Noël Coward – Madcap Moll, in, Terribly Intimate Portraits,1922

Noel coward Madcap Moll- Terribly Intimate PortraitsMadcap Moll

The trees were her playmates, the twittering of the birds her music—all the wild things of the forest loved her, specially dogs and children. She knew every woodcutter for miles round by his Christian name. “Why, here’s Madcap Moll!” they would say, as the beautiful girl came galloping athwart her mustang, untamed and headstrong as she herself.

This, then, was the priceless jewel which George I., spurred on by an overmastering passion, ordered to be transferred from its rough and homely setting to the ornate luxury of life at Court, where he immediately bestowed upon her the title of Eighth Duchess of Wapping.

It was about a month after her arrival in London that Sir Oswald Cronk painted his celebrated life-size portrait of her in the costly riding-habit which was one of the many gifts of her royal lover. Sir Oswald, with his amazing technique, has managed to convey that suggestion of determination and resolution, one might almost say obstinacy, lying behind the gay, devil-may-care roguishness of her bewitching glance. Her slim, girlish figure he has portrayed with amazing accuracy, also the beautiful negligent manner in which she invariably carried her hunting-crop; her left hand is lovingly caressing the head of her faithful hound, Roger, who, Raymond Waffle informs us, after his mistress’s death refused to bury bones anywhere else but on her grave. Ah me! Would that some of our human friends were as unflagging in their affections as the faithful Roger!

Noël Coward,1899-1973.  Terribly Intimate Portraits, 1922. Compiled By Noël Coward. With Sixteen Reproductions From Old Masters By Lorn MacNaughtan

, From the world-famous portrait by Sir Oswald Cronk, Bart.

Coward and MacNaughtan, were amusing themselves by gently satirizing the English taste for paintings. The inventory and illustrations described a gallery including: Sir Oscar Cronk’s portraits of Madcap Moll, the 8th THE DUCHESS OF WAPPING, and Esther Lollop as ‘Cymbeline; fBIANCA DI PIANNO-FORTI
, After an engraving by Vittorio Campanele; SARAH, LADY TUNNELL-PENGE
, From a painting by Augustus Punter; GRETCHEN LIEBERWURST ZU SCHWEINEN-KALBER, 
From the famous etching by Grobmeyer; DONNA ISABELLA ANGELICA Y BANANAS, 
From the portrait by Baloona (early Spanish); MAGGIE McWHISTLE
, From an old painting by Ronald Gerphipps, ANNA PODD
, From a very old Russian oleograph; “LA BIBI”
, From the pastel by Coddle. 


Author: jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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