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Queen of the Courtesans

By Barbara White

9780752468693

ISBN: 9780752468693

Published: 02-06-2014


Queen of the Courtesans

By Barbara White

ISBN: 9780752468693

Published: 02-06-2014

About This Book

Fanny Murray was an incomparable Georgian beauty and the most desired courtesan of the 1750s. The daughter of an impoverished musician from Bath, she took London society by storm, not only as the most prized ‘purchaseable beauty’ of her day, but also as a fashion icon and muse to poets, writers and artists. She counted princes, aristocrats and politicians among her friends and lovers, but relished the company of rogues, fraudsters and ne’er-do-wells. Barbara White presents evidence to suggest that Fanny Murray participated spiritedly in the sexual antics of the notorious ‘Monks of Medmenham’, the most infamous of the Hell-fire Clubs. After she retired from prostitution, Fanny Murray reinvented herself, entering a pragmatic marriage with the Scottish actor David Ross. Surprisingly, her virtues as a devoted and faithful wife became almost proverbial. Even so, Murray could not escape her disreputable past. In 1763, a scurrilous poem dedicated to her caused a national scandal that ended in the infamous trial of the radical politician John Wilkes for obscene libel. Barbara White’s portrait of Fanny Murray takes readers from the brothels of Covent Garden to sex romps at Medmenham Abbey, from refined drawing rooms in London to marital respectability in Edinburgh. This is an illuminating contribution to the scholarly understanding and popular appreciation of a complex and intriguing period of British history. Fanny Murray’s triumph – against almost insuperable odds – is a remarkable story, as rich in the telling as it is enthralling

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