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Jane Myddelton, portrait by Peter Lely, 1663–5, painted for Anne, Duchess of York

Jane Myddelton or Middleton (1645–1692), name before marriage Jane Needham, was a reputed English beauty of the Restoration period, one of the Windsor Beauties. Thomas Seccombe in the Dictionary of National Biography described celebrated portraits as "representing a soft and slightly torpid type of blonde loveliness, with voluptuous figure, full lips, auburn hair, and dark hazel eyes".[1]

Life

Daughter of Sir Robert Needham (d. 1661), a nephew of Robert Needham, 1st Viscount Kilmorey, and his second wife, Jane, daughter of William Cockayne of Clapham, she was born at Lambeth during the latter part of 1645, and baptised in Lambeth Church on 23 January 1646.[2]

Jane was married at Lambeth Church on 18 June 1660 to Charles Myddelton of Ruabon, third surviving son of Sir Thomas Myddelton of Chirk. Myddelton and his wife lived in London and appear to have subsisted for a time upon the bounty of relatives. A legacy from Lady Needham fell in upon that lady's death in 1666, and another upon Sir Thomas Myddelton's death in the same year.[1]

During 1667 the Myddeltons moved to the north side of Charles Street, then at the extreme west end of London. Jane Myddelton had also a country retreat at Greenwich, and she was often a guest of George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham, at Clevedon.[1]

After the accession of James II, "Mrs. Myddelton" (Jane, it is thought) enjoyed an annual pension of £500 from secret service money. Her husband, who had for some years held a place of about £400 a year in the prize office, died insolvent in 1691. She died in the following year, and was buried beside her husband in Lambeth Church.[1]

Supposed lovers

Jane Myddelton as a married woman was much courted by men; she is now thought to have taken just two lovers, Ralph Montagu and Laurence Hyde, 1st Earl of Rochester.[3] Antonia Fraser writes that her life "was founded on masculine support in return for sexual favours", but also that her affairs "were seen more as a tribute paid to her great beauty".[4] She was an amateur artist capable of contributing to the iconography of her portraits.[3] Besides that by Peter Lely in the "Windsor Beauties" series, there was second Lely portrait (1666) commissioned by Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland for another series.[5]

Those who pursued Jane Myddelton included:[1]

Saint-Évremond introduced her into a poem, playing cards with the Duchesse de Mazarin and the Hon. Francis Villiers, and talking affectedly, to the irritation of the duchess, who is losing. Antoine Hamilton, a friend of the rejected de Gramont, wrote that she subjected her lovers to soporific talk.[1]

Family

By her husband Jane had a daughter, Jane, baptised 21 November 1661. Called Jenny, she eventually married Charles May, nephew of Baptist May, in 1711. She died in 1740. In 1678 her mother, with Elizabeth, Lady Harvey, planned for Jenny to become the mistress of Charles II, but it came to nothing.[6] At around this time Henry Gascar made a mezzotint portrait of Jenny.[7]

Jane's younger sister, Eleanor, was mistress for several years to the Duke of Monmouth and mother by him of four children, who bore the name of Crofts. One of the daughters, Henrietta (d. 1730), married in 1697 Charles Paulet, 2nd Duke of Bolton.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Myddelton, Jane". Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ Wynne, S. M. "Myddelton, Jane". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19684. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ a b Catharine MacLeod; Julia Marciari Alexander; National Portrait Gallery (Great Britain); Yale Center for British Art (2001). Painted ladies: women at the court of Charles II. National Portrait Gallery. p. 103.
  4. ^ Antonia Fraser (16 June 2011). The Weaker Vessel: Woman's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England. Orion. pp. 498–502. ISBN 978-1-78022-066-6.
  5. ^ Catharine MacLeod; Julia Marciari Alexander; National Portrait Gallery (Great Britain); Yale Center for British Art (2001). Painted ladies: women at the court of Charles II. National Portrait Gallery. pp. 53–4.
  6. ^ Catharine MacLeod; Julia Marciari Alexander; National Portrait Gallery (Great Britain); Yale Center for British Art (2001). Painted ladies: women at the court of Charles II. National Portrait Gallery. p. 244.
  7. ^ Catharine MacLeod; Julia Marciari Alexander; National Portrait Gallery (Great Britain); Yale Center for British Art (2001). Painted ladies: women at the court of Charles II. National Portrait Gallery. p. 187.
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1894). "Myddelton, Jane". Dictionary of National Biography. 39. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

1893 text

Jane, daughter to Sir Robert Needham, is frequently mentioned in the “Grammont Memoirs,” and Evelyn calls her “that famous and indeed incomparable beauty” (“Diary,” August 2nd, 1683). Her portrait is in the Royal Collection amongst the beauties of Charles II.’s Court. Sir Robert Needham was related to John Evelyn.


This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

5 Annotations

JWB  •  Link

Sorry, the preview above @ Google Books has been taken down.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On CGS' site, you need to sort by JANE NEEDHAM, not Mrs. Myddleton.

Anyone know who Mr, Myddleton was?

Terry Foreman  •  Link

Jane Myddelton or Middleton (1645–1692), name before marriage Jane Needham, was a reputed English beauty of the Restoration period, one of the Windsor Beauties. Thomas Seccombe in the Dictionary of National Biography described celebrated portraits as "representing a soft and slightly torpid type of blonde loveliness, with voluptuous figure, full lips, auburn hair, and dark hazel eyes". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Myddelton

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1665

1666

  • Jun

1667