Social Victorians/People/Lowther

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Also Known As[edit | edit source]

  • Family name: Lowther
  • Earl of Lonsdale
    • Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale (4 March 1872 – 15 August 1876)[1]
    • St. George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale (15 August 1876 – 8 February 1882)[2]
    • Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (8 February 1882 – 13 April 1944)[3]
    • Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (13 April 1944 – 11 March 1953)[4]
  • Viscount Lowther of Whitehaven [G.B., 1797]
    • St. George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale (4 March 1872 – 15 August 1876)[2]
    • Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (15 August 1876 – 8 February 1882)[5]
    • Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (8 February 1882 – 13 April 1944)[6]
  • Baron Lowther of Whitehaven [G.B., 1797]
  • Baronet Lowther [G.B., 1764]

Acquaintances, Friends and Enemies[edit | edit source]

Organizations[edit | edit source]

  • Cheltenham College
  • Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • Captain, 3rd Battalion, border Regiment

Timeline[edit | edit source]

1878 June 25, Hugh Cecil Lowther and Lady Grace Cecile Gordon married.[7]

1889 April 24, Lancelot Edward Lowther and Gwendoline Sophia Alice Sheffield married.[8]

1897 July 2, Friday, the Earl and Countess of Lonsdale attended the Duchess of Devonshire's fancy-dress ball at Devonshire House, as did the Hon. Mrs. (Gwendoline) Lowther and Lowther and probably(?) her husband Lancelot Lowther.

1923 October 8, Lancelot Edward Lowther and Sybil Beatrix Feetham married.[9]

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

Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale[edit | edit source]

At the Duchess of Devonshire's fancy-dress ball, Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (at 225) was dressed as Sir Richard Lowther (Lord High Falconer) in the Queen Elizabeth procession.

  • "Lord Lonsdale, who carried a hooded falcon on his wrist, represented Sir Richard Lowther."[10]:32, Col. 3c
  • "In Queen Elizabeth's suit Sir Richard Lowther (Lord High Falconer) was taken by the Earl of Lonsdale, looking the part perfectly in a magnificent Elizabethian [sic] suit, with hooded falcon on his wrist."[11]:11, Col. 4b The description in the Leicester Chronicle is almost identical beginning with "looking the part," minus the typo, as the description in the Carlisle Patriot).[12]

Grace, Countess of Lonsdale[edit | edit source]

Black-and-white photograph of a standing woman richly dressed in an historical costume
Grace, Countess of Lonsdale in costume as the Countess of Essex from the time of Elizabeth. ©National Portrait Gallery, London.

Grace, Countess of Lonsdale (at 211) was dressed as the Countess of Essex in the Queen Elizabeth procession and sat at Table 12. Hugh Cecil Lowther, Earl of Lonsdale does not seem to have been seated at a table at supper, though perhaps his name is among those missing from the list.

  • "The Countess of Lonsdale, as the Countess of Essex, was one of the ladies in the suite of Queen Elizabeth."[12]
  • The Gentlewoman says that "the Countess of Lonsdale (Lady Hunsdon)" followed in the wake of Lady Edmonstone's Mary Queen of Scots.[10]:34, Col. 1a

Byrne & Co.'s portrait of "Grace Cecile Lowther (née Gordon), Countess of Lonsdale as the Countess of Essex from the time of Elizabeth" in costume is photogravure #254 in the album presented to the Duchess of Devonshire and now in the National Portrait Gallery.[13] The printing on the portrait says, "The Countess of Lonsdale as the Countess of Essex temp Elizabeth," with a Long S in Countess both times.[14]

Two important Earls of Essex served under Queen Elizabeth, Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex (Earl 1572–1576)[15] and his son Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (Earl 1576–1601)[16]. The 2nd Earl was a favorite of Elizabeth, but although he was beheaded in 1601 for treason, he seems the more important Earl of Essex for Elizabeth's reign because of the length of time he was Earl. The 1st Earl's wife was Lettice Knollys, who seems to have been present at court and was perhaps in a relationship with the Earl of Leicester, whom she married two years after Essex died, though she continued to style herself the Countess of Essex.[17] Elizabeth never accepted this marriage. The 2nd Earl's wife was Frances Walsingham, whose first husband was Sir Philip Sidney and whose third husband was Richard De Burgh (or Burke), Earl of St Albans and Clanricarde.[18]

Cyril Flower, Lord Battersea was dressed as Lord Hunsdon and no woman is identified as having dressed as Lady Hunsdon. Neither Lettice, Countess Essex nor Frances, Countess Essex was named Lady Hunsdon, and the description on the portrait in the Album seems slightly more reliable than the one from the Gentlewoman.

