Biography & True Story Books:

Divided Affections

The Extraordinary Life of Maria Cosway, Celebrity Artist and Thomas Jefferson's Impossible Love



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Divided Affections by Carol Burnell

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Maria Hadfield Cosway was a beautiful and talented English artist, who accompanied her husband, the miniature portrait painter, Richard Cosway, to Paris, in 1786, where she was introduced to Thomas Jefferson, then American Envoy to the Court of Versailles. The future President of the United States fell in love with the young Mrs. Cosway the day they met. Their impossible love was immortalised in Jefferson's 4000-word letter, a Dialogue between the Head and the Heart, which marked the beginning of a lifelong correspondence, the record of a touching and unrequited affection. But Maria Cosway's life is not only extraordinary because of her relationship with the American ambassador. She was a celebrity artist, an exceptional musician, a Regency hostess who entertained the Prince of Wales, later an intimate of the Bonapartes, and finally a successful founder of schools. For her pioneering work in women's education, this daughter of an innkeeper was given the title of Baroness by the Austrian emperor Franz I.

Author Biography

Carol Burnell read English literature at Columbia University as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. After several years spent teaching, she entered government service, notably in the White House as an aide to the First Lady and later writing speeches for the American ambassador to France, while serving in the US Embassy. In reading the papers of a former resident of the White House, Thomas Jefferson, and following the Paris footsteps of the second American envoy to France, the same Mr Jefferson, she discovered and became fascinated by the charming Mrs Cosway. Living in France for over twenty years, where she worked as a speechwriter for a large international company, the author pursued her interest in Maria Cosway's life, carrying out research in Italy, France, Britain, and the United States.
Release date NZ
January 10th, 2008
Country of Publication
Column House
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