CAVENDISH (and Foster), Elizabeth (1757-1824). duchess of Devonshire, society hostess and patron of the arts.
Series of four Autograph Letters Signed and one Autograph Letter in French (as Elizabeth Foster) to her banker Jean-François Perregaux, 6 pages 4to & 8vo, one with initials, 1790-1803 where dated
Asking whether he had received remittances, ordering him to make payments (to Madamoiselles Gigault and Violette), asking him to forward letters for herself and Lady Hervey to Devonshire House in London, begging him to call on herself and Lady Bessborogh, and thanking him profusely for his attention to her financial affairs.
Bess Foster, having been brought up in comparative poverty (as the daughter of an Irish bishop) fell upon good fortune when she took up with William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire and his wife Georgiana in 1782. She became their constant companion, and it was rumoured, not without reason, that she may have been the mistress or lover of both. She travelled widely with the Devonshires and bore the duke's child, albeit in some secrecy in Naples. Society was scandalised when she married the duke in 1809. Georgiana had died in 1806 leaving Elizabeth as her executrix and custodian of her papers. The duke himself died two years after the marriage, and thereafter Elizabeth entertained lavishly, numbering Byron among her circle of friends, and became a great patron of the arts and particularly of Roman archaeology.
Provenance: from a collection formed by A.M. Broadley in 1903.
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