The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Duchess of Manchester

Duchess of Manchester

A carte-de-visite portrait of the Duchess of Manchester.

Luise von Alten (born Hanover 15 January 1832 - died Esher Place, Surrey 15 July 1911) was married to William Drogo Montagu, Viscount Mandeville, later 7th Duke of Manchester in Hanover on 22 July 1852. The marriage was not a successful one, and when the Duke died in 1890, after a decent interval his widow became the wife of the 8th Duke of Devonshire, whose mistress she had been for some thirty years. She was thereafter known as 'the Double Duchess'.

An occasional visitor to the French imperial court, her great beauty was praised by Princess Metternich in her memoirs. Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough, who knew - and detested - her later in life, remembered her differently: 'Rumour had her beautiful, but when I knew her she was a raddled old woman, covering her wrinkles with paint, and her pate was a brown wig, her mouth was a red gash.’

Photographed by Camille Silvy of London in 1860.


Code: 124681
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© Paul Frecker 2019