A Tale of Chivalry, Passion, and Great Houses
by Lucy Worsley
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William Cavendish embodied the popular image of a cavalier. He was both courageous and cultured. His passions were architecture, horses, and women. And, along with the whole courtly world of King Charles I and his cavaliers, he was doomed to failure.
Cavendish was a master of manège (the art of teaching horses to dance) and obsessed with building beautiful houses in the latest style. He taught Charles I's son to ride, and was the general of the king's army in the north during the Civil War. Famously defeated at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, he went into a long continental exile before returning to England in triumph upon the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660.
This is the story of one remarkable man, but it is also a rich evocation of what sustained him-his elaborate household. Lucy Worsley brings to life the complex and fascinating hierarchies among the inhabitants of the great houses of the seventeenth century, painting a picture of conspiracy, sexual intrigue, clandestine marriage, and gossip. From Ben Jonson and Anthony Van Dyck to long-forgotten servants, Cavalier recreates the cacophony, stink, ceremony, and splendor of the stately home and its inhabitants.
- Bloomsbury Publishing, December 2008
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