Thursday, 8 May 2014

To Live a Life More Extraordinary

Mark Amory wrote, "When a second parent dies, some people feel threatened by death themselves, some feel overwhelmed with grief or regrets, some feel liberated and others feel all of these things." Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Soncino, eccentric Italian heiress, muse and patroness of the Arts, upon finding herself parentless at an early age, set about living a life more extraordinary than most.

Indeed, some might argue that she was a legend in her own lifetime, dominating, decorating, and delighting European society for almost three decades with her scandalous lifestyle, bizarre dress and intriguing choice of pets and live jewellery.

Luisa, Marchesa Casati Stampa di Sonico as portrayed by Cecil Beaton

Marchesa Luisa Casati could possibly be the most represented woman in Art after the Virgin Mary and Cleopatra. Legion numbers of painted portraits, sculptures and photographs were made in her image. Giovanni Boldini, Augustus John, Jacob Epstein and Cecil Beaton are just a few of the artists who she inspired.

She graced the dining rooms of Italian palazzos and English country houses, often with a pet snake as a companion. She attended balls and cocktail parties the length and breadth of Europe, dressed to live up to her aim of being 'a living work of art'.

'a living work of art' - Marchesa Luisa Casati, photograph by Cecil Beaton

She set trends rather than followed them. Her lively entourage of devoted followers comprised aesthetes, artists, bon-vivants, poets, writers, dancers and dandies. And, for royalty, aristocracy and commoners alike, she amused and outraged in equal measure.

the style of the Marchesa Luisa Casati as captured by Man Ray in 1924

And so, finding ourselves parentless, surely through misfortune rather than carelessness to misquote Oscar Wilde, having stopped counting birthdays and being far more preoccupied with leisure than with work, we contemplate new Casati-inspired career paths.

Shall we be, perhaps, waited upon by gilded naked youths? Should we make up our faces deathly white, dye our hair red, paint our lips vermilion and replace Teddy with a boa constrictor [in a box, of course] when attending the Opera? Dare we walk the streets of Budapest clad only in furs. Shall wax mannequins take the place of dinner guests when insufficiently amusing and entertaining people are in town?

The Hattatts consider the future, as seen in a looking glass at the Ari Kupsus Gallery 

Whatever, we are decided to follow in the fetching footsteps of the Marchesa as we patronise the Arts amongst the young talent of Budapest. But, at all costs, we must avoid her final fate of running up debts of millions of dollars. Carpe Diem!

Footnote:
We have been overwhelmed with the number of comments received on our previous post. To each we have made reply but in order to see later ones it is necessary to click 'Load More' whilst for the most recent, then 'Load More' must be clicked for a second time. To 'Admirer', please feel free to be in touch by email.

228 comments:

  1. What a fascinating woman and what a life she led - I love those people who care not what other people think and have the courage of their convictions - I only wish I was more outgoing - there are so many opportunities I could have taken - only to opt for the safe option. You, I feel, are on the way to becoming legends in your own lifetime.

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    1. Like you, Elaine, we are fascinated by those people who really do live their lives in the way in which they choose, providing of course that in so doing they do not take advantage nor are hurtful of others. The safe option is always very tempting for each one of us, but not necessarily the most rewarding.

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  2. What an interesting post, I knew little of Marchesa Luisa Casati other than her name so I really did enjoy this.

    Re parents death, my main thought that I was happy for both my parents that they went quickly at different times with very little pain. I do though have so much of my Mum's things around the house, even 12 years later I find myself chatting to her!

    Have a good week Diane

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    1. An extraordinary woman, Diane, who certainly managed to run through a great deal of money whilst indulging her every whim!

      We think that it is so good to be reminded of your Mother, as clearly you are, with so many of her things now in your house and we certainly applaud your 'chatting' to her.

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  3. Ooh I love the Marchesa Casati! I bought myself a book about her! I say yes to all of the above; except do not oust Teddy! If you do take the boa, you must wear him as a shawl. What about glittering body paint, too? Bring on the leopard print and ruby lips! Xx

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    1. We do so agree, an absolutely fascinating and intriguing woman and one who had enormous, and very individual, style.

      Teddy's place is secure as, if truth is to be told, we do not really 'do' snakes!! But the idea of glittering body paint certainly has an appeal!

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  4. My deariest Jane and Lance,
    The picture of you, through the looking glass, is spectacular. If you ever publish your Memoirs, (Two Gallivanters, pardon my dictating the title) please use this on the cover. Looking at it again, it is a wonderful composition, deserving of the brush-strokes of Augustus John.
    You have my blessings in following the example as set by The Marchesa with one small caveat that there be no live jewellery. We do not want to disturb St. Patrick.
    Helen xx

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    1. You are so very, very kind about the picture, Helen. However, we think that Augustus John would have found more painterly material. It was actually taken last night at the gallery of our friend, Ari Kupsus, where we had gathered to present Scholarship awards to young students of The Fine Art Academy in Budapest. A possible future post!!

      We promise no live jewellery! In fact, apart from cats and dogs, we are not very good with livestock and definitely avoid reptiles.

      Longing to hear about the Irish house which must all be happening about now, or so we hopefully imagine. xxx

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  5. I must say I like the idea of being waited upon by gilded, naked youths, but someone in my position would have to get them to agree to a zero-hours contract, and that might mean them being turned away at the door by my butler, which would be a waste of gold for them.

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    1. For our part, we rather draw back at the price of gold leaf. But maybe, Tom, with your professional connections you are able to buy it wholesale. In which case, may we do a deal?!!

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    2. OK - deal. You supply me with the naked youths, and I'll get you a book or two of gold leaf at no cost.

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    3. Mmmmmmmm cannot help but think that the naked youths might prove a difficulty. So, just hold on to the gold leaf whilst we make some enquiries......would one youth do?......part-time....?

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    4. One would be fine - female preferred. I don't think my heart would take anything more than part-time in any case.

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    5. Doing our best. So far applications have come in from three OAPs, one hermaphrodite and a three-legged dog which, we understand, to belong to the President of Uruguay. But we shall not give up!

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  6. Good Morning Jane and Lance, Oh to be as brave as the Marchesa Luisa Casati. To have the courage to live life to the full and hopefully with no regrets. I wonder if I were given the opportunity, how would I fare, would I wear live jewellery.... no I do not think so.... but I applaud her for her bravery as she certainly lived the life she wanted to live. I am just sad that after living such a hedonistic lifestyle she died leaving a huge amount of debt. I wonder how she lived in the latter years of her life, did she run out of money before she died. I am intrigued, I am going to the library to see if I can find a book about her life.
    ....as for Teddy, keep him safe, do not replace him with a snake.
    Best Wishes to you both.
    Daphne

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    1. Sad to say, Daphne, the Marchesa Luisa Casati was, in all probability, somewhat feckless and, dare we say it, not a little self-centred. But that she had great style, and was hugely entertaining, cannot be denied and in those respects she is worthy of all our admiration.

      Teddy, we assure, you is perfectly safe and is not to be ousted by a snake! In fact he is much looking forward to a Salon Concert this evening!!

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  7. What a great photo of you both. Somehow I think of Marchesa Luisa Casati as having a lonely and superficial life with much too much to live up to, all the expectations of others but to not be afraid of independent living, flamboyance and joviality I can't help but admire and commend her.

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda, but we really think that we could do rather better with a more sophisticated camera. Ours is very basic. Doubtless much of the Marchesa Luisa Casati's life would have been seen to be superficial but both her style and imagination cannot be denied.

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  8. This is such an interesting post and I enjoyed reading about the Marchesa and her intriguing life which obviously gave her much happiness. Not everyone's cup of tea no doubt but it was her way of dealing with the death of her parents. My guess is she was a very extrovert woman and may have chosen this lifestyle anyway. Thankyou for this fascinating post.
    Patricia x

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    1. We rather think that you are right, Patricia. The death of the Marchesa's parents was, in all probability, the final prompt needed to live the kind of life she most likely intended to anyway. Certainly one would need to be rather more extrovert than shy and retiring.

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  9. Marchesa Luisa Casati sounds like someone I would loved to have known!
    I wish I had the courage to live my life with such honesty and lack of fear. I think it's probably hard to do this without the cushioning of some financial security, and thus independence.
    Having to hold down a job and pay a mortgage is a great dampener.....
    Thanks for this post, and I love the glimpse of you both in the mirror. I think naked guilded youth sound like a great idea!

