An Infamous Mistress

Extra information for readers of our book

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When writing a biography it’s incredibly difficult to know how much to include and how much to leave out and this was especially true when researching Grace Dalrymple Elliott and her family. Difficult decisions had to be made, not to mention trying to work to a predetermined word count.

Anyone who has followed us on this blog probably knows by now, we research far and wide, and so it was that we ended up with lots of detailed information which was supplemental to Grace and her family. Luckily we have this blog, and some very kind friends who have allowed us to pen guest blogs for inclusion on their own wonderful sites, so we don’t have to lose this on the ‘cutting room floor’.

If you have already read the book, then these articles will hopefully prove as interesting to you as they were to us and provide some further reading which is ‘extra’ to An Infamous Mistress. If you haven’t read it yet, then hopefully that these will give you enough of a flavour of the book to tempt you to read it.

An Infamous Mistress is available in both hardback and as an e-book from Pen & Sword, but also available from many other retailers including Amazon.  Book Depository also stock our book with FREE shipping overseas.


Viscount Valentia was the man responsible for Grace’s downfall. Although it has no bearing on Grace’s story, his ancestry is fascinating and proves that fact is often very much stranger than fiction.

Kidnap and Attempted Murder in the 18th Century: Viscount Valentia’s ancestry


We take a closer look at Grace’s last home in France to show our readers what it would have looked like to Grace. An excuse to include lots of images as a visual aid.

Ville d’Avray, the last home of Grace Dalrymple Elliott


Charles Mordaunt, 5th Earl of Peterborough, is mentioned frequently in An Infamous Mistress. Towards the end of his life, he was cared for by Constance Louisa Bouchier Smith, the young daughter of one of his lifelong friends. Many years later, Miss Bouchier Smith went on to make an intriguing marriage, one which we explore in this guest blog post.

A Jacobite link to Grace Dalrymple Elliott’s cousin


We mention a pair of rare duelling pistols owned by Grace’s maternal family in our book. These pistols went on to have a chequered journey, involving skullduggery and theft, a story which we share with you in the blog post below together with an image of them which we didn’t have space to include within An Infamous Mistress.

The Duelling Pistols of Brown’s of Blackburn


For the first time, in An Infamous Mistress, we reveal one of Grace’s maternal cousins to be the equally infamous Colonel Mordaunt who spent his adult life in India in the service of the East India Company. He was depicted in a portrait showing a cock match at the Nawab of Oudh’s court in Lucknow. Here we present some more (later) images of the famous painting, as well as taking a closer look at both the original and the people in it.

A closer look at Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match


Grace’s maternal aunt, the Countess of Peterborough, was present at a ridotto in 1777 alongside the scandalous Lady Worsley’s mother. We found a salacious newspaper report of the evening which may just hint at the Countess’ love of a tipple. It was too incidental to be included in our book, but we loved it too much to just ignore it totally. In this guest post, we present it as a little extra for our readers.

‘Mother M.’ at the Ridotto in 1777


Did Jane Austen really refer (albeit obliquely) to Grace and her family in Persuasion? We examine the evidence.

Jane Austen and the ‘Infamous Mistress’ Connection


Grace proudly trumpeted her familial connection to the Earl of Stair and was known to use his coat of arms, but those arms reputedly bore a curse. We investigate the history and the origins of the stigma attached to them in this blog post.

The Curse of the Nine of Diamonds


Of course, we mention the full-length portrait of Grace by Thomas Gainsborough in An Infamous Mistress, and the engraving of it which shows extra detail. This blog post is an excuse to look at both the portrait and the engraving in closer detail and side-by-side.

A closer look at Thomas Gainsborough’s full-length portrait of Grace Dalrymple Elliott


It has been suggested that a chalk drawing by Hoppner may be yet another depiction of Grace Dalrymple Elliott. We take a closer look at it and try to compare it to a known portrait of her.

Does this chalk drawing depict Grace Dalrymple Elliott?


