Lady Hester Lucy Stanhope (1776-1839), Traveller
Sitter in 1 portrait
Lady Hester Stanhope spent several years keeping house for her uncle, the Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, a period that she claimed was the happiest of her life. After his death she left Britain for Turkey, ostensibly to make her money go further, and never returned. Myths accumulated around her as she travelled the Middle East, making a spectacular entry into Palmyra in 1813, calling herself 'Queen of the Desert'. Travelling in extravagant style, she gradually sank deeper into debt. Her later years were spent in a ruined Lebanese monastery, initially admired but living increasingly in destitution.