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    1. We certainly think that she would have been enormous fun, Ruth, and definitely a woman of ideas. Such a life style does, alas, require much in the way of money to fund it and even then, as the Marchesa found, all too easily one can run up great debt.

      We are working on the gilded youth, naked or otherwise!

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  10. Dear Jane & Lance - eccentrics often spring from a background of privilege, but with childhoods deprived of the normal parental love. Perhaps this releases in them their inner free spirit, which in turn inhibits most of us.
    Please don't exchange teddy for a boa constrictor, and consider pink rather than vermillion for your hair and lips. Red and white sounds much too Transylvanian and gothic.

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    1. This is a most interesting thought, Rosemary, and one with which we should entirely concur. Certainly the backgrounds of the world's eccentrics are often at best slightly strange.

      No, thank you, Teddy's place is secure and we are taking your advice to heart over the particular shade of red as we have no desire to look Gothic!!

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  11. You both know about so many interesting and diverse people Jane and Lance …… it is always a pleasure to visit.
    I'm not one for gold ….. more of a silver girl myself so, I am off to but reams of silver leaf. First of all though, I need to find some willing and buff young men who don't mind being covered in the stuff !!!! I think that this particular trend should be kept alive !! XXXX

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    1. This is most kind of you, Jackie. We do find people, along with the ways of the world, to be endlessly fascinating and of interest.

      Certainly we should be just as happy with silvered youth as with gilded. Now if you can find the silver leaf [at a reasonable price, mind] we shall set about enticing suitable candidates to be painted!! What fun we shall have!

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  12. Hello Jane and Lance,
    I once attended a party where one guest came dressed as Marchesa Luisa Casati, in an outfit very similar to the one in the Cecil Beaton photograph. It was interesting to see the fun side of a woman usually referred to as the Rottweiler.

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    1. Tracey, how wonderful to have attended parties where the guests come dressed in such a manner. Please, please get us an invitation for the next!! We promise to be there whenever and wherever!

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  13. Dear Jane and Lance

    Another totally 'unboring' post if I can pick up on the closing paragraph of your last post ....!

    The Marchesa lived an extraordinary life in extraordinary times I feel, the like of which we will no doubt never experience again. But those debts! I love the photography of Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, they captured the mood of the 20s - 40s perfectly.

    I can imagine Budapest to be full of young artistic talent, much like Berlin.

    Jeanne x

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    1. Now, Jeanne, take care because you never know who might be struck down next!! And we are not certain that a 'Cottage Garden' will automatically be exempt!!

      Yes, rather sadly, people such as the Marchesa belonged very much to a period which, it would seem, has now disappeared for ever. How fortunate that to a degree it lives on through the photographs of people like Cecil Beaton.

      Berlin we have yet to discover. We hear such good things of that city.

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  14. Oh my! What a life and what a woman! My teatime read couldn't have been more interesting - thanks to you. I was also thinking of that "quintessentially yours, Oscar Wilde" quote when I started reading and only later found your mention of it. Lucky stroke of serendipity!?
    Taking the Wildean connection a little further, the Marchesa's life made me think of Dorian Grey - the wealth, the dandyism, the eccentricity, being every artist's dream-muse, and the imminent debt-debacle. It all fits so perfectly.

    This wonderful post so whetted my curiosity that I Googled her and found out that, apparently, none other than Coco Chanel was one of the bidders when the Marchesa's personal possessions were auctioned off.

    Regarding wax mannequins for dinner guests - I don't mind them in the least as long as they talk sense! :-)

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    1. An extraordinary woman, Suman, the like of which is, alas, no more. Of course, as you may imagine, Oscar Wilde is a firm favourite with us - witty and entertaining for the most part although there is a darker side which does emerge in Dorian Grey. And the similarities which you bring out between that fictional character and the real life Marchesa are both interesting and apt.

      Until now we did not know about Co Chanel's interest in the effects of the Marchesa. Fascinating. Thank you.

      And, Suman, we love your final sentence here. A person after our own hearts!!

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  15. PS. That is a beautiful picture of you in the looking glass. Keep being fabulous!

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    1. Thank you. But we really could do with a better camera!!

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  16. Dear Jane and Lance,

    As Mae West said, "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere." There is a lot to be said about living your life to the fullest and on your own terms. You two have done this and it seems splendid. As long as you can, never accept the ordinary.

    I have always thought that traditions were someone else's ideas and walking between the lines could be suffocating. Age has slowed me down and I have mellowed because it is easier now, and I need easy . However, there is still passion and dreams, and the fire within to still walk on the edge and surprise myself.

    Make history, dear friends, and write about it so we can all enjoy.

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    1. This Mae West quotation, Arleen, is absolutely splendid. Would that one had said it oneself!!. As for accepting the ordinary, that is something we all should endeavour to avoid for as long as possible.

      We love to think of your walking 'on the edge', which we are certain that you do in fact do, and we trust that you will never lose the passion and dreams of which you write. We think not!!

      And now we shall go, spurred on by you, to find our own edge wherein to walk.

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  17. Not to achieve, but to be - glorious!

    I had to smile at the "live jewelry". In search of distinction as a tenth- grader, I wore a white mouse on my sweater, just below the left shoulder. The mouse cooperated for about a week and I was complimented on the cute brooch. One teacher actually said she hoped it wasn't a real dead mouse and I truthfully replied "Oh, no." It came to an end when someone in study hall was sneaking bites of lunch. The mouse was caught and returned to the biology teacher and I was sent home.

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    1. This is the most wonderful story. We love it. And were it not for a slight, though foolish we know, fear of mice, white or otherwise, this would certainly be an idea to pick up on. As it is, what an excellent tale to dine out on.

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  18. Another fascinating post, Jane and Lance. If the fur is long enough, I do think you dare -smile-; it conjures up interesting visuals. I do count birthdays and, must admit, I am greedy in that respect...as I always want MORE birthdays enjoyed in good health and happiness. I am sad for people who make a choice of a half empty glass; even in the midst of grief, the glass was always half full and now, it's beginning to overflow again...thank God!

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    1. Sadly, Sandra, the fur is not really long enough, and we only have one between the two of us!!

      But we applaud that you still count birthdays. And where the glass is concerned, we are with you all of the way. The half empty one, which so many people appear to relish is, in our view, utterly depressing.

      For now, what we want most for you is that the start of your new life will come quickly and without hurt, pain or any regret.

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  19. Flamboyant people are still with us, but Luisa Casati seems to belong to an age in which one couldn't walk in a major city without encountering a silent film star walking her ocelot or panther. The key that makes her so intriguing is her total abandonment and disregard for consequences. Your note of caution will never do--you'll have to scatter your millions (preferably from an open touring car) if you wish to live up to her defiant attitude of "après moi, le déluge."
    --Jim

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    1. We should very much like to think, Jim, that flamboyant people, with the nature of Luisa Casati, are still with us. Perhaps they are just a little thinner on the ground than at one time.

      You are so right. There can be no place for caution of any kind. And when it comes to scattering our millions, we should be thankful that we are disposing of Hungarian Forint rather than Pounds Sterling for the former, where a coffee is several hundred, add up more quickly. Otherwise we stand no chance.

      By the way, can you lend us an open tourer?!!

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    2. Hello again. My Isotta is at your disposal...as soon as I get one!

      The Taiwan New Dollar also has a low unit value, lending a feeling of spreading largesse with each purchase, especially since they are called dollars and use the $ dollar sign.
      --Jim

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    3. Dear Jim, thank you so much for the offer of the Isotta. We can imagine it all......motoring along......wind in the hair........panthers straining at the leash........gilded youths in the back seat........what a sight we shall be!

      And, Taiwan New Dollars will be the currency of choice. Surely nobody will understand the exchange rate and we shall spend, spend, spend!

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  20. She sounds fascinating, and the kind of person one would love to be seated next to at the dinner party, provided one is not afraid of reptiles. Though I find myself at this stage of life hungry for travel and new experiences, and consider myself an aspiring bon vivant, I find that I'm leaning away from rather than toward an expression of flamboyance myself. I'd rather witness the performance than be the performance myself.

    And I must agree 100 per cent with your dismay about the lack of manners and gratitude that seems so prevalent these days. How much does it hurt just to say "thank you, it's lovely"?

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    1. Fascinating, yes, but most likely hugely exhausting to have lived with. For our part we should not have survived long at the dinner table once we had spotted the snake!!