A wondrous travelling carriage and a perfect example of a young man about town with more money than he had sense. One of those things we found too fascinating not to share, but which just didn’t fit into the pages of An Infamous Mistress. You can read about it in this guest post.

An Infamous Mistress and the Georgian Gentleman


We discuss the military career of Grace’s maternal grandfather in An Infamous Mistress. This blog is an excuse to give a little extra detail of his time in Gibraltar and the Caribbean.

The 34th Regiment of Foot in Gibraltar and Jamaica during the early 1700s


In 1778, Grace’s maternal aunt, Mrs Janet Edmondes, was the victim of a burglary at her home. This is another of those events we found interesting but which had no real relevance to the narrative of An Infamous Mistress, and so hit the ‘cutting room floor’. But we are able to present it here, together with some information on the thief and his poor family, who also suffered because of his crime.

Burglary, French servants and Mrs Elliott’s aunt – a 1778 crime gone terribly wrong


Thomas Winckley was the second husband of Grace’s sister, Jacintha. In this blog post, we explore the lives of the two illegitimate sons he sired before his marriage.

The illegitimate sons of Thomas Winckley


The Lancastrian Winckley family had been staunch to the Jacobite cause, and a relic relating to it survived within the family. It was described by Grace’s niece, Lady Frances Shelley (the daughter of Grace’s sister, Jacintha, and her husband Thomas Winckley), who remembered seeing it when she was a girl. We take a closer look at it in this guest post and ask, had Grace’s own family loyalties been on the Jacobite or Hanoverian side?

Jacintha Dalrymple and the Winckley Jacobite Relic


Who was Modestus? He was a man very closely related to Grace, as will be shown from this blog post and much more information is given in our book. However, one letter written by him may just have referred to Grace, but proved to be too vague a reference to be included within An Infamous Mistress. Instead, we examine it here.

Literary battles with Junius: who was Modestus?


In this guest post, we look at the grandfather of Grace’s uncle-by-marriage and shed some new light on the second of his own irregular marriages.

The Celebrated 3rd Earl of Peterborough


Catherina Pitcairn was one of Grace’s paternal cousins. She too led an eventful life and is mentioned briefly within the pages of An Infamous Mistress. We thought our readers might be interested to read more detail about her in the following blog post.

The Life of Catherina Pitcairn


A scurrilous article which appeared in the Town and Country magazine in 1774 seemed to refer to an affair between John Wesley and a Miss Dalrymple. With nothing, no matter how hard we searched, to prove any of the facts, it was too vague to be included within An Infamous Mistress. Instead, we present it here as a little titillating snippet of information.

John Wesley as The Pious Preacher – but who is Miss D___ple?


It has long been thought that two initials above a door on the street in which Grace used to reside were an entwined G and E, and indicated her residence. But are they what they seem? We take a closer look.

Are those really the initials of Grace Dalrymple Elliott on the Rue de Miromesnil?


OK, this one doesn’t actually contain any new or extra information. It’s a guest post we wrote in which we briefly look at the events which took place upon one evening in April 1774 when Grace alighted in a carriage to travel to what she believed to be a discreet and secret assignation with her lover, Lord Valentia.

Grace Dalrymple Elliott and a Fateful Trip


A post on the ‘Bulam Expedition’ and some of the people caught up in the drama. Henry Hew Dalrymple, Grace’s brother, was behind the scheme.

A Disaster in Bolama


In 1761, Grace’s aunt and uncle, the Earl and Countess of Peterborough, attended the coronation of George III. Maybe, just maybe, the young Grace, living in Scotland with her mother, aunt and grandmother, had a first-hand account of the coronation from her aunt, the Countess?

Grace Dalrymple Elliott’s aunt and uncle at the coronation of George III in 1761


A Q&A style article for those of you who haven’t yet read An Infamous Mistress.

What can the reader expect from An Infamous Mistress?


To read reviews of An Infamous Mistress: The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott, as well as interviews with us and magazine/newspaper features relating to our book, please head over to our Press Page.