Speaker: Bettie Bearden Pardee

Dates Playing: 11/13/2015

Venue: Bayou City Event Center

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Bettie Bearden Pardee 

Gilded Age Newport: The REAL Inspiration for Downton Abbey 

Few fans of Downton Abbey appreciate that the inspiration for this masterful series is the Amercian heiresses of the late 19th century. In marriages of convenience just made for television, the British aristocracy were seeking American dollars to maintain their crumbling mansions and the newly wealthy in America were hungry for British titles for their daughters. Known as “Dollar Princesses,” the most high-profile, storied example at the time was Consuela Vanderbilt, daughter of William K. Vanderbilt of Newport and New York. With her mother Alva as the master puppeteer, Consuela exchanged Marble House on Newport’s Bellevue Avenue for Bleinheim Palace and the title, Duchess of Marlborough. This tale of enterprising social ambition and Gilded Age glamour provided welcome material as Julian Fellowes penned “Downton Abbey.” 

Bettie Pardee’s illustrated lecture recalls parallels with Downton Abbey. Her entertaining talk captures the timeless Newport of today, its incomparable style, celebrated old-world homes and sophisticated residents. How do these tastemakers entertain, decorate, party, garden, dress? In settings worthy of Masterpiece Theater, lush images, coupled with amusing and lively personal tales, add the sizzle to the telling of this rarely-revealed lifestyle. 

Bettie Bearden Pardee, author of Living Newport: At Home and in the Garden will be signing her just-published book, Living Newport: Houses, People, Style. Both books provide unprecedented access to the private Newport that has titillated the public since the Gilded Age.

A general admission ticket is required to attend this event.

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