      Knowing a little of your travels and joy of life, we are certain that you, in your turn, inspire and encourage others to live life to the full as you most surely do. And how wonderful is that.

      We agree, good manners cost nothing and can never be seen as 'empty words'.

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  21. Whatever you do, stay extraordinary and curious and so open minded! You could wear the snake instead of the fur....and leave the chinchilla in the box next to your opera seat! <3

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    1. Whatever we do, dearest Victoria, be assured it will NOT involve a snake!!

      But please, keep putting forward the ideas. Indeed, could you take on the role of PA?

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  22. I have never heard of the Marchesa before, and the photos of her are amazing. She had a very singular look, one of those women who were doubtless not considered pretty but whose personal flamboyance and unusual style made them beautiful and striking. I'm sure it was all rather exhausting too, being a living work of art, and as you say, financially ruinous!
    So, Jane, can we expect to see you snake-draped and wild-eyed? And Lance, will there be a coterie of admirers hanging on your every word? I do hope so!
    But for now, supporting the arts and living well and happily, that sounds good to me! Love the mirror photo, , what a stylish and delightful couple you are. I'm not in the least surprised that there was an outpouring of support, mingled with irritation and indignation, in response to your last post. You two are very well loved, with good reason. xxx

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    1. An extraordinary woman, Curtise. Yes, striking rather than beautiful but, as you say, with a style and manner which most certainly must have more than compensated. Clearly before embarking on a lifetime as 'a living work of art' it is necessary to give at least passing thought to the financial considerations lest we all end up impoverished in some London bedsit or equivalent.

      Quite how we shall stun the world is something which we are continuing to work on!! Alas, and we have no wish to disappoint, it will not involve reptiles of any sort.

      And now we are embarrassed at your kind words. You are very, very generous and it is much appreciated.

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  23. I read your previous post J & L, but didn't comment... feeling you had enough to do reading the huge number of comments already posted....and also that I could not have expressed my feelings any better than the majority of your commenters. Your posts are always fascinating, your lives, as described and observed by your incredible number of followers, thrill and entertain us...and this post just emphasises the unique flavour of your writing. I wait with baited breathe to see what direction you take next.....long live the kind of eccentricity embarked upon by the Marchessa. It might not be what we all want to do, but we can all live vicariously and really really enjoy your take on everything around you. Jx

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    1. We were, and are, most touched by the expressions of support and the great kindness shown to us through the comments on our last post, Janice. People have been so very generous and thoughtful.

      Really, as for most people who blog, we write of things which interest us or of moments we should like to record [for what purpose we remain unclear - perhaps reading in our dotage!]. That other people should read what we write, and comment, is so very wonderful and something which is never taken for granted. But this we feel is the same with us all.

      As for people like the Marchesa, long may they add joy, zest and interest to all of our lives.

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  24. Hello Jane and Lance,
    first, that is a lovely photo of you both at the Ari Kupsus Gallery, even if you are snake-less!
    The Marchesa Luisa's face seem to have appeared out of the blue to me a number of times. An utterly haunting face she had which itself was an artwork..
    To me she is something from out of a Renaissance portrait, yet from out of the Modernist age, vulnerable yet invincible, having lashings of sophistication.
    I imagine that for her every day was an adventure and an opportunity not to be wasted. Somehow the celebrities we get these days don't quite stack up!

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    1. Alas, Faisal, we sense that you are disappointed with not a snake in sight. Happily, negotiations are well under way with the Budapest Zoo and we really do promise that the next 'selfie' will show us seated on an elephant with a couple of panthers in tow en route for the Opera House.

      Yes, the Marchesa's face is so distinctive and we see exactly what you mean by saying that it has a 'haunting' quality and that, possibly, great sadness lies behind the mask which is braved to the world. Certainly vulnerable.

      Now that everyday should be an adventure is something to which we should all aspire.

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    2. If you would be so kind as to provide me with a diamond studded turban and a large ostrich feather fan, I would be delighted to offer my services as your attendant for the elephant ride. Just a thought.

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    3. This is the best offer we have received in a long time. Would you be happy to have a little strategic gilding too. Not too much, of course, since that could be seen as vulgar!

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  25. I think we should all be a little more like this lady and not follow the pack. Especially when we are adults, we need to be our own unique self. I personaly do not want to be like others (that was when I was a teenager) ... I've grown since then ;-)

    Great article... more people should read this and know it is better to be yourself, than to act/dress like others ♥

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    1. We can never think of you, Launna, as following any pack and certainly we see you very much as your own person.

      But, as you say, as teenagers did we not all work so very hard not to stand out, not to appear different? And is it not the same with the young today? No, long live the individuality of the individual.

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  26. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Vogue occasionally publishes archived photos of the Marchesa Luisa Casati and I am always fascinated whenever I read mentions of her - she lived without fear and took every opportunity to turn the everyday into a living work of art. She is a figure who continues to inspire and draw much admiration, and I can see you following in her steps - minus the boa constrictor, but definitely with gilded youths!

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    1. Without doubt, Louise, the Marchesa was very much a person of her time and one who certainly made a huge impact on so many different areas of life whilst she lived. We are not at all surprised to learn that, even today, she features in Vogue.

      Now, if only you can find us the gilded youths.....!!

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  27. A life More Extraordinary---now THAT has a better ring to it than the old Life Less Ordinary, like comparing a perfect, perfectly-ordinary tree of apples to the Hesperides’ golden fruit.

    Such a sober, vulnerable face for a life of such fripperous nature---surely one of such deliberate cultivation of images to shock must sometimes let an impish expression show through. Your three photos had me wondering if Chiparus were standing just THERE, sketching madly before she flitted away, and if perhaps she’d never learned much beyond drawing a crowd---she has the air of one who never needed learn to tie her shoes..

    I knew nothing of her, her crowded, frantic, lonely life, her penchant for the shocking and new, and the century-ago what’s-new-again originality of Gaga-in-a-swan-suit, with vivid images from the pens and brushes and clay and lenses of the talented world she lived in. So the past hour has been spent in immersion in all these lines and shapes, as she moved through her milieu like a solemn, outrageous magnet to the artistic and gifted, as well as a retinue of the born-jaded-and-bored. Monocles seem microscopes, as some of the onlookers peer at her as if studying strange life forms.

    http://www.rocaille.it/infiniti-auguri-alla-nomade-luisa-casati/

    Her “words are vain” quote has me wondering if her fascinating appeal ended when she opened her mouth.

    And so we collect---each in our own fashion, the ones who fit our molds---mine the quiet, calm folks with much to say nevertheless, the easy togetherness of family, the camaraderie of old friends. Your own lively, interesting avant garde entourage of admirers and fans are legion, it seems, gathering momentum and number by the day, and scattering fun and wit and enthusiastic adventures with happy abandon and a generous hand. I so applaud your fostering and furthering such a wide array of young folks and their dreams; would that every aspiring beginner learn and lean on such a team of faithful supporters.

    I love that you two think and live so far Out of the Box, and Push the Envelope of style and adventure and dash so far that it’s practically a packing crate. You BRIGHT me with your ideas and stories, and seldom do I not learn a new facet of this fascinating world. I cannot tell you how much it’s appreciated.

    I’d never think to want to BE you, but I’m certainly glad that YOU are.

    rachel

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    1. Rachel, you describe so well here that extraordinary, utterly fascinating, in part charmed, in part doomed, life that was the Marchesa. How she spun a web into which she lured the famous, the infamous, the rich and the poor, you recognize it all, and also how, or so it seems, there was always a vulnerability which would, in the end, lead to poverty, self-doubt, and maybe self-destruction.

      "Words are vain".We too have considered what might lie behind this and have, somewhat reluctantly, drawn rather the same conclusion that, intellectually, she may well not have been a match for many of her admirers.

      Each to his or her own is a maxim to which we pay full homage believing as we do, and have said so often, that the individuality of the individual is of paramount importance. Indeed, we acknowledge the truth that "they also serve who only stand and wait" - something of which none of us should ever lose sight.

      But, Rachel, it is you, through your wonderful descriptive prose and fertile imagination, who opens so many doors for us and allows us to glimpse lives and events which, otherwise, would lie totally beyond our experience and understanding. Never, never either underestimate that or let it be forgotten.

