Thursday, October 08, 2009

Eleanor le Despenser Gets a New Dress

The other day, I was fooling around on eBay (a place I really have no business being). As is my wont, I did a search for "Despenser" (among other searches) and lo and behold, what appeared but a doll costume entitled "Eleanor le Despenser"! I said to myself, "Self, if there's one person in the world who truly needs this, it is you!" (Talk about niche marketing.) So in the great tradition of consumerism, I pressed the "Bid" button, and in due course, I won the auction and received my item.

Unfortunately, in my excitement that someone would name a doll costume after Eleanor, I failed to note the seller's very plain statement that the doll was not included. As this costume was made for a 17-inch doll, and all of my own fashion dolls are 11-1/2-inch Barbies, this has made for problems in the fitting room, as the folks on "Project Runway" would say. Still, don't you think Eleanor looks nice? (Perhaps Hugh or her uncle Edward II will stop by and pay her a compliment. And there is a scene in The Traitor's Wife where she has to wear a larger woman's clothing, so maybe this might work after all.) There's a mantle that goes with it as well, but since this was a smaller doll, it rather overwhelmed her, so I left it off.

I might not be blogging much in the next week or so, as I'm working on a presentation for the Richard III's Society's upcoming meeting here in the US. My presentation will be on medieval gambling, since the conference is being held in Las Vegas. Getting it ready (including perusing PowerPoint 2007 for Dummies), as well as practicing the secret handshake that we Woodville lovers give each other at Richard III events, will be keeping me busy for a while.

I have a copy of Hilary Mantel's Booker-prize-winning Wolf Hall to take on the plane. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Lastly, but no means leastly, Lisa over at BookBlab is giving away a copy of Hugh and Bess, so stop on by before October 31 and sign up!


Daphne said...

It just goes to show that you really can everything on ebay! And who would have thought that someone would even know who Eleanor was to make her a dress!! I gotta admit though - the head dress makes it look like she could take flight at any minute!

Lisa said...

Hey Susan! Thanks SO MUCH for the mention of the giveaway! The ebay story is too funny.

I am DYING to read Wolf Hall! I can't wait to hear what you think of it!

Have a safe trip and a great day!

Unknown said...

If only we would have known about this earlier...this would have been the perfect cover image for TRAITOR'S WIFE.

Unknown said...

That is really cool! I have seen some historical dolls recently and I would LOVE to get my hands on some. Unfortunately my hubby does not see the point in purchasing dolls. Hehehe.

Kathryn Warner said...

How exciting to find an Eleanor doll on Ebay! Well, an Eleanor costume, anyway.

Good luck with the presentation, and enjoy the conference!

Jules Frusher said...

Hugh says he is pleading the 5th amendment on how the costume looks on the Barbie doll (although that head-dress would keep the ears really warm in winter!) - but he is sure that it would look fantastic on the Eleanor doll and even better on the real thing. In fact he is going to tell her dress makers to come and have a look!

trish wilson said...

So you're going to Las Vegas. As somebody who's been there already my advice is avoid the slot machines and go for the tables - the odds are better.

And as somebody who got the better of Las Vegas than LV did of me I think I know what I'm talking about.

Mimi said...

Awesome! I think it is a lovely dress.

I somehow got myself into a similar situation once on Ebay, it involved postage stamps of the six wives of Henry VIII.

Susan A said...

That is great. Do you think there is an Isabella dress?

Anerje said...

What a brilliant dress! I wonder if there's a whole range? :>

I went to Las Vegas in August - wish there had been a history convention then! is there really a Woodville supporters signal???

I finished 'Wolf Hall' about a week ago. I hated it when I first started it - didn't like the style of the author - I guess it took some getting used to, but half-way through, I was thoroughly absorbed by it! I'd recommend it! Enjoy!

Susan Higginbotham said...

No Isabella dress as of tonight, but the seller does have one for Isabelle of Anjouleme! The ebay seller's name is nous.petite.couture if anyone's interested.

No Woodville supporters signal that I know of, but there ought to be!

trish wilson said...

Well if there’s no supporters signal for the Woodvilles/Wydevilles why don’t we start one?. I’m willing to set up a blog/website and maybe I should given the name of the road in which I live.

Certainly we need to do away with the pernicious and poisonous propaganda that’s been going on for 550 years starting with the claim that they were low-born commoners. We know that they were descendants of both King John ie of the English Blood Royal, and Simon de Montfort and that one of their paternal great-grandfathers was a Beauchamp Add to that the Italian connection, their maternal grandmother was a Del Balzo, a very powerful family in the South and her mother was an Orsini, a member of the one of the leading if not the leading aristocratic families in Rome.

Other issues that need to be brought to the fore are their contribution to the English Renaissance - it would seem that it was not the children of Henry VII to receive a humanistic education but those of Edward IV - and who was the actual legal guardian of Edward V, Richard III or Anthony Woodville? Lastly but not least who the really greedy , grasping pushy family was – I’ll give you a clue – it begins with N and ends in ‘ville’.

trish wilson said...


Apologies to you and all the other contributors to this blog. I have just realised my profile is one big BLANK! Put it down to all that beavering on the Internet and in the British Library and having to come to grips with Latin and Middle English which I hadn’t touched since leaving the realms of Academia many moons ago.

For those who know nowt particularly Woodvillians I just happened to live in Woodville Road, Barnet – Battle of 1471 – UK and thanks to the local council who wished to maintain the historical link ,most of the local roads, some blocks of apartments and even an office block - Kingmaker House – are named after people, families and battles of the period – one could say with a certain truth I’ve lived surrounded by the War of the Roses most of my life. Add to that my best subject at school named after QE1, complete with rose logo, was history and that explains everything.

I must add that where I live has nothing to do with historical association but financial necessity. If my late husband and I could have afforded a more substantial property in the next road up, I might have ended up living in Warwick Road instead. Ouch!

Anerje said...

hi Trish - what a wonderful connection with your house/road and the surrounding area.

Michelle Moran said...

HAH! From now on, all my inner dialogue is going to start with, "Self..."

Great dress ;]

trish wilson said...

Woodvillians now have their supporters' signal or rallying point or whatever.

It's called 'The Woodvilles & History - Discerning fact from fiction' and it's @

If you wish to moan about their bad press and the unfair deal they've had from history until recently please feel free to do so.