Ohhh Pretty Woman
October 4, 2011 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Margaret "Peg" Hughes took to the stage in 1660, as Desdemona, in Shakespeare's Othello. Samuel Pepys thought her "a mighty pretty woman."
posted by treasure (14 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hard to forgive even such an apparently talented woman for liking Rupert, the rotten bastard. My Roundhead prejudices aside, thanks for the post!
posted by Abiezer at 10:52 AM on October 4, 2011


A shy young maid has took a room down at the Village Inn.
Her bedside light is oh so bright and the curtains oh so thin.
At nine o’clock, she enters her room, at half past nine, she sleeps.
Lord Clarendon walks quickly on, but naughty Samuel Pepys.

posted by stinkycheese at 10:54 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


In 1662 after his restoration to the throne, Charles II issued a royal warrant that women's roles must be played by women to prevent the spread of male homosexuality in the theater.

So, um, how'd that work out then, Chuck?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:56 AM on October 4, 2011 [9 favorites]


The movie Stage Beauty is based on her story, starring Claire Danes and Bill Crudup.
posted by fundip at 11:06 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


For those down-in-the-weeds historians in the group, the royal warrant in question.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:59 AM on October 4, 2011


Funny how the portrait of her in the first link has her fully clothed, only her dress has randomly fallen open to expose a breast. It's like, "zounds, hours twelve hath i sat 'fore this painterly rogue, ere I realiz'd my breast t'were uncloth'd"

Just shows that nothing much has changed in 350 yeares.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:14 PM on October 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


The bare breast portrait was by Sir Peter Lely here is some more of his work.
Here is another portrait of Margaret Hughes by William Wissing.
posted by adamvasco at 1:31 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


To be didactic, the movie "Stage Beauty" was written by Jeffery Hatcher, based on his play, "The Compleat Female Stage Beauty".
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:32 PM on October 4, 2011


Peg Hughes is also the protagonist of the amusing historical romp The Vizard Mask.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:12 PM on October 4, 2011


Lord Clarendon walks quickly on, but naughty Samuel Pepys.

Well this is my new Mnemonic to Remember The Pronunciation of Pepys.

The old one was Dorothy Parker's "Thanks heaps, Mr. Pepys!" to Franklin Pierce Adams, who at the time was serializing his own modern-day Pepys diary (with names dropped, mistresses casually mentioned, and other similar indiscretions) in the New Yorker.
posted by Spatch at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2011


Funny how the portrait of her in the first link has her fully clothed, only her dress has randomly fallen open to expose a breast.
I wonder if it simply wasn't as big of a deal at the time. I mean different cultures have different relationships with breasts and whether or not they should be covered. This was long before puritanism really took hold, I think.
posted by delmoi at 5:51 PM on October 4, 2011


I wonder if it simply wasn't as big of a deal at the time.

It might not have been, but all the other women painted by the same artist seem to have preferred keeping themselves covered - see the "some more" link by adamvasco, above.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:46 PM on October 4, 2011


During the 16th century, women's fashions displaying their breasts were common in society, from Queens to common prostitutes, and emulated by all classes.
Similar fashions became popular in England during the 17th century when they were worn by Queen Mary II and by Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England, for whom architect Inigo Jones designed a masque costume that fully revealed both of her breasts. See also Breast Baring Popular in 1600s
posted by adamvasco at 12:09 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


In an alternate universe, Peg remembered to button her blouse before sitting for her portrait, and Pepys was all "meh".
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:53 AM on October 5, 2011


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