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  28. Have read about this lady, her mother died when she was 11, then her father two years after. The debt was millions of dollars at her death. However, she seemed to want to be different and there is nothing wrong in that, even paying to have many of her portraits painted.
    I like your selfie :)

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    1. Yes, the Marchesa was parentless at an early age,married soon after and estranged from her husband soon after that. It is, perhaps, understandable that she decided to carve out a path for herself that paid little attention to what she had known before and that only seemed to bring dissatisfaction.

      Her considerable wealth had entirely disappeared by the time of her death but, spending on Art seems to us as good a way as any to spread largesse.

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  29. For no good reason whatsoever, the zany '20s poet Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven comes to mind. Her "A Dozen Cocktails Please," if I've done this correctly, should be here. But, actually, your support of young artists is much more constructive, as well as fun!

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    1. We had to 'google' the delicious Baroness, Susan, as she was completely unknown to us. How absolutely right you are that Baroness Elsa should come to mind with talk of the Marchesa. Now what a perfect cocktail party that would be with the crazy Baroness reciting her poetry....naked, of course...and the Marchesa, gilded and posing with panthers, acting out each line of verse. And, dearest Susan, we are sure that you could decide upon the perfect musical accompaniment to the whole proceedings. Air on a G string.....?

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  30. I love reading about personalities such as this somewhat flamboyant woman. I was not familiar with her but if Man Ray and Cecil Beaton captured her in their lenses, she must have been spectacular! I admire women (and men) who live outside the bounds of conformity. Bravery and fortitude are required, especially if physical beauty is lacking, and yes, plenty of bank notes too (or these days credit cards perhaps!). Thanks for the history - another woman to add to that list of "why couldn't I have been brave and outgoing like her".

    No, please no snakes, I just want to meet Teddy next year!
    Great pic of you two - hope to take my own versions when we meet!
    Hugs from hot (90F today) Raleigh.
    Mary

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    1. Certainly there must have been something about the Marchesa, Mary, to have attracted so much attention and she was never short of those who wished to paint or photograph her. Some of the Beaton images are outstanding.

      In a world which increasingly appears to be attracted to mediocrity, we should indeed hail those who have the courage, as you say, to "live outside the bounds of conformity". There are, or so we feel, too few of them. But it is true, such a lifestyle does not come cheaply.

      Teddy is already, and no more so than we, eagerly anticipating your visit. We cannot wait.

      Poor you in 90F - that seems exceptionally hot for the time of year.

      Love from us both. xxx

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  31. A brilliant post Jane and Lance,
    I most probably would relish in wearing just a long fur coat, with a large ostrich feather to boot. The largest dog one could imagine .. and walk to the theatre. Hopefully to enchant some of the gilded youths.
    What a great personage was Marchesa Luisa Casati. How can one but admire her being her true self. Applause needed.
    Dare I write, that people who live in little boxes and are programmed to do just what they are told. Grow to be the most boring of people.
    How I love, excentric people. Without them the wold would be a dull place.
    Enjoy the wonderful spring days.. and your arts and visits to beautiful places.
    xx val

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    1. Now, Valerie, the addition of the ostrich feather is, since you have mentioned it, a MUST. So too is the dog, obediently walking to heel of course, perhaps held on a long, silver chain. We need your ideas where all of this is concerned!!

      Yes, we do agree that there is something very commendable about the Marchesa. She most definitely was her own woman.
      As for your remark about people who live in little boxes, now, Valerie, we could not possibly comment!!!!!! But yes, long live eccentricity!

      Suddenly the weather has taken a turn and we are enjoying days of warm sunshine. We hope it is so with you.

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  32. Dear Jane and Lance, once again your post has brought me sunshine on a cool and rainy day. Extraordinary lives can be traveled in so many ways, even in our era in which so many folks seem permanently connected to so-called smart phones.

    What I always find here is your joyous elan and esprit, lifted by energy and generosity. It seems clear that I am not alone in this appreciation.

    I think many of us do try to thread a needle between responsibility and adventurous curiosity and experience. Gosh...wondering what can happen next is what encourages me to wake up every morning.

    Now I am going to grab my umbrella, travel across town to the Met to meet a friend and see a newly opened Charles James exhibit. Wish you all could join us there! xo

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    1. We are so sad for you, Frances, that you are suffering yet more rain. What a winter you have had.

      Oh, we do so need to get together. So many, many things to talk about, discuss, and laugh over and not least the ever present so-called, as you say, smart phone by which, through being connected, the world for the most part seems entirely disconnected.

      But we know you too to find enormous joy in life and you have that wonderful gift, so lacking in so many, of seeing interest in, and taking pleasure from, the smallest of things which for the most part are overlooked and then, sadly, lost for ever.

      That there is a balance to be had, such as you point out, is true but, and again we know this to be so of you, sometimes there is a need to put care aside and embrace the adventure that is life.

      How wonderful to be going to an exhibition right now. Shortly we shall leave for a Salon Concert. Let us enjoy!!

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  33. No, I don't see either of you with a pet boa. Might I suggest an ermine? One with a jeweled collar and a leash of grosgrain ribbon. Of course you would need to train it to ride on your shoulders, should the pavement be wet or dirty.

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    1. Now you are talking, Mark!!

      But we have thought for some time now that what we truly believe to be your beautifully painted and precisely executed room is very much something which the Marchesa would have adored. As indeed do we, and cannot wait to see it finished.

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    2. Thank you so much! That you both are enjoying my Pompeian Room means a lot to me!

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    3. It is such an ambitious undertaking of the kind seldom carried out in private houses these days. But what is really exceptional and so remarkable is the quality of your work.

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  34. Oh my, oh my, oh my, dear Jane and Lance. What can you two bon-vivants extraordinare be contemplating? The gilded youths idea sounds a bit intriguing I must admit, but I veto the snake. Surely one can live an extraordinary life minus reptiles.

    The Marchesa sounds like she lived life to the fullest and had plenty of minions to help with her extraordinariness. And the twenties was the right time for running wild in just her sort of way. I shudder to think what a living work of art would look like today.

    You already live an extraordinary life, Jane and Lance. Just keep doing what you're doing and allow us to follow along via blog. :)

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    1. To be honest, Yvette, even we think that the snake is a step too far. And maybe these days one has to have all manner of permissions. No, we shall stick with the gilded youths!

      Certainly the Marchesa's life was made easier by having the means, at least until the end when poverty struck, to afford help when and where needed. We doubt that she actually caught live mice, or whatever might have been required, to feed to the boa constrictor.

      And you are so very kind to continue to support us in our wilful ways.

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  35. The problem with being "a living work of art" is the ageing process. You might look excellent at 18, but less gorgeous at 50 and downright saggy at 70. Ditto the entourage of aesthetes, artists, bon-vivants, poets, writers, dancers and dandies..they also age. So if you are going to stroll down the Budapest streets in nothing but a fan, I would say "devoted yes, saggy no" :)

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    1. Oh, Hels, this is so true!! But the whole ageing process, whether "a living work of art" or not, is somewhat depressing if one allows oneself to think about it too much.

      But, the rest, in the way of the, one hopes, devoted admirers, can be replaced from time to time - age should not weary them [to misquote Laurence Binyon].

      Maybe we should have second thoughts about our appearance on the streets of Budapest!!

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  36. Love the premise: 'to live life more extraordinary'. . .I think we all should strive for that, to cast off the old framework that defined us and try on new outfits, new locations, new experiences (while, as you note, not dying in the 'poor house' for the expenses associated with such an experience). We often comment that we feel more alive when we travel than when we are at home confronting the routine responsibilities. . .maybe finding a balance between the two should be a goal, but psst, I'd really rather be traveling! Have a wonderful weekend you two!

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    1. Well, Jackie and Joel, nobody could accuse you two of staying at home. You, more than anyone, really are living life to the full. And how wonderful is that!

      What is more, we should never, as you so rightly say, become defined by the 'old framework' but rather, whenever possible, embrace all that you outline here. And if we do all end up in the poor house, well then at least we will have lived.

      And now, as we write this, we do so hope that your thoughts are turning to your next trip. We rather suspect so!!

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  37. A fascinating woman...I simply must find out more about her.

    What a great photo of you two...but I don't see any snakes, I think you are both very interesting without them.

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    1. A fascinating and rather a strange woman too, Adrienne, but one not without interest.

      And nor will you see us with snakes, or actually any kind of livestock!!

