her to maintain that figure.

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    1. Maybe by 1921 she'd - loosened - up a bit...?

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