Old painting of a woman in a revealing white dress
Portrait of Madame Tallien, by François Gérard

The Hon. Mrs. Lowther[edit | edit source]

Black-and-white photograph of a standing woman richly dressed in an historical costume
The Hon. Gwendoline Lowther in costume as Madame de Tallion (Incroyable). ©National Portrait Gallery, London.

The Hon. Mrs. Gwendoline Lowther (at 672) was dressed, according to the Gentlewoman, as a "lady, time of Louis XVI.," wearing "white muslin over canary satin, blue silk train, bodice in brick-coloured satin with white stock tie, diamond buttons, black glacé waistband, diamond buckle; hat of yellow spotted net over canary satin, camelias, black velvet ribbon tips."[10]:36, Cols. 2b, 2c

Lafayette's portrait of "Gwendoline Sophia Alice Lowther (née Sheffield) as Madame de Tallion (Incroyable)" in costume is photogravure #176 in the album presented to the Duchess of Devonshire and now in the National Portrait Gallery.[13] The printing on the portrait says, "The Hon. Mrs. Lowther as Madame de Tallion (Incroyable)."[19]

The portrait of Madame Tallien (right) does not look like the original of Mrs. Gwendoline Lowther's costume because the Merveilleuses wore dresses based on Neoclassical styles, like those seen on statues of the ancient Greeks, rather than late-Victorian tight-waisted corsetry. Also, their clothing was far more revealing than Mrs. Lowther's dress is. Further, the Incroyables were the men adopting these extreme, post-Revolution styles of dress; the women were called the Merveilleuses. Some of the Incroyables wore blonde wigs, and so that part of Mrs. Lowther's costume is closer.

Madame Tallien was Jeanne-Marie-Thérèse Cabarrus (31 July 1773 – 15 January 1835), one of the leading Merveilleuses.[20] She was called Notre Dame du Thermidor, named for the month in the French Republican calendar in which Robespierre was executed and the style of the Incroyables and Merveilleuses began.[21] This c. 1805 portrait by Gérard (right), after an 1804 work at Château de Chimay,[22] was painted when she was Princess of Caraman-Chimay.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

  • Nationality: British[23]

Family[edit | edit source]

  • Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale (27 March 1818 – 15 August 1876)[1]
  • Emily Susan Caulfeild ( – 15 July 1917)[24]
  1. Lady Sibyl Emily Lowther ( – 11 June 1932)
  2. St. George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale (4 October 1855 – 8 February 1882)
  3. Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (25 January 1857 – 13 April 1944)
  4. Hon. Charles Edwin Lowther (11 July 1859 – 2 April 1888)
  5. Lady Verena Maud Lowther (6 April 1865 – 25 December 1938)
  6. Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (25 June 1867 – 11 March 1953)


  • Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (25 January 1857 – 13 April 1944)[3]
  • Lady Grace Cecile Gordon ( – 12 May 1941)[7]


  • Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale (25 June 1867 – 11 March 1953)[4]
  • Gwendoline Sophia Alice Sheffield (c. 1869 – 4 November 1921)[8]
  1. Lady Barbara Lowther (8 April 1890 – 1979)
  2. Lady Marjorie Lowther (6 February 1895 – 29 July 1968)
  3. Anthony Edward Lowther, Viscount Lowther (24 September 1896 – 6 October 1949)
  • Sybil Beatrix Feetham ( – 10 March 1966)[9]
  1. Timothy Lancelot Lowther (27 April 1925 – 1984)

Notes and Questions[edit | edit source]

  • Although it may look like an error, Caulfeild is the correct spelling for the name of the 3rd Earl's wife.
  • The Hon. Mrs. Gwendoline Lowther (at 672), was present, but her husband, whose brother was Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale and who would be later in his own right, was not?

