03 June 2010

Lady Diana Manners, a love letter

to Lady Diana Manners

...I find 
that I miss you 
most inconveniently 
and the thought
of not seeing you
at champagne time
is as exasperating 
as it would be
for the moth 
to miss his candle 
of an evening.

                  -Alfred Duff Cooper

photograph of Lady Diana Manners by E.O. Hoppe, 3 years before her marriage to Alfred Duff Cooper.
ad pages from Duke University  Library  here


  1. I love that you have the ponds ads in your collection - did you write the date on the bottom in pencil or find them that way?
    For years I had a (I believe) ponds ad with grace kelly from the early 1950s from a life magazine framed in my bathroom. I should revisit that!

  2. Where do you find these?this post is so "you".Wonderful work!


  4. Well, I like the love letter, hopeless romantic that I am...

  5. Stefan, on the second ad the date is handwritten, 1925. You can click the pic and then enlarge it, & check the links.

  6. Maggie, thank you, I love these quirky things, as I continue to look about and read and prowl the net-these things eventually turn up and amuse me, hope they do others too. pgt

  7. Stephane, thank you much! I will be checking your blog too. best, Gaye

  8. BWS, yes it seems tragic to miss someone at champagne time. rather sweet really. Gaye

  9. I fell in love with youngest daughter of the 8th Duke of Rutland many years ago, and spent the better part of several weeks then reading her absorbing, lengthy autobiographies. A marvelous creature, and someone that I would long to be able to spend an afternoon with, were she alive today and circumstances allowed such a meeting. Reggie

  10. To everyone, esp.Reggie Darling,
    this was Magnaverde's comment to an earlier post about our subject-copied here, Charming:

    Fifteen years ago or so, I conducted a private tour of the Auditorium Theatre for a very elderly architect from the North Shore. He was a Modernist, but he had studied the work of Adler & Sullivan for years, and since I had been working full time at the theatre for five years, there wasn't much that either of us could learn from the other when it comes to the architecture of the place, so my 'tour' consisted of the two of us wandering around the second floor lobby--he was too old to climb all the stairs up to the balcony--looking at Sullivan's ornamental details while he told me the kind of stories that never make it into the architectural history books--like the time he fell head over heels in love with Diana Cooper while she was in Chicago appearing in The Miracle.

    He said that in his younger days he had a habit of developing crushes on pretty chorines (and there's a word you don't hear anymore) but that he was always disappointed when he met them outside of a theater, because all the things that made them so appealing onstage--their innocent freshness & energy--seemed to have been left behind in the dressing room when they changed into their street clothes, and he said he was never so aware of what the other girls lacked as he was after he met Diana Cooper, who was, as he said to me "The Real Thing. And more!" Then again, Diana Cooper was hardly a struggling artist just trying to make ends meet.

    My visitor, had gone to the opening night of The Miracle with a college pal, and the pal's mother was friends with a Chicago woman whom they saw in the lobby & and went over to greet. And that woman turned out to have a daughter in the show. And not only that, she was hosting a private party for the cast afterwards, and she invited my architect & his pal to come along. So they saw the show and went to the party, where they saw not only a lot of Chicago friends, but also met Rosamund Pinchot, Diana Cooper & DC's mother, Violet Manners, the Duchess of Rutland, who was in town for opening night.

    Pinchot, he said, was beautiful and the Duchess was "frightfully old--but charming" but Diana Cooper was "beyond all words: beautiful, brilliant & utterly mesmerizing"...


  11. ...continued

    Pinchot, he said, was beautiful and the Duchess was "frightfully old--but charming" but Diana Cooper was "beyond all words: beautiful, brilliant & utterly mesmerizing". That was how my guest described her, and he told me that his biggest regret had always been that, in his total & instant infatuation, he had been unable to string three intelligent words together, leading DC (he feared) to think of him as just another hick from the sticks with a thing for actresses. Nevertheless, she was unfailingly gracious, acting as if she were fascinated by his incoherent conversation, spending so much time with him that his hostess finally had to intervene, at which point DC gave him her hand, saying "I do so hope we shall meet again some time." It was the last time he ever saw her.

    He said that, in later years, his wife always told her friends that she never needed to worry about his being unfaithful to her, partly because no other woman could ever hold a candle to his Immaculate Fantasy of Diana Cooper, but mostly because she--the real DC--was both devoted to her husband & safely on the other side of the world.

    Then my visitor opened his wallet to show me two pictures. On one side, a color snap of a smiling, apple-cheeked matron in a glittery 7Os-style dress, and on the other side, a dramatic & elegant black-&-white profile of an swan-necked Diana Cooper in a nun's habit.

    My visitor was himself pretty elegant & charming--imagine an elderly Cary Grant, without the looks--and I saw in the local paper a few months later that he had died. A few months after that, I got a FedEx delivery from his widow. It was an original souvenir program from The Miracle, with beautiful color plates of the cosutumes designed for it, all drawn in a mock-medieval style, with the figures drawn in theattenuated style one associated with the carvings on Gothic cathedrals. The Madonna's costume, is of course, the most elegant of all, although nowhere nearly as elegant as it is in that photo of Diana Cooper.

  12. I found my Diana Cooper Ponds adv.at Vinmagarchive.com and also a poster for The Miracle.Have been collecting on her since I bought my house from her son in 1980.

    Vinmagarchive also has lots of things on the Mitfords and Evelyn Waugh.

  13. you can find original advs. and other stuff on Diana Cooper ,The Mitfords ,Evelyn Waugh and
    other Bright Yound Things of the 20's and 30's
    at a London website vinmagarchive.com.I also
    found an original poster for The Miracle.

  14. Anon. many thanks! so wonderful of you to share that-I will -away to see. funny-I am posting about the Mitford and a few of their dogs later this evening. So appreciate your comments. pgt

  15. Success in married life depends on each other, instead of expecting someone right for you, first of all be sure that are you right one for him or her. It is not only the process of living with each other but it is the experience of sharing emotions, feelings, choices and more important love. As the time passes, love grows further.

  16. WE, “It was absolutely fixed that we shouldn’t divorce or get rid of each other in any way,” the duchess said [of her husband's infidelities]. “It’s completely different to Americans, who all divorce each other the whole time. Such a bore for everyone, having to say who’s going to have the dogs, who’s going to have the pho...tograph books.” Andrew [Devonshire] was great company, she said, which went a long way .... That from the DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE, it must be more than great passion and love, here is the NYTimes

  17. Hi,

    My wife found a portrait of a woman who looks like her, in Paris. But it is written "Respectueux hommage à Mme J J Cooper - 1923"

    Any idea if JJ Coooper relates to her ?




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