      Delete
  38. What a fascinating woman. I'm sure I must've seen her image 1000 times over and not realised it. How wonderful to live so freely!

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    1. Certainly the Beaton images are often to be seen even after all of these years. To live so freely is without doubt marvellous but always, or so one feels, there is a price to be paid.

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  39. But dear Jane and Lance-you already DO live a life more extraordinary! You are the bon vivants that the Marchesa could only hope to be! You have a following of aesthetes, writers,artists, dandies and more without the tedium of white makeup (itchy), naked servants (persnickity and unhygienic, we had to let ours go) and snakes (off-putting). You bring culture, light and happiness to all corners of the globe with polish, grace and dignity -much more appealing than to shock and disturb

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    1. You are so very kind and generous in what you say here, Bebe, and would that a fraction of it were true.

      But could we not even have a go at the white painted faces? And any servants these days, naked or clothed, pernickity and possibly unhygienic, are surely to be seized upon, paid a fortune, given ample time off, their every whim accommodated, treasured for evermore simply because the are that impossible commodity, staff. However, we are at one with you over the snakes!!

      Seriously, we are seriously embarrassed - but nicely so. Thank you.

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  40. One of the signs of a very good writer is the ability to thoroughly trounce expectation and chuck it out the door. As I am reading this post, imagining my fairy godparents parentless, I am seized at the chest with a mix of worry, sorrow and chagrin for my own mother, who recently lost her second parent and, I'm fairly certain, felt 'all of these things,' as Amory surmised. Just as I am allowing my heart to be led in one direction, the image of naked, gilded youths serving lemonade in the afternoon is impressed upon me and I find myself guffawing before I have fully processed the turn on which I have just been led!

    Your minds are Wilde, your spirits Casati and your capacity to entertain, amuse, inspire, enlighten and celebrate--even at great distances--is unparalleled! I am only so, so, so pleased that in this wide world, you have found each other, photographed yourselves in the looking glass and cast the light of curious adventures on my morning tea.

    xx
    Your FGD.

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    1. Darling FGD,

      As you will know from your recent experience with the death of your grandmother, such sad happenings affect one possibly more than one realises. Much time has now passed since the death of each one of our parents and it is true, time is a great healer.

      Your image of the naked gilded youths delights us. Unfortunately, to date they have been rather slow in coming forward even though we are prepared to meet the cost of the gold leaf. Meanwhile, the lemonade prepared in readiness is in danger of turning sour!!

      FGD, what can we possibly say? Your words are so very, very kind and mean so much to us for we know that they come from the heart. And one day, surely, we shall say all that we wish to, all that we must, face to face and how glorious will that day be.xxx

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  41. I actually am not familiar with this amazing woman and all I kept thinking in my head of "move over Lady Gaga"!

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    1. Well, in the competition stakes, Jane, we rather think that the Marchesa might win hands down!

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  42. I now know I am old because I feel life with Teddy would be far more true than the life of costumes and extravagance. However, I would keep Wilde on the side for a bit of wit and comfort.
    Regardless, the photos are beautiful.

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    1. To be truthful, Linda, there is something very reassuring and comfortable about Teddy and we certainly would not give him up for a boa constrictor. Mad we may be, but not that mad!!

      Wilde is always a companion to keep close to one's side as an endless source of fun and amusement.

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  43. Very sad to have suffered such a great loss at an early age-I can't help thinking it may have sent her a little crazy. Eccentric people are often not such happy souls under the guise of their unusual lifestyles. However I hope she was truly a happy and genuinely loved person.
    Now I know I have a few cats and dogs about the house and the occasional herring gull under my arm....but her animals sound fantastic!

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    1. We do so agree with you here that very often those who appear to be the life and soul of the party, so to speak, may underneath be lost souls or, at best, totally lacking in self-esteem.

      In reality we should be much happier with cats and dogs - even a herring gull under the arm would possibly alarm us. Fantastic animals they may have been but we do know our limitations!!

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  44. I must say everything you wrote about the enchanting and eccentric Marchesa sounded divine up until the point you mentioned her sn.... (I can't even type the word). Horror of horrors! No, something fury is much more to my taste so do please keep a tight grip on old Ted.

    The photograph in the looking glass is priceless. So much more interesting than today's rather banal "selfies". Well done!

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    1. It is actually at the point of the sn..., carried around in an ornamental box, that we too part company with the Marchesa and we, like you, are made of strong stuff. Be assured, Teddy remains.

      We are so pleased that you like the picture taken in the looking glass, It was taken, almost by accident, in the gallery of our friend on Wednesday night.

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    2. Oops, that would be furry, not fury (heavens!)

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    3. Worry not, we read it as 'furry'!! Have a lovely weekend.

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  45. Crikey, and here am I looking forward to a life of mucking out the chickens and making jam!

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    1. Well, Jean, when it comes to homemade jam we are quite ready to walk to the ends of the earth - and certainly France!!

      Our attempts, many years ago, at keeping chicken somewhat ended in failure.

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  46. I agree with Launna. I am totally for NOT following the pack :) too many people lose their own identity by doing that.

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    1. We so agree. In today's world, with pressure coming in from so many directions it is, we feel, quite difficult for young people to strike out on their own and, to mix metaphors, swim against the tide.

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  47. Your thoughts resonate with my thoughts once again.
    I was planning to publish a post that is related to this theme...
    Thank you.

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    1. But how splendid that that is the case, Julia. We do so hope that you will do exactly as planned and we shall, as always, look forward to it.

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  48. Love this! When my Dad died about a year and half a go it was like a dam broke and I decided it was time to be truly me, quite my job and have never looked back. Hmmm gilded youth. I'm in! Tally-ho, I say!

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    1. Gosh, we are really impressed with this, Wendy. It is strange how in life certain things become a catalyst for change, often unexpected and unplanned.

      Now, may we enlist you help to recruit some gilded youths? Little success here on that front so far!!

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  49. Dear Jane and Lance: I haven't heard of her before - thank you so much because now I have someone to research and read up about!!!!
    And I just purchased some colorful hair dye - I'm not going to dye all my hair, just some streaks of pink and purple!

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    1. The Marchesa was, most certainly, a figure of her time, admired and followed by many, and her life was both fascinating and extraordinary, if not a little bizarre.

      How wonderful, Carol, to add some pink and purple colour to your hair. Now this we are tempted to copy. Go for it!!

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  50. She was indeed an extraordinary woman. Eccentric, too! I'm admiring that stunning mirror - gorgeous!!! What a showstopper! And hello there, Lance and Jane :)

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    1. Just the kind of woman who, or so we believe, would have made a superb dinner party guest but who to live with would, in all likelihood, have been thoroughly demanding and exhausting. Probably better to read about. Most likely true of us too!!!!

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  51. Hi Jane and Lance,

    This is an interesting post and I enjoyed reading about so much!

    Cheers!

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    1. Thank you so much.

      We have enjoyed discovering more about the delicious Luisa, Marchesa di Casati ourselves. If only she were free for dinner!

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  52. Darlings Jane & Lance.
    To echo Bebe's comments above, you do greatly undervalue your own powers and influence. And like I was just telling my prized co-conspirator (again the enchanting Bebe) I will introduce the term Hattattian (rhymes with Alsatian) Influence during my 1st Lion's Den post to be a future reference to those who wish to gain a thorough understanding of your true value. It will perhaps introduce to other people of means the value of supporting the Arts and artists in ways that are every bit as critical as muse.
    When a muse causes genius to pay an artist a short visit, that artist must be ready or the opportunity is lost. Oftentimes an artist merely needs a little kindness, encouragement, or minor patronage to weather the storms and ready him for when the clouds clear, the stars align, and the moment is right. You are doing this for artists you do know such as the wonderful Mr Orr and those you don't yet know.

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    1. Darling G,

      Now we shall cover ever deepening embarrassment by saying, with due modesty, we hope, that we simply adore the term Hattattian [to rhyme with Alsatian!!] and will, henceforth, casually drop it into all conversations with the yet to be acquired admirers, whose purpose in life will be to hang on our every word, and when surrounded with the yet to be acquired, naked, gilded youths. Some acquisitions to be made this weekend!!

      Where the young artists, and musicians too, who we know are concerned, then most certainly they contribute far more to the way of enriching our lives than we can ever do for them. But in the process we have enormous fun.

      And, as a matter of interest, perhaps, to you, yesterday Máté Orr was here for lunch and brought the preliminary sketches for a new painting we commissioned. It will be fabulous with at least one naked youth - it remains to be seen how gilded!!

