‘You men are unaccountable things: mad till you have your
mistresses, and then stark mad till you are rid of’em again.’
Sir John Vanbrugh, Tire Provok’d Wife, 1697

The Dirty Duchess

Margaret Whigham (1912-1993) had a taste for millionaires and playboys, but following a near fatal fall down an elevator shaft during her first marriage, the then Mrs Sweeny’s injuries induced raving nymphomania. Many relationships later, the vain socialite married the 11th Duke of Argyll earning her a title. Scandal arrived with a series of Polaroids showing the Duchess wearing only a pearl necklace and pleasuring an unidentified naked man; her good name was further tarnished when her husband introduced a list of 88 men, with whom he suspected she had had sexual encounters, to the divorce court. In the hunt to uncover the ‘headless man’ of the images, suspects included Douglas Fairbanks Jr and former Minister of Defence Duncan Sandys, adding a bit of star quality to an already sensational case.

Amour courtois

The idea of courtly love developed in France at the time of the First Crusade in the late 11th century and it still informs our sense of what constitutes true love. This poetic notion was as idealistic as it was romantic and it came to embrace its own set of commandments.

Подпись: О Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite. 0 Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest. 0 Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in. О Thou shalt not choose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry. 0 Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood. © Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair. Подпись: 0 Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love. © In giving and receiving love's solaces let modesty be ever present. 0 Thou shalt speak no evil. © Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs. ф Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous. © In practising the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.

From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus (c. 1186)