The Beauty’s Story – Lillie Langtry

Jersey: The Hidden Histories is an ideal Christmas present for anyone who loves the history of this beautiful Island. I was delighted that the story of Lillie Langtry was reprinted in this month’s Our Island magazine, which reaches nearly 16,000 homes in Jersey across several parishes. The drama and energy of the Victorian age has passed into deep history, but the legend of its greatest beauty will not fade.

Lillie Langtry by Millais (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Lillie Langtry by Millais (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

“She rose like Venus from the foam, a rare jewel of grace chipped from the rough granite of her homeland. She was born Emilie le Breton, they say, a Dean’s daughter from the Channel Island of Jersey, best known for its lowing cows and sturdy potatoes. From this unpromising turf, and after a marriage into minor money, she burst like a hurricane upon the London season.

Her alabaster shoulders; her divine chin, her strikingly short hair; she was an angle clad in a simple black dress. Men were stupefied and their wives could merely seethe and cringe. Before long great artists were scrambling to idolise her, her photographs were hawked on every street corner; men would scramble onto chairs or queue for hours merely to catch a passing glimpse of perfection”.

From Jersey: The Hidden Histories by Paul Darroch (c) 2015