Historical Figures® News: January 2011

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

King George III gets a Young Queen Charlotte Sophia

George III and bride Charlotte Sophia in 1760
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
 When George Stuart first created the fabulous Figure of George III in Robes of State, his intention was to create an equally handsome Figure of Queen Charlotte Sofia. Of the three Historical Figures® created of George III at different ages, only the 1780 version received a bride.
George III and Queen Charlotte Sophia in 1780
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
For forty years, the Historical Figure of the young king in robes awaited his young queen. Now the couple of 1760, represented in their resplendent robes of state, debuted at the Museum of Ventura County along with many other Figures of English royalty.

Recently Mr. Stuart gave the last of three monologs about English royalty that began with Henry VII and ended with William IV.
Duchess of Kendal, Ehrengard Melusine
Baroness von der Schulenburg
When George I came to England in 1698, he brought an entourage including two very different ladies that would each play important roles in his new monarchy. The Duchess of Kendal, Ehrengard Melusine Baroness von der Schulenburg, became the king’s interpreter, as he spoke no English. Some said her gatekeeper position allowed her to gain wealth from those who would petition the king. She also bore him three illegitimate children.

Countess Darlington, Sophia Charlotte von Kielmanse
Figures from Museum of Ventura County Collection
Photography by Peter D'Aprix

The Countess of Darlington, Sophia Charlotte von Kielmansegg was the king’s half sister and confidant. Darlington was known for staging and managing the most elegant parties and events of the times.
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Monday, January 03, 2011

Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island is Newest Historical Figure

 In 1835 a young Native American woman was stranded on San Nicolas Island 80 miles off the coast of  Los Angeles after her tribe,  the Nicoleños were evacuated by mission padres because Russian-led Aleutian fur trappers were decimating their population. Left marooned for 18 years, her dramatic story was played out in Scott O’Dell’s Newbery Medal-winning 1960 novel, Island of the Blue Dolphins and in a 1964 movie of the same name.

She was rescued in 1853, taken to Santa Barbara and named Juana Maria. Within a few weeks the Lone Woman of San Nicolas was dead of dysentery. Unfortunately her native Nicoleño language had become extinct, so a recounting of her life on the island was lost.

Steven Schwartz, Senior Archeologist at Pt. Mugu recently reviewed the known facts about the island and its lone inhabitant at a Museum of Ventura County lecture. Interestingly he gave some evidence that on two occasions the woman may have refused rescue by fur hunters who visited the island. Mr. Schwartz continues to study the remains of past inhabitants of San Nicolas Island.

In early 2010, the Museum of Ventura County commissioned Mr. Stuart to create an Historical Figure of this astonishing woman. The elaborate base illustrates the rich fauna and flora of the island. The dog is depicted as a typical breed found among coastal Indians.

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