Lady

Lady

[ley-dee]
Rich, Penelope, Lady, 1562-1607, the "Stella" of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella (1591). Daughter of Walter Devereux, first earl of Essex, she married (1581) Lord Rich (later earl of Warwick); after a divorce she married (1605) the earl of Devonshire.
Ritchie, Anne Isabella Thackeray, Lady, 1837-1919, English writer; eldest daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray. In 1877 she married a cousin, Richmond T. W. Ritchie (knighted 1907). She wrote several novels but is more notable as one of the last commentators who had known the famous Victorians. Her biographical writings include notes for an edition of Thackeray's works (25 vol., 1898-99), Tennyson and His Friends (1892), and Chapters from Some Memoirs (1894).

See Thackeray and His Daughter: Letters and Journals (ed. by H. T. Ritchie, 1924).

Hamilton, Emma, Lady, 1765?-1815, mistress of the British naval hero Horatio Nelson. Born Emma Lyon, she became the mistress of Charles Greville, then of Sir William Hamilton, ambassador to Naples, whom she married (1791). She gained enormous influence with Neapolitan Queen Marie Caroline. Her intimacy with Nelson began in 1798, and after returning to England with him, she bore him a daughter, Horatia, in 1801. Although she received legacies from both her husband and Nelson, she died in debt and obscurity. Portraits of her were painted by many of the famous artists of her day, especially George Romney.

See biographies by W. Sichel (1905), M. Bowen (1935), and M. Hardwick (1970).

Masham, Abigail, Lady, d. 1734, favorite of Queen Anne of England. Her maiden name was Abigail Hill. A plain, intelligent person, she became (1704) bedchamber woman to the queen through the influence of her cousin Sarah Churchill, duchess of Marlborough. In 1707 she married Samuel Masham (later a baron), a groom to Anne's husband, Prince George of Denmark. Mrs. Masham gradually supplanted the duchess of Marlborough in the queen's affection and became the instrument through which Robert Harley, her kinsman, exerted his influence on Anne. In 1714, however, Mrs. Masham quarreled with Harley, secured his dismissal as lord treasurer, and assured Viscount Bolingbroke (Henry St. John) of supreme political power. After Anne's death (1714), she lived in retirement.
Bancroft, Marie Effie Wilton, Lady, 1839-1921, English actress and manager. She made her debut (1856) at the Lyceum Theatre, London, and in 1865 became joint manager of the Prince of Wales's Theatre, London, with Sir Squire Bancroft, 1841-1926, whose entire name was Squire Bancroft White Butterfield. They were married in 1867. With their production of Caste in the same year, the Bancrofts, as co-stars, began an association with its author, Tom Robertson, that was to prove most successful. Their presentations of his plays, which were more true to life than the current melodramas, and their utilization of the reforms of Mme Vestris introduced realism to the 19th-century English stage. They continued their work at the Haymarket theater in London (1880-85). The Bancrofts appeared together until 1886, when Mrs. Bancroft retired. Squire Bancroft was knighted in 1895.

See their joint memoirs, Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, on and off the Stage (1888) and Recollections of Sixty Years (1909).

Godiva, Lady, fl. c.1040-80, wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia; famous for her legendary ride through the city of Coventry. She was a benefactor of several monasteries, especially that at Coventry, which she and her husband founded (1043). The legend about her, which first appears in the chronicle of Roger of Wendover, states that her husband agreed to remit the heavy taxation on the people of Coventry if she would ride naked through the town on a white horse. The story of Peeping Tom, the only person who looked through the closed shutters, did not enter the legend until the 17th cent. Michael Drayton (1613), Tennyson (1842), and others made Lady Godiva the subject of poems. A bronze statue of her by Sir William Reid Dick was erected in Coventry in 1949.

American painted lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Either of two species of butterflies in the genus Vanessa (family Nymphalidae): V. cardui of Africa and Europe or V. virginiensis of North and Central America. They have broad, elaborately patterned wings of reddish orange, brown, white, and blue. In spring, vast numbers of V. cardui travel thousands of miles across the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe. A few members of the subsequent generation travel south in late summer, but most perish in the northern winter. North American painted ladies travel in spring from northwestern Mexico to the Mojave Desert and sometimes as far as Canada. Their larvae eat plants in the aster family; V. cardui larvae eat thistles and stinging nettles.

