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Friday, November 2

A Modern Day Mistress

Although tucked away in the country and Bath most of her life, Jane Austen must surely have known of the Prince Regent's tumultuous relationship with his wife, Princess Caroline and his contemptuous opinion of her. This Prince of Pleasure openly consorted with mistresses, including Mrs. Fitzherbert, a Catholic whom he clandestinely married in order to get her into his bed. Lady Jersey of Almack's fame, Grace Elliott, Harriette Wilson, and Perdita, also known as Mary Robinson (click here for her memoirs) were other well-known paramours.

Mistresses of the rich and famous still abound. Take, for example, the beautiful and elegant Madame Ariane Dandois, long time mistress of Baron Elie de Rothschild. In the 1970's, with a mere $50,000 in her pockets, exquisite taste, and shrewd business acumen, Ariane became a successful Parisian antique dealer.

Although the Baron was married to his childhood sweetheart, Liliane, a woman of considerable intellect and substance, he conducted affairs with numerous women, including Pamela Churchill and Madame Dandois. Ariane's and Elie's relationship produced a daughter, Ondine, who astutely took her papa's name.

After 34-35 years of success, Madame, whose daughter joined her in the business, put her estimated $12- $15 million inventory up for sale at Sothebys in New York on October 25 & 26. The collection took up the entire 10th floor. Take a peek at the following photos from New York Social Diary where the lush wares are shown to great advantage at the auction house. French designer Juan Pablo Molyneux transformed the show rooms, creating a photo version of a room in The Hermitage in Petersburg and blowing up Piranese prints of 18th century Rome onto lightweight fabric to recreate a spectacular backdrop.

Baron de Rothchild died this past summer at the age of ninety. It was said that after his wife Liliane died in 2003, he broke off his relationship with Ariane perhaps for fear of matrimony.

  • ~ Click on this link from Palm Beach Life & the two links below to read more about the auction.
  • ~ Homes and Property: Ariane Dandois Sale
  • ~ So French, So Opulent, So Up for Auction

    Auld Hat said...

    Glorious post! Also, I eagerly await the day when I am clandestinely married for lust. (sigh)

    farmboyz said...

    New York Social Diary is one of the best reads on the net. Reliable, entertaining, accurate and a door into a world in which we "other" New Yorkers co-exist but never actually experience.