Sunday, March 24, 2013
Portrait of a lady
Or should that be Regency wild child instead of lady?
It's a long time since I did any portraits. I was reading about the Shelley entourage again recently and this was the result - inspired by some cuttings I happened upon in my bits and pieces box and by Claire Clairmont, teen runaway who threw in her lot with Shelley and her half sister Mary when they decamped for France.
Then threw herself at Byron and ended up pregnant and deserted.
Here she is, older, wiser and still poor, as a governess in Russia where she did her best to distance herself, geographically and metaphorically, from her scandalous past, though judging by her letters and recently discovered memoir (in which she rages against Byron and Shelley's conduct)she retained her splendidly fierce independence of spirit, in contrast to Mary Shelley whose somewhat prim and proper life-after-Shelley always seems a bit of a disappointing anti-climax.
Had she been born a hundred years later I think she would have made a wonderful suffragette.