Social Victorians/People/Fanny Ronalds

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Also Known As[edit | edit source]

  • Family name: Carter Ronalds
  • Mary Frances Carter
  • Mary Frances Ronalds
  • Mrs. Ronalds
  • Fanny Ronalds

Acquaintances, Friends and Enemies[edit | edit source]

Friends[edit | edit source]

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1859, Fanny Carter married Pierre Lorillard Ronalds.[1]

Early 1860s, Fanny Ronalds hosted a ball at which she dressed as Music.[1]

1867, Fanny Ronalds had separated from Pierre Lorillard Ronalds by this time.

Met Arthur Sullivan in Paris.

1871, at the fall of the Second Empire in France, Fanny Ronalds moved to London, from Paris by way of Algiers.

1877, Arthur Sullivan's brother Fred died.

1897 July 2, Friday, Fanny Ronalds attended the Duchess of Devonshire's fancy-dress ball at Devonshire House.

1900 November 22, Arthur Sullivan died.

Costume at the Duchess of Devonshire's 2 July 1897 Fancy-dress Ball[edit | edit source]

Black-and-white photograph of a standing woman richly dressed in a costume covered with symbols of music and carrying a lyre, with a lyre as part of her hat
Mary Frances ('Fanny') Ronalds (née Carter) in costume as Euterpe. ©National Portrait Gallery, London.

At the Duchess of Devonshire's fancy-dress ball, Fanny Ronalds (at 92) was dressed as Euterpe, Music, the Spirit of Music or the Goddess of Music

  • She was dressed as "the Goddess of Music."[2]:p. 5, Col. 7c
  • "Mrs. Ronalds appeared in an allegorical costume representing the Goddess of Music. The underdress and drapery were of almond green Bengal satin, with embroidery of music. She carried a harp, and the head-dress consisted of a diamond lyre and jewelled crown of enamelled green laurel leaves."[3]:p. 3, Col. 2c
  • She was dressed as "'Music.' Pale green crepe de chine, embroidered in gold, with ever-dress of white Liberty satin, also wrought in gold, the design being harps and crowns of laurel leaves. Round the hem were a few bars of one of Arthur Sullivan's waltzes in green velvet. The cloak of white satin was lined with green crepe de chine, and in the front of the bodice was a golden harp[.] The head-dress was a wreath of gold laurel leaves, studded with diamonds, and in the centre was a lyre of diamonds and tiny electric lights. A necklace of gold bars, with enamel notes, was worn wfth pearl and diamond ornaments."[4]:p. 8, Col. 1b
  • "Mrs. Ronald's [sic] 'Spirit of Music' also deserves notice. The robe was of white and green silk, with a drapery of green silk falling from one shoulder, and had embroidered at the foot some bars of a waltz by Sir Arthur Sullivan. A diamond lyre was fastened at the bust, a small harp was held in the hand, and on the head was a diamond harp set in by electric lights."[5]:p. 6, Col. 1a
  • "Mrs. Ronalds (allegorical costume representing Goddess of Music), underdress and drapery of almond-green Bengal satin with / embroidery of music; drapery overdress of white Bengal satin, with embroidered musical devices."[6]:p. 40, Col. 2b–3a
  • "An allegorical costume, representing the Goddess of Music, was worn by Mrs. Ronalds, and was carried out delightfully in pale green and white, with musical devices traced in diamonds, and embroidered in gold and green. In her hair Mrs. Ronalds wore a diamond lyre and a jewelled crown of laurel leaves, every detail of the graceful costume having been most carefully thought out."[7]
  • "Mrs. Ronalds, as the "Spirit of Music," was a great success in a becoming and emblematic dress, and with lyre surrounded by electric lights on her head."[8]:p. 5, Col. 1

Lafayette's portrait of "Mary Frances ('Fanny') Ronalds (née Carter) as Euterpe" in costume is photogravure #58 in the album presented to the Duchess of Devonshire and now in the National Portrait Gallery.[9] The printing on the portrait says, "Mrs. Ronalds as Euterpe."[10]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

  • Nationality: born American[1]
  • Separated by 1867[1]

Family[edit | edit source]

  • Mary Frances ("Fanny") Carter Ronalds (23 August 1839 – 28 July 1916)[1]
  • Pierre Lorillard Ronalds ()
  1. Pierre Lorillard Ronalds, Jr. ()
  2. Reginald Ronalds ()
  3. Fannie (Fannette) Ritchie ()

Questions and Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Arthur Sullivan is not listed as having attended the 1897 ball. Where was he?
  2. Fanny Ronalds had worn a similar costume at an earlier fancy-dress ball, perhaps in New York?

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Jacobs, Arthur. Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician. Oxford University Press, 1984.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Fanny Ronalds". Wikipedia. 2021-09-09.
  2. "Duchess of Devonshire's Fancy Ball. A Brilliant Spectacle. Some of the Dresses." London Daily News Saturday 3 July 1897: 5 [of 10], Col. 6a–6, Col. 1b. British Newspaper Archive and
  3. “The Ball at Devonshire House. Magnificent Spectacle. Description of the Dresses.” London Evening Standard 3 July 1897 Saturday: 3 [of 12], Cols. 1a–5b [of 7]. British Newspaper Archive
  4. "Fancy Dress Ball at Devonshire House." Morning Post Saturday 3 July 1897: 7 [of 12], Col. 4a–8 Col. 2b. British Newspaper Archive
  5. "The Duchess of Devonshire's Fancy Dress Ball. Special Telegram." Belfast News-Letter Saturday 03 July 1897: 5 [of 8], Col. 9c [of 9]–6, Col. 1a. British Newspaper Archive
  6. “The Duchess of Devonshire’s Ball.” The Gentlewoman 10 July 1897 Saturday: 32–42 [of 76], Cols. 1a–3c [of 3]. British Newspaper Archive
  7. “The Devonshire House Ball. A Brilliant Gathering.” The Pall Mall Gazette 3 July 1897, Saturday: 7 [of 10], Col. 2a–3a. British Newspaper Archive
  8. “The Duchess’s Costume Ball.” Westminster Gazette 03 July 1897 Saturday: 5 [of 8], Cols. 1a–3b [of 3]. British Newspaper Archive
  9. "Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball (1897): photogravures by Walker & Boutall after various photographers." 1899. National Portrait Gallery
  10. "Mary Frances ('Fanny') Ronalds (née Carter) as Euterpe." Diamond Jubilee Fancy Dress Ball. National Portrait Gallery