The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is now most famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the palace's glory days came between 1714 and 1760, during the reigns of George I and II . In the eighteenth century, this palace was a world of skulduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty... show more
Kensington Palace is now most famous as the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, but the palace's glory days came between 1714 and 1760, during the reigns of George I and II . In the eighteenth century, this palace was a world of skulduggery, intrigue, politicking, etiquette, wigs, and beauty spots, where fans whistled open like switchblades and unusual people were kept as curiosities. Lucy Worsley's The Courtiers charts the trajectory of the fantastically quarrelsome Hanovers and the last great gasp of British court life. Structured around the paintings of courtiers and servants that line the walls of the King's Staircase of Kensington Palace—paintings you can see at the palace today—The Courtiers goes behind closed doors to meet a pushy young painter, a maid of honor with a secret marriage, a vice chamberlain with many vices, a bedchamber woman with a violent husband, two aging royal mistresses, and many more. The result is an indelible portrait of court life leading up to the famous reign of George III , and a feast for both Anglophiles and lovers of history and royalty.
Publish date: August 17th 2010
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages no: 402
Edition language: English
Worsley tracks the people and art that populated the courts of George I and II of England. She has a very easy to read style, but cites well and was able to draw upon a good number of first-person sources. That said, there were three things I distinctly disliked about this book. One, Worsley has a...
A fascinating portrait of the early Georgian court, from the kings and their mostly dysfunctional families to the servants, inspired by a vast painting on a staircase in Kensington Palace that shows many of the ordinary people who worked there, not just the rich and famous.
I was very pleased with this book. Full of details about the lives of George II of England, and his wife, Queen Caroline (a woman who really deserves a biography of her own), along with various attendants, mistresses, and servants. The little drawings throughout the text really do add a lot to the s...