Photo finds shed new light on life of ‘Danc­ing Mar­quess’

Caernarfon Herald - - NEWS -

PRE­VI­OUSLY unseen pho­tographs of a flam­boy­ant aris­to­crat are on dis­play at his for­mer home.

Im­ages of the enig­matic Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Mar­quess of Anglesey, form part of a new ex­hi­bi­tion cel­e­brat­ing his life.

The snaps were found dur­ing a search though the ar­chives as part of the project to cre­ate a room ded­i­cated to the life of the man known as “The Danc­ing Mar­quess”.

They are thought to be the only known im­ages of the Mar­quess and his the­atri­cal troupe en­joy­ing the gar­dens at his home at Plas Newydd, on the banks of the Me­nai Strait, near Llan­fair­p­wll.

The ex­hi­bi­tion also in­cludes theatre pro­grammes, a re­pro­duc­tion of one of the Mar­quess’ cos­tumes and a mock-up of the Gai­ety Theatre - a 150-seater con­verted chapel that was built for the Mar­quess to per­form plays at Plas Newydd and re­moved by the fam­ily fol­low­ing his death.

Con­ser­va­tion assistant at Plas Newydd, Karen Allen, said: “We couldn’t be­lieve it when we found th­ese im­ages.

“None of the team had ever seen them be­fore so it caused quite a stir.

“This new dis­cov­ery is sig­nif­i­cant, as it has al­ways been un­der­stood that all other pho­tographs, col­lec­tion pieces and ref­er­ences to the Mar­quess were ei­ther sold in the in­fa­mous ‘Great Anglesey Sale’ in 1905, or sub­se­quently lost or de­stroyed.

“To see th­ese more can­did im­ages of the Mar­quess and his acting com­pany en­joy­ing the Plas Newydd gar­dens re­ally give his his­tory a sense of place.

“The only im­ages we had of them pre­vi­ously were of them on stage in full cos­tume and look more like a pho­to­shoot, so th­ese im­ages give a real in­sight into his life be­hind the glam­our.”

Henry Cyril Paget in­her­ited the ti­tle of Mar­quess of Anglesey in 1898 and was noted for squan­der­ing his in­her­i­tance on a lav­ish so­cial life, buy­ing jew­ellery and furs, and to throw ex­trav­a­gant par­ties and flam­boy­ant the­atri­cal t per­forp mances. m

By 1904, de­spite his in­her­i­tance and a in­come, Paget P had ac­cu­mu­lated debts of £544,000 £ (£50m in 2014) 2 and was de­clared bank­rupt.

Af­ter his death, the “Great Anglesey Sale” took place, where around 17,000 lots were sold.

The 5th Mar­quess’ story has seen a resur­gence in re­cent years, ap­pear­ing on the Na­tional Trust’s mag­a­zine front cover last year.

His his­tory, or lack of it, in­spired Anglesey-born writer and per­former Seiriol Cwyfan Davies to cre­ate the Pic­tures: NA­TIONAL TRUST award-win­ning mu­si­cal, How To Win Against His­tory.

The play has been per­formed to au­di­ences through­out the UK and a video from one per­for­mance will also be shown as part of the ex­hi­bi­tion room in the near fu­ture.

Mr Davies said: “This is such a fun dis­cov­ery, and amaz­ing to see Mar­quis V in a bit more of a re­laxed state than we’re used to.

“It’s a heck of a lot more tan­gi­ble than the spec­tral staged shots that form the bulk of what is at Plas Newydd of him, and it’s per­fect tim­ing to find them as he’s wel­comed back into the bo­som of the house.” ● The new ex­hi­bi­tion at Plas Newydd is open daily, be­tween 11am and 5pm.

● Some of the long-unseen snaps of Cyril Henry Paget – The 5th Mar­quess of Anglesey

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