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Lola Montez on beauty

On 17 November 1857, the Ballarat Times reported on a lecture on ‘Female Beauty’ given by Lola Montez in Canada. In her lecture, she ‘decried all cosmetics’ and recommended 3 things as preservatives of beauty: temperance, exercise, and cleanliness.

17 November 1857
Published Source
Ballarat Times, 17 November 1857. Details


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LOLA MONTES. – Lola Montes has been lecturing in Canada on Female Beauty, in a thoroughly original vein. Tracing the power of beauty to slight things, a drooping eyelid or a dimple, the fair lecturer said that often, in the company of kings and nobles, she was ashamed to think how the strongest and bravest men were moved by such trivial influences. She considered the English, Irish and Scotch among the handsomest. She gave her palm to the well known Duchess of Sutherland, who was the paragon among the beautiful aristocracy of England. Lady Blessington was a marvellous beauty; kings and nobles were at her feet. In Italy they called her La Diva – the goddess. She was voluptuous, with a neck that sat on her shoulders like the most charming Greek models, and was a far more intellectual style of beauty than even the Duchess of Sutherland. The present Duchess of Wellington was an admirably beautiful woman, with little intellect or emotion. The most famous beautiful family in England was the great Sheridan family. There were two sons, both, said Lola, known to herself, who were considered the handsomest men of their day. There were three daughters – the Hon. Mrs Norton, well known through her poetry and misfortunes; Lady Blackwood, and Lady Seymour, the latter of whom was the Queen of Beauty at the famous Eglinton tournament. These three were called the three graces of England. Speaking of French beauties, Lola first praised the Marquise de la Grange, and afterwards, the Empress Eugenie. When Lola last saw Eugenie, she was certainly one of the most vivacious, witty, and sprightly women of Paris. All the portraits greatly exaggerate her size, for Eugenie was really a small woman. Before her marriage with the Emperor, and when she was the belle of Madrid, she evinced a high admiration for Louis Gottschalk, the pianist. Lola decried all cosmetics. She recommended three things – temperance, exercise, and cleanliness, as preservatives of beauty. The bath, she said, which was universal everywhere but in Britain and America, was the best wash that could be desired, although indeed it mentioned that the structure of benzoine, precipitated by water, was used by the beauties of Charles II’s reign, and really brought blood to the surface. Brain might be advantageously used in connection with the bath. A well cultivated mind was that which gave not only eloquence to the tongue but lustre to the eye, vermilion to the cheek, and lightened up the whole person as though the very body thought. Lola moralised much and well, and when in this vein drew forth the heartiest applause.