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    2. I do love Hattattian (especially as I say it with a French accent to make it rhyme nicely with Alsatian). It reminds me of another lovely phrase: "How very Audrey of you." Hepburn, of course...

      Delete
    3. We do agree, such phrases have a rather delicious ring to them and especially when pronounced with a foreign accent.

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  53. I always believe in learning something new! and today it is the Marchesa (I will not count any of the boring things I have learned today in work, far too dull!) what a magnificent woman, I have a such admiration for those who choose to live their life in a way that is truly their own, it must also be why I also admire you two so much! x x x

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    1. It is, we agree, Sandra, always fun to learn new things and we like to think that possibly the life and times of the Marchesa has, at least in part, brightened your day. Alas, there are too few of such people about these days but, and we mean this most sincerely, you more than anyone know what it is to have individual style and to carry it off with flair and imagination.

      Delete
  54. The looking glass photo is intriguing.
    Your life seems extraordinary to me just as it is.

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    1. The looking glass image really did come about as a matter of chance, Terry, and we are so pleased that you like it.

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  55. You guys are the best--true beacons in the dark night of the ordinary.
    Much Love!

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    1. This is so, so kind of you, Jen. We send our best love to you and good wishes for a happy weekend.

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  56. That's a fabulous photo of the both of you Jane and Lance! One other saying that sprung to mind when I started reading your post was, You never cease to be a baby until both parents pass away. A bit morbid but part of growing up is the recognition of the mortality of loved ones.

    Inspiring post, to embrace life with vibrancy and full gusto for the arts, for beauty and expression! Shame that Man Ray and Cecil Beaton are no longer with us, I can just imagine how great a subject you two will be for them (I'm an admirer of their work).

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    1. We are pleased that you like the photograph but, as we have said to others, it really did come about by chance. You are actually right. It is only with the death of one's parents that one becomes an adult in one's own right. A sobering thought.

      We adore in particular Beaton's photographs and have many books by him. Did you know that his house, Ashcombe, was until fairly recently owned by Madonna who, we imagine, most likely ruined it?

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  57. Eccentricity can of course be amusing, but there is unfortunately a flip side, and it's nice to have good reliable types around too, who don't scare the horses. Eccentrics can of course transgress in the norms of life that we enjoy, (and which you you wrote about in your preceding post.) Although we all have our idiosyncracies, I am glad to be married to one who (mostly) fits into the "good reliable" category. I don't dress up in lampshades either, much to everyone's relief, I'm sure!

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    1. Indeed, one does not wish the horses to be scared, or at least not too often!! We, as we suspect you too, would rather go for some kind of balance where a degree of control is retained. But that said, spare us all from that which is dull and mediocre even if at times one is left feeling slightly outside of one's comfort zone.

      Now, dressing up in lampshades..........there's a thought!!

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  58. That woman looks fabulous. We went to the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition at the Barbican yesterday - also fabulous and very much her style! On finding ourselves parentless and empty-nested, we went out and bought a fridge-full of Marks ready meals and a crate of champagne!

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    1. Now,Stephanie, to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition we really do call that fabulous and so much in the spirit of the Marchesa.

      We love the idea when finding yourselves once more together alone of buying in all the ready meals, delicious, and the champagne, superb. That is living!!

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  59. My darling Jane and Lance,

    As always, what a beautifully written piece. Gorgeous photographs and very thought-provoking.

    My usual source of style is a quick flick through Harper's Bazaar and Horse and Hound, but I've burnt both magazines (tired of reading about Z-list transvestite raconteur, Gloria Girdle, in Horse and Hound magazine).

    I'm hooked now to your blog entries, so please keep the wonderful art coming. My little corner of Buckinghamshire is a cultural desert.

    Fanny xxx

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    1. Fanny darling,

      This is so very kind of you.

      Be grateful, darling, for 'Horse and Hound' for the Motherland can offer nothing comparable. Indeed 'style' here is to be perceived as a tooth pick on a dingy café table. What is more, the latest image of Belladonna would instantly qualify her for any catwalk! Think on that!!

      Thank you so much for your comment on our previous post To see it and read our reply, if you can at all be bothered, is to click on 'Load More' where it appears by the comment box. A new page will appear. Scroll down and click for a second time on 'Load More'. Scroll down and, hey presto!! Takes no more of your time than to fill in the average Tax form!! xxx

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  60. The only problem with so many comments is that reading them all becomes a Herculean task, so perhaps I shall just risk repeating what others have said. Following in the footsteps of the Marchesa sounds like a great idea. But do keep that snake under strict control. And I do agree that a wax mannequin might sometimes be more entertaining than a particularly dull dinner guest.

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    1. But it is always so good to hear from people and sometimes, as you will know yourself, Nick, interesting ideas or even lively debate can ensue.

      Snakes are firmly where they belong. As for the mannequins around the dinner table, that could well have mileage. Certainly they would on occasion be more lively than the average fellow diner to be found in a restaurant nowadays.

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  61. Yes, do all of those things! The wonderful Lee Miller had a holiday in which they farted about gloriously, dresssed up and painted and wrote poetry. Am furious not to have been there...

    https://www.google.co.uk/searchq=surrealists+lamb+creek+cornwall&es_sm=91&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=78lsU6KpOcOlO8TegPAB&ved=0CEoQsAQ&biw=1285&bih=872

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    1. Those surely were the days. And how wonderful to have been part of it all. What fun one would have had.

      In the meantime, Elizabeth, we must all make the effort if not to recapture those times, then at least to make our own.

      Thank you so much for the link.

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  62. I love the picture of you both in the mirror - very evocative. As always an interesting and thought provoking post and a reminder of more glamorous, although obviously extremely expensive, times. Still, the Marquesa obviously enjoyed life to the full and that is surely the right way to go about it. But I don't need to tell you that!

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    1. Yes, Marianne, the downside to those times is that, most certainly, they were enormously expensive and to try to emulate them these days would be crippling.

      We imagine that the Marchesa's life was led to the full but even she must have longed for some quiet respite at times.

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  63. Love seeing you looking towards your future in the looking glass. Such a pair as to be fused as one!

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art, my very favorite museum in the whole world, did a photography exhibition on the many guises and creations of the miraculous Marchesa. Needless to say, as somewhat of an eccentric myself at the time (alas, how things have changed!), I dressed for the occasion. ;)
    Bon weekend!
    Bisous,
    H

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    1. Your approval of the photograph in the looking glass is praise indeed, Heather, for both you and Remi are, without dispute, recognized as professionals in this field.

      What a splendid exhibition that must surely have been and what fun to have dressed for it appropriately. There are so very many reasons we have for wishing to visit the United States and The Metropolitan Museum of Art is not least among them.

      Jó hétvégét! xxx

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    2. Merci et pour vous deux aussi! ;)

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    3. France, USA, Hungary, UK........ the miles separate us physically but not our spirits. xxxx

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  64. I myself became parentless in my early 20s. Although devastating, it gave me the wings to fly, as if their untimely deaths were the gift of freedom. Strange but true. I believe I have lived a life less ordinary as a result, moving around the globe with no home ties. I wouldn't change a moment of it. I learnt of the Marchesa upon winning the book of her life from wonderful Paul of The Magical Cristmas Wreath Company in a giveaway last year. What a fascinating creature. As for her poverty, I am trying hard to emulate this, enjoying my time on this earth at any expense. As my old man used to say, "enjoy my darling, there are no pockets in a shroud"! Maybe her daddy told here the same. I feel a connection with her. I am blessed. I hope to, one day, share time at the dining table with you. Do you enjoy laughter? If yes, then it's destiny :-)
    Di
    X

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    1. Dianne, we are so sorry to learn of the death of your parents at such an early stage in your life. Undoubtedly, this early independence must have made a great impact on the pathways you have followed. All credit to you that you have forged such a highly individual lifestyle for yourself.

      What an incredible coincidence that you should know of the Marchesa through the book which you won. And, even more amazing that there should be such resonance between aspects of your life and hers. Sometimes one cannot help but feel that fate does play a major role in where one goes in life.

      And, yes, most certainly we do love to laugh at the dining table and to talk until we drop. We just know that we should all enjoy each other's company enormously. Forget the gilded youths and live reptiles.....just sail that boat of yours up the Danube and call in on us. Fun and laughter guaranteed!

