Updated: Feb 23
‘Her pitcher had too often been to the well.’
An odd phrase, and yet one perfectly apt to describe Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld. She was of Anglo-Irish stock and was ennobled by King Ludwig I of Bavaria in recognition of the very special services she performed for that unhappy monarch.
The good Major and I happened to be travelling through Bavaria on our way home during the winter of 1846, and the martial reputation of the good Major ensured an invitation to dine at the Royal Palace. Here, following a sumptuous banquet, we were entertained by one Lola Montez, known formerly as Eliza Gilbert. An entertainer of some repute and skilled at the Spanish style of dancing that was at that time common amongst the peasants of western Europe.
The tableau commenced with Miss Montez dressed as a milkmaid sat upon a milking stool, eating some curds and whey. Then two hapless footmen dangled the most frightful stuffed spiders from long poles, attempting to land the creatures on Lola as she danced around the chamber to a ditty played by a quartet from the Royal Orchestra- who were above in the gallery.
His Majesty King Ludwig was clearly engaged. I looked around myself to see all the gentlemen of the court were similarly transfixed. Even the good Major: who never diminished in his duty to Queen and Country. I found it a rather tedious caper personally.
It was very evident his Majesty was quite animated in his enjoyment of the tableau to the point where an equerry was obliged to signal to the musicians in the gallery above to cease playing.
The music stopped. Lola performed an elegant curtsey and his Majesty was heard to say, ‘I do not believe they are real’. To which Lola responded by tearing asunder her bodice and revealing her ample bosom to all assembled. His Majesty, visibly stunned, replied, ‘No, no I mean the spiders’!
Your devoted friend
My King Ludwig scented candle has notes of Vanilla, Chocolate and Cherry. Essentially a black forest gateau from the heart of Ludwig’s Bavaria. All candles are made from 100% soy wax, contain a minimum of 10% fragrance and are hand- poured at my workshop at Jelleymans Mill in Worcestershire They are vegan and make an ideal gift idea. Each candle arrives beautifully packaged with the related story on fine aged paper.