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Wife of the president of the U.S. Although the first lady's role has never been codified or officially defined, she figures prominently in the country's political and social life. Representative of her husband on official and ceremonial occasions both at home and abroad, the first lady is closely watched for some hint of her husband's thinking and for a clue to his future actions. The wife of the president played a public role from the founding of the U.S., but the h1 first lady did not come into general use until much later, near the end of the 19th century. By the end of the 20th century, the h1 had been absorbed into other languages and was often used, without translation, for the wife of a country's leader—even in countries where the leader's consort received far less attention and exerted much less influence than did her counterpart in the U.S. Although unpaid and unelected, she is able to influence behaviour and opinion, and some first ladies have used their influence to affect legislation on important matters such as temperance reform, housing improvement, and women's rights.

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orig. Lady Mary Pierrepont

(baptized May 26, 1689, London, Eng.—died Aug. 21, 1762, London) English writer, the most colourful Englishwoman of her time. A prolific letter writer, Montagu is remembered chiefly for 52 superb letters chronicling her stay in Constantinople, where her husband was ambassador from 1716 to 1718. On their return, they introduced the Middle Eastern practice of smallpox vaccination into England. Also a poet, essayist, feminist, and eccentric, she was a friend of John Gay and Alexander Pope, who later turned against and satirized her. Among her writings are six “town eclogues,” witty adaptations of Virgil; a lively attack on Jonathan Swift (1734); and essays dealing with feminism and the moral cynicism of her time.

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orig. Lady Mary Pierrepont

(baptized May 26, 1689, London, Eng.—died Aug. 21, 1762, London) English writer, the most colourful Englishwoman of her time. A prolific letter writer, Montagu is remembered chiefly for 52 superb letters chronicling her stay in Constantinople, where her husband was ambassador from 1716 to 1718. On their return, they introduced the Middle Eastern practice of smallpox vaccination into England. Also a poet, essayist, feminist, and eccentric, she was a friend of John Gay and Alexander Pope, who later turned against and satirized her. Among her writings are six “town eclogues,” witty adaptations of Virgil; a lively attack on Jonathan Swift (1734); and essays dealing with feminism and the moral cynicism of her time.

Learn more about Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lady Jane Grey, detail of a panel attributed to Master John, circa 1545; in the National Portrait elipsis

(born October 1537, Bradgate, Leicestershire, Eng.—died Feb. 12, 1554, London) Titular queen of England for nine days in 1553. The great-granddaughter of Henry VII, she was married in May 1553 to the son of the duke of Northumberland. Northumberland persuaded the dying Edward VI to set aside his half sisters as successors in favour of the Protestant Lady Jane. She was proclaimed queen on July 10, despite popular support for Edward's half sister Mary Tudor (see Mary I). Mary was proclaimed queen on July 19 after Lady Jane gladly relinquished the crown. Committed to the Tower of London, Lady Jane and her husband were sentenced to death in 1554. The sentence was initially suspended, but her father's participation in Wyat's rebellion sealed her fate, and she was beheaded.

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(flourished circa 1040–1080) Anglo-Saxon gentlewoman famous for her legendary ride nude through Coventry, Eng. She was the wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia (d. 1057), with whom she founded a monastery at Coventry. There is no evidence connecting the rider with the historical Godiva. According to the legend, Leofric, exasperated over Godiva's ceaseless imploring that he reduce Coventry's heavy taxes, declared he would do so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace. She did so, her long hair covering all of her body except her legs; as a result Leofric removed all tolls except those on horses. A later chronicle asserts that Godiva required the townsmen to remain indoors at the time fixed for her ride. Peeping Tom, a citizen who looked out his window, became part of the legend in the 17th century, and in most accounts he was struck blind or dead.

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orig. Eleanora Fagan

Billie Holiday, 1958.

(born April 7, 1915, Baltimore, Md., U.S.—died July 17, 1959, New York, N.Y.) U.S. jazz singer. She was “discovered” while she was singing in a Harlem nightclub in 1933. Recordings with Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington led to a series of outstanding small-group records (1935–42) featuring musicians such as Lester Young (who gave her the sobriquet Lady Day) and Teddy Wilson. Exposure with the big bands of Count Basie (1937) and Artie Shaw (1938) brought her greater public attention; for the rest of her life she would remain one of the best known of jazz singers. Among the songs identified with her were “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child.” Personal crises and drug and alcohol addiction plagued her career, and she was incarcerated in 1947 on narcotics charges. Her voice could reveal a sweet, often sensual expressiveness or disturbing bitterness in the service of a lyric: her clear projection of emotion represents a landmark of personal expression.

