Consuelo Vanderbilt

Consuelo Vanderbilt><br>

The marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt, daughter of Alva and William K. Vanderbilt, to the Duke of Marlborough was engineered by her ambitious mother. It paid off in glory to Alva and in the upkeep of Blenheim Palace for the duke, but to Consuelo it was a misery. She escaped after eleven years with an annulment and married a commoner, Jacques Balsan, with whom she was in love. Edith Wharton incorporated embodied the outlines of her story, and of her compatriots who took London society by storm in the 1870s, in <cite>The Buccaneers</cite>.
	Consuelo was tall, swan-necked, elegant--a modern beauty of the type favored by the French artist Paul Helleu. His reputation rested on his drypoint portraits of beautiful women.

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Consuelo Vanderbilt (Duchess of Marlborough) 1877-1964
Paul Helleu (1859-1927)/ Drypoint, 1900
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C.

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