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  65. As I still have one remaining parent, I am wondering what on earth I'm going to get up to in the future. I rather like the idea of being daring but I am generally sensible with money so I'm sure that would put a stop to any excesses. And yet I've always loved the poem by Jenny Joseph, Warning, which I think might have just the right amount of naughtiness in old age for me, without going as far as the Marchesa.

    Have just caught up with your previous post and was very saddened to read it. How anyone could not be delighted by a treat in your company, when your readers here delight in just reading your words, is beyond me.

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    1. The Marchesa really does inspire one to think well outside the box, that is for certain but perhaps some of her more outlandish activities are best avoided if one does not wish to carry out a jail sentence in old age! Yes, Jenny Joseph's words have a stronger resonance with us too.

      We were, as you can imagine, very saddened by the whole event and we do, as you say, receive such immense kindness in these columns from people who we regard as friends but are, in reality, strangers. Amazing when someone to whom one feels close can treat one so unkindly. But, Trish, the show and we must go on....and we have.

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  66. Dear Jane & Lance,

    Oh dear, hope Annebelle and I will recognise you at the airport when you arrive! White faces, vermilion lips....what to expect? You are not going to have a sleeve are you Lance?!

    Oh, I have to say, we are not to keen on boa constrictors. We don't mind a hamster and an owl is ok too!

    Ahh......perhaps I will follow your example and step in Marchesa's footsteps too. I would love to be a guest al those stylish dinner parties!

    Un fine settimana piacevole cara Jane e Lance.

    Madelief x

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    1. Darling Madelief you will recognise us as the people running from the plane and throwing their arms around you both. This is going to be such a special moment, there will be no doubt as to who we are as we cast all inhibitions aside and embrace you! Not long now!

      We were never really keen on the boa constrictor idea in the first place, to be honest. A feather boa is much more our style. And, we have to confess that hamsters are not favourites of ours. Still, we could give an owl a chance.......

      And, darling Madelief, we should be happy to forego any number of dinner parties to have an invitation to one of your exceedingly stylish teas in your garden. There can be nothing more delightful in our eyes than sharing your company in that idyllic place. And.....just to think.....we shall be there any day now! Yippee!

      All love to you all, Jane and Lance xxx

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  67. Being Hattattian - if I may borrow from a comment above - you need none of the affectations of the lady to be the light of whichever society you choose....and I rather covet that mirror.

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    1. Helen, this us so generous and kind of you. Your words have touched us more than we can say.

      We too covet the looking glass. It is big, very big and we have just the place for it. Now, if only we had the Marchesa's initial inheritance it would be ours!

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  68. Hi Jane and Lance,

    Some very interesting and challenging questions, indeed! Thank you for introducing me to a woman who was not afraid to express her passion for art, music, the theatre and life, at a time when such declarations were considered risque.

    Hoping you have a wonderfully inspiring weekend!

    Poppy

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    1. Yes, Poppy, you are so right. The Marchesa was not afraid to challenge stereotypes and the establishment, something it is not always easy or comfortable to do. We too admire this characteristic of hers and do try to keep true to our principles at all times even though this can mean swimming against a very strong tide on occasions.

      Hoping that your weekend is going well.

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  69. Hmmm... not sure about the pet snake (or exotic pets, no matter which ones). Call me oldfashioned and uninspired, but I am quite sure that nobody who does run a properly equipped zoo can really offer such animals a lifestyle that suits their nature (and even then, it is questionable). I actually like snakes, but I would consider it most unfair to the poor thing to keep one at home.

    Actually, the huge number of comments that are usually to be found at the bottom of all your posts has, more than once, made me wonder whether I should be commenting at all. It just seems so irrelevant, one comment more or less from someone living such an ordinary life as me not making any difference.

    It will be interesting to see pictures of the two of you wearing nothing but fur and with chalk white faces and vermillion lips!

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    1. We should certainly not think badly of you, Meike, for having certain reservations about a pet snake and, like you, we should prefer that all wild animals be found only in their natural habitat.

      The comments which people are kind and generous enough to leave on our posts are, believe us, the most satisfying part of the whole blogging experience and it is through them that we have built up the most wonderful and valuable friendships, many of which have translated into real life. Please, never think otherwise.

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  70. Jane and Lance, I'm quite sure you don't need to follow any example, even one as unusual and esoteric as the Marchesa, to make your own unique mark on the world. Your breadth of interest and openness to experience are enough in themselves to ensure your place. Uber-eccentricity must be very hard to live with. :-)

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    1. This is so kind of you, Perpetua. But your words come from someone whose life has always been open to whatever is new, to the acceptance of different challenges [which cannot always have been easy], and to embracing change from whatever direction it may have come. And today you continue to seek adventure in your daily life - all of this we admire so greatly.

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  71. I'd try live jewellery first and see if it limits your dining arenas.

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    1. An interesting thought. One we are tempted to try!!

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  72. She was indeed a very interesting individual, but from what i can see from your blog, you two Jane and Lance quite extraordinary in your own right. Rarely do i come across people who live life to the fullest, but you two definitely seem to do.
    Hope your weekend is going well.

    Red

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    1. We do rather find people like the Marchesa to be fascinating characters, Red, although do also recognize that, in all probability, they cannot have been easy to live with. But we are so very touched by your kind words here.

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  73. Dear Jane and Lance, I would definitely say that you have already achieved the status of 'living works of art'. Hurrah for the Marchesa, living life to the full, a fine example for us all.
    So lovely to see your names in my comment box, thank you so much, for your kind words. Have a wonderful trip and send my love to Madelief. With much love, Linda xx

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    1. You are so kind, Linda, and if that were to be the case, then we really do need you here to add that finishing touch which we know would complete any visual picture and then, of course, to arrange us!!

      We are so looking forward to seeing Madelief again and do be sure that you will have a very special mention.

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  74. My dearest Jane and Lance,

    I am utterly fascinated by the persona of the Italian patroness Marchesa Luisa Casati. Compared to her eccentric life and taste in her lifestyle and her passion for oddities, our British counterparts and society hostess such as Lady Ottoline Morrell and Lady Diana Cooper sound very tame indeed. She seemed to be the natural descendant of the Italian women patrons of the arts from the Renaissance such as Isabella d'Este (whom I mentioned in my most recent post) and Elisabetta Gonzaga who also led such interesting and eccentric lives in their own unique ways.

    And my dears, I am relieved to hear that you will be following the footsteps of the Marchesa and taking care and encouraging the young talents to grow in the art world of Budapest. The future of the contemporary art world in Budapest in the safe pairs of hands!! How adore the arty picture of you through the looking glass, so to speak!

    Have a good week & thank you so much for your most charming and thoughtful comment in my blog as always.

    I remain, yours ever,
    ASD

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    1. We should certainly agree with you, dearest ASD, that the Marchesa had a head start over her British equivalents when it came to oddities and an extraordinary lifestyle.

      You make a most interesting point where her antecedents in type are to be found, looking as far back as the Renaissance which, as you so rightly comment here, was not without its own eccentrics.

      On a more serious note, we do believe that there is enormous talent to be found amongst the young here in Budapest. We should like to think that in some small part we are able to contribute towards fostering it.

      We trust that your week too will be happy and successful. xxx

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  75. Dear Jane and Lance – Lisa is really an extraordinary woman. She looks eccentric but who knows inside her mind? When you think, act, or dress old, you become a real old person. Behave yourself as you are and as you like.

    Thank you for the note about “Load more”. I clicked it but the machine kept loading without result. Well, that’s all right as I was a very late visitor to your last post.

    Yoko

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    1. We do so agree that it is so important never to think like an old person. There are those who seem to embrace the thought of being old from a very early age. We can never quite understand them.

      It is possible, Yoko, that you need to press on 'Load More', scroll down and then press on 'Load More' for a second time to find your comment and our reply. We have just checked and both are most certainly there but it may be elusive as there are 272.

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  76. Thanks for popping over so I could find your fascinating blog! You live a wonderful life,good on you! Wow, what an incredible woman _ I was trying to think of some contemporary who was similarly striking - but I can't!

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    1. We are delighted to welcome you here too.

      The Marchesa was certainly an interesting and fascinating woman who, very clearly, could afford to indulge her every whim and fantasy. That said, she died in very reduced circumstances.