Works Cited on Costume at the Duchess of Devonshire's Ball[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "St George Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale". Wikipedia. 2020-12-17. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=St_George_Lowther,_4th_Earl_of_Lonsdale&oldid=994746647. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  5. "Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale". Wikipedia. 2021-04-10. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Hugh_Lowther,_5th_Earl_of_Lonsdale&oldid=1017110451. 
  6. "Lancelot Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale". Wikipedia. 2021-05-06. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lancelot_Lowther,_6th_Earl_of_Lonsdale&oldid=1021681000. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Lady Grace Cecile Gordon." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Gwendoline Sophia Alice Sheffield." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Sybil Beatrix Feetham." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 “The Duchess of Devonshire’s Ball.” The Gentlewoman 10 July 1897 Saturday: 32–42 [of 76], Cols. 1a–3c [of 3]. British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0003340/18970710/155/0032.
  11. "The Duchess of Devonshire’s Historic Ball. Some of the Fancy Costumes." Supplement. The Leicester Chronicle and Leicestershire Mercury 10 July 1897, Saturday: 11 [of 12], Cols. 4a–b. British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000173/18970710/141/0011.
  12. 12.0 12.1 "Fancy Dress Ball: Unparalleled Splendour." Carlisle Patriot Friday 9 July 1897: 7 [of 8], Col. 4a–b. British Newspaper Archive https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000365/18970709/084/0007.
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball (1897): photogravures by Walker & Boutall after various photographers." 1899. National Portrait Gallery https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait-list.php?set=515.
  14. "Countess of Lonsdale as the Countess of Essex." Diamond Jubilee Fancy Dress Ball. National Portrait Gallery https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw158617/Grace-Cecile-Lowther-ne-Gordon-Countess-of-Lonsdale-as-the-Countess-of-Essex-from-the-time-of-Elizabeth.
  15. "Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex". Wikipedia. 2021-11-30. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex&oldid=1057973958.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Devereux,_1st_Earl_of_Essex.
  16. "Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex". Wikipedia. 2021-10-13. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Robert_Devereux,_2nd_Earl_of_Essex&oldid=1049763278.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Devereux,_2nd_Earl_of_Essex.
  17. "Lettice Knollys". Wikipedia. 2021-05-28. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lettice_Knollys&oldid=1025643735.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lettice_Knollys.
  18. "Frances Burke, Countess of Clanricarde". Wikipedia. 2021-11-28. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Frances_Burke,_Countess_of_Clanricarde&oldid=1057501829.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Burke,_Countess_of_Clanricarde.
  19. "Hon. Mrs. Lowther as Madame de Tallion." Diamond Jubilee Fancy Dress Ball. National Portrait Gallery https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw158539/Gwendoline-Sophia-Alice-Lowther-ne-Sheffield-as-Madame-de-Tallion-Incroyable.
  20. "Thérésa Tallien". Wikipedia. 2021-05-19. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Th%C3%A9r%C3%A9sa_Tallien&oldid=1024012346.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thérésa_Tallien.
  21. "Thermidorian Reaction". Wikipedia. 2021-09-30. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Thermidorian_Reaction&oldid=1047430430.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermidorian_Reaction.
  22. "Portrait de Theresia Cabarrus (1773-1835), épouse Tallien, puis princesse de Caraman-Chimay | Paris Musées". www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr. Retrieved 2021-12-08. https://www.parismuseescollections.paris.fr/fr/musee-carnavalet/oeuvres/portrait-de-theresia-cabarrus-1773-1835-epouse-tallien-puis-princesse-de#infos-secondaires-detail.
  23. "Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale". Wikipedia. 2021-04-10. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Henry_Lowther,_3rd_Earl_of_Lonsdale&oldid=1017107299. 
  24. "Emily Susan Caulfeild." "Person Page". www.thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2020-12-05.