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orig. Amy Lyon

(born circa 1761, Great Neston, Cheshire, Eng.—died Jan. 15, 1815, Calais, France) English social figure, mistress of Horatio Nelson. In 1786 she became the mistress, and in 1791 the wife, of Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803), British envoy to Naples. A beautiful woman whose portrait was frequently painted by George Romney, she was a favourite in Neapolitan society. She became Nelson's mistress in 1798 and gave birth to their daughter, Horatia, in 1801, then lived with Nelson after her husband's death (1803). She later squandered the money both men left her, was imprisoned for debt (1813–14), and died in poverty.

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Lady Jane Grey, detail of a panel attributed to Master John, circa 1545; in the National Portrait elipsis

(born October 1537, Bradgate, Leicestershire, Eng.—died Feb. 12, 1554, London) Titular queen of England for nine days in 1553. The great-granddaughter of Henry VII, she was married in May 1553 to the son of the duke of Northumberland. Northumberland persuaded the dying Edward VI to set aside his half sisters as successors in favour of the Protestant Lady Jane. She was proclaimed queen on July 10, despite popular support for Edward's half sister Mary Tudor (see Mary I). Mary was proclaimed queen on July 19 after Lady Jane gladly relinquished the crown. Committed to the Tower of London, Lady Jane and her husband were sentenced to death in 1554. The sentence was initially suspended, but her father's participation in Wyat's rebellion sealed her fate, and she was beheaded.

Learn more about Grey, Lady Jane with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(flourished circa 1040–1080) Anglo-Saxon gentlewoman famous for her legendary ride nude through Coventry, Eng. She was the wife of Leofric, earl of Mercia (d. 1057), with whom she founded a monastery at Coventry. There is no evidence connecting the rider with the historical Godiva. According to the legend, Leofric, exasperated over Godiva's ceaseless imploring that he reduce Coventry's heavy taxes, declared he would do so if she rode naked through the crowded marketplace. She did so, her long hair covering all of her body except her legs; as a result Leofric removed all tolls except those on horses. A later chronicle asserts that Godiva required the townsmen to remain indoors at the time fixed for her ride. Peeping Tom, a citizen who looked out his window, became part of the legend in the 17th century, and in most accounts he was struck blind or dead.

Learn more about Godiva, Lady with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lady Slippers (aka Lady's Slipper, Lady's-slipper, Ladyslipper) is a term used to describe the orchids in the subfamily Cypripedioidea, which includes the genera Cypripedium, Mexipedium, Paphiopedilum, Phragmipedium and Selenipedium, distinguished by their slipper-shaped pouches (modified labellums), which function by trapping insects so that they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia.

This subfamily has been considered by some (Rasmussen, 1985) to be a family Cypripediaceae, separate from the Orchidaceae.

The subfamily Cypripedioideae is monophyletic and consists of five genera. Their common features are two fertile diandrous (that is, with two perfect stamens) anthers, a shield-shaped staminode and a saccate (sac-shaped) lip.

Cypripedium are found across much of North America, as well as in parts of Europe. The state flower of Minnesota is the Showy Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium reginae). The Pink Lady's Slipper, (Cypripedium acaule), is the official state wildflower of New Hampshire. The Lady's Slipper is also the official provincial flower of Prince Edward Island, a province of Canada.

Paphiopedilums are found in the tropical forests of southeast Asia reaching as far north as southern China. Paphiopedilum is quite easy to cultivate and therefore is popular among orchid enthusiasts. In fact, overcollecting of this genus has caused some problems in its original habitat.

Phragmipedium, found across northern South and Central America, is also easy to cultivate as it requires lower temperatures than Paphiopedilum, eliminating the need for a greenhouse in many areas.

The lady's slipper is also known in the United States of America as the moccasin flower, from its resemblance to a shoe or moccasin.

References

  • Rasmussen, F. N. 1985. Orchids. In R. M. Dahlgren, H. T. Clifford, and P. F. Yeo [eds.], The families of the monocotyledons. Springer Verlag, Berlin.
  • Cash, C. 1991. The Slipper Orchids, Timber Press ISBN 0-88192-183-1. Lists 140 slipper orchid species.
  • Cox, A.V., A. M. Pridgeon, V. A. Albert, and M. W. Chase. 1997. Phylogenetics of the slipper orchids (Cypripedioideae: Orchidaceae): nuclear rDNA ITS sequences. Plant Systematics and Evolution 208: 197-223. PDF
  • Pridgeon, A.M.; Cribb, P.J.; Chase, M.W. & F. N. Rasmussen (1999): Genera Orchidacearum Vol.1, Oxford U. Press. ISBN 0-19-850513-2

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