      Delete
    2. Have you ever been down to Santa Barbara to see Lotusland the home and enormous pool (paved with conch shells) of Ganna Walska (sp?) a second rate POlish opera singer who was married about seven times? She was the first person who ever did plantings of repititons of the same thing, cactuses, tropical plants etc. She was quite the woman - incredibly eccentric and headstrong for her time...I never tire of visiting there...

      http://www.lotusland.org/

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    3. Unfortunately we have not, as yet, ever visited the United States but it is, we assure you, high on our list of places to visit. The problem is that it is such a vast country with so much to see.

      But here the thought of a 'second rate Polish opera singer' has intrigued us hugely [we shall follow this up] and the garden and pool sound perfect in their extraordinariness. Just our kind of thing. Thank you so much for coming back with all of this.

      Delete
  77. Loved this! Getting out the wax mannequins and fur coats now.... Continue on, patrons!

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    1. And why not? Can only add to the fun of life!!

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  78. I am looking forward to reading of your exploits as you cut a swathe through what remains of European society. I truly believe that your example of indulgent decadence as well as patronage of young art will be an essential part of it.

    There is so little true colour left in this age of amassing fortunes first and foremost that a pair like the two of you can only leaven the deadly boredom generated by a permanent diet of the shenanigans of today’s celebs.

    Try not to get arrested though (naked youths might seem a little too decadent).

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    1. Alas, as you will know only too well, what remains of European society diminishes daily and soon will be entirely a thing of the past!!

      But what you would appreciate is the large number of very talented young people still to be found, particularly in the field of music. Tonight, for example, we are at the final diploma concert of a very talented young Japanese pianist and tomorrow night our cellist friend plays in a concert whilst on Friday, and we are not quite sure how this has come about, a Japanese pianist over here from the United States to present a Master Class will practise on our piano.

      But we do heed your warning over the naked youths!!

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  79. Whatever you do don't let Teddy get wind of your musings on gilded naked youths,otherwise Teddy bears picnic could turn out to be....Teddy bares picnic!! ;)))))))))

    p.s. It must take you an age to answer all your multitudinous comments, every one a story in itself. I think you are both in need of a social secretary. I should like to offer my services....however strictly NO gilding allowed, and definitely NO snakes in boxes!! ;)

    Huggings to you lovely people,
    Jane xxx

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    1. Love it, Jane! And no, he must not get wind of any possible changes of either personnel or to his routine!!

      We much enjoy the dialogue which arises through the comments for we really do feel in this way we actually get to know people. And it is less arduous than might be thought as there are the two of us and, contrary to what many think, we do share all aspects of the blog. That said, how lovely it would be to have your assistance!

      Delete
  80. pps. I searched and searched but couldn't find the 'Load more' prompt, could you draw me a map??? ;))))

    x Jane

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    1. Ha ha!! The words 'Load More' miraculously appear out of the ether at the point that the number of comments exceeds 200. How is that for technology?!!

      Delete
  81. Hello Jane & Lance, what a pleasure it is to meet you and share a little of your glamorous life. That unpleasant troll was clearly just jealous.
    What an incredible woman, anyone who turns themselves into a living work of art and is accompanied by a pet snake is a winner in my book.
    Love the image reflected of the pair of you in that elegant mirror.
    xxx

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    1. Thank you so much for these kind words and a very warm welcome to you as our latest Follower.

      We must say we are fascinated by people like the Marchesa who in her day emanated such style; sadly there are all too few readily to be found in today's world although, personally, we can live without the snakes!!

      So pleased that you like the photograph - it came about purely by chance.

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  82. Greetings humans, Jane and Lance,

    Marchesa Luisa Casati, a living work of art. My human and I do love somebody who would set trends rather than follow them. Today, mercifully, I shall but keep this comment brief. Give you a chance to keep up with the comments from all your adoring fans, my illustrious human friends, Jane and Lance.

    Penny

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    1. Greetings both Penny and Gary!!

      We must agree with you that those who set trends are infinitely more interesting than those who merely follow. Alas, trend setters are few and far between these days.

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  83. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Blending wisdom, knowledge,culture with passion, being a borderline personnality because of your breadth of mind and high skill levels yes, I admire you and humbly bow to you, to Comtessa and many other personnalities. But there are also people who want only to be provocative and don't carry anything extraordinary in their mind.
    What you are doing , is the best thing a man can do to the society.Promote art through the youth. So, you have the knack of liviing as extraordinarily you want! ( I apologize for my English, I speak French and Italian more better!)
    Olympia

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    1. It is, we think, Olympia, so important to keep an open mind to opportunities and experiences as they present themselves in life. And in so doing, such fun and interest may be had.

      Like you, we do believe in trying to promote the talents of the young. They are, at the end of the day, all of our futures.

      Please, please do not apologise for your English. You should hear our Hungarian and as for our Greek.....!!

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  84. Replies
    1. Apart from the rain and the cold, we are enjoying May enormously, thank you.

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  85. What a fascinating woman. And, yes, I can see you setting a trend, but not with a boa please. Teddy seems much more friendly. I am so happy to have discovered your blog. You enrich my life a great deal. I hope this is not my second comment but I think that my first one never made it through.

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    1. If we were to set any trend, Loree, then we do assure you it would not involve a boa constrictor or any other livestock come to that. Teddy is far more amenable and much easier to deal with.

      Both your comments did appear, thank you, but as we were at a concert last night we were not able to see them immediately. In the event, we have just published one!!

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  86. I often wonder whether eccentric people, such as this Marchesa, would fare as well in the modern age of social media. Whereas such antics were considered delicious, and original, and daring, should we not now think them as something dreamed up to purely gain attention? Which of course, they were then too, but the public were not so cynical as we now are. The same applies to leaders who were revered in their time (Churchill, for example) who didn't have to contend with every thought being reported on twitter and so on.

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    1. A most interesting thought, Virginia, particularly as to what the modern reaction to the behaviour of people like the Marchesa might be.

      We have often thought, as you, much the same of politicians and world leaders who, in the past, were often not accountable to anyone and, in some instances, scarcely known at all Times are now very different..

      Delete
  87. SHE was really extraordinary..
    there are many masterpiece painted by Giovanny Boldini, some of them really famous...
    thanks for visiting my blog, very appreciated... ciao

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    1. Indeed, a much painted and photographed woman. The legend she created lives on.

      We so much enjoy your superb photographs all of which make us long for Italy!!

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  88. Absolutely fascinating, this Marchesa! Hower, I can't help but think "a little bit would go a long way"! It must have been quite challenging to live your life for the show you could put on and then to be trying to make each show more fantastical than the one before...

    My dear 95-year-old mother loved to read about particular women of the early part of the last century. The Miford girls, Vita Sackville-West, CoCo Chanel, Gertrude Bell were particular favourites -- all notorious in their very different ways! I suspect the attraction for her may have had to do with the freedom from the shackles of conventional life that most women had to endure, when they knew there was so much more ...

    The picture of you reflected in the mirror is charming, but I suspect not nearly so much as the real thing!

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    1. We really do agree. The Marchesa was an extraordinary woman and something of a legend within her own lifetime but, as you suggest, by no means the easiest person with which to live.

      Your mother's interest in women of the early part of the C20 is something we very much share and identify with. Some remarkable characters in very, very different ways. The Mitford sisters alone stand out and there were so many others like them.

      Your remark about the final image is so very, very kind. Thank you so much. It has made our day.

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  89. Hello Jane & Lance! Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, yours looks very interesting ... I am about to run for a train, but when I return this evening I'm going to sit down with a pot of tea, slice of cake and have a good old browse! Enjoy your weekend ...

    Love Claire xxx

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    1. We are delighted to have 'met' with you and thank you for signing up as our latest Follower. We are so pleased to have discovered your eclectic blog and will much look forward to your future posts.

      Take care and a safe journey!! xxx

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  90. Thanks for the timely post. I have been fretting ever since I received the invitation. What shall I wear? Why I ask am I so concerned as to how I will look? Is the my insecurities, or just wanting to feel pretty (and not so old). I hardly think an accoutrement like a snake is the answer for me, despite the fact it obviously worked for her! Stay tuned :) Janey

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    1. We are most intrigued! Certainly we should not, whatever the occasion and with our somewhat limited experience of wild animals,. recommend any form of livestock. As for snakes.......!! Not for us!!

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  91. she had amazing style, definitely cutting edge for her time and all!

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    1. We totally agree with you. Such individual style.

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