Lola Montez

(1821-1861)

 

From a 1847 portrait by Joseph Stieler - more images of Lola



Biographical info

Lola Montez - 3 page bio at Divas - The Site ... Famous both for her self-created "Tarantula Dance", as well as being the inspiration for the expression "Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets", Miss Montez serves as an excellent example of what one can do if possessed of a little drive and ambition, as well as ...

From Montez, Lola at Encyclopædia Britannica Women in American History ...

Born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1818, Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert spent much of her girlhood in India but was educated in Scotland and England. At age 19 she eloped with Lieutenant Thomas James; the couple separated five years later and in 1843 Gilbert launched a career as a dancer. Her London debut as "Lola Montez, the Spanish dancer" in June 1843 was disrupted when she was recognized as Mrs. James. ...

Just for the record, Lola Montez was actually born February 17, 1821 in Grange, County Sligo, Ireland. See: Discrepancies concerning the record of Lola Montez

Timeline
  • February 17, 1821 - born in Grange, County Sligo, Ireland, christened Eliza Rosanna Gilbert
  • 1823 - the Gilberts moved to India; a few months after arrival her father died of cholera. Her mother remarried the following year.
  • 1826-27 - Eliza sent to live with relatives of her stepfather in Scotland, turning six during the voyage.
  • 1832 - eleven-year-old Eliza sent to a boarding school at Bath, in England.
  • 1837 - against her mother's matrimonial plans for her, sixteen-year-old Eliza eloped with Lieutenant Thomas James, who had accompanied her mother on the journey from India to Bath.
  • 1843 - London debut as "Lola Montez, the Spanish dancer" [June]
  • 1846 - danced in Munich, and became mistress of Louis I (Ludwig I) of Bavaria.
  • 1847 - made Countess of Landsfeld on the King's birthday, August 25th.
  • 1848 - the Bavarians revolted, Ludwig abdicated and Lola fled the country.
  • 1851-1853 - performed in the eastern United States
  • 1853 - arrived at San Francisco in May, married Patrick Hull in July and moved to Grass Valley, California in August.
  • 1855-56 - tour of Australia
  • January 17, 1861 - died in New York of pneumonia
From E Clampus ... Eliza Gilbert was born the daughter of a Spanish beauty and a British solder in Ireland in 1818. Her father was transferred to India and she spent her early years there. After her father died, her mother remarried and she was sent to live with Calvinistic relatives in England. She had a difficult time adjusting to this newer stricter life.... "In a squalid boarding house in the Hell’s Kitchen district of New York, Lola Montez died on January 17, 1861. The notorious Countess of Landsfield, once loved for her beauty and character... not her dancing... was only 42. Her lifetime had been a fable... with a little truth mixed in." --Lola Montez - by E Clampus Vitus (Credo Quia Absurdum)

Annie Lore adds a comment on the Clampers' entry ... They state: "Eliza Gilbert was born the daughter of a Spanish beauty and a British solder in Ireland..." Lola's mother (also named Elizabeth or Eliza) was not Spanish; she was an illegitimate daughter of Charles Oliver, scion of the powerful Irish Olivers and a member of parliament. As to "In a squalid boarding house in the Hell’s Kitchen district of New York, Lola Montez died..." I'm not sure at this moment which account they're quoting here, but suffice to say that Lola had very decent lodgings and care during her last days. The sometimes lurid, and even horrifying, descriptions of her circumstances have no basis in documented fact, and I believe spring from a moralising desire to see that her sins of unconventionality were punished with terrible sufferings. Just for the record! -The ever-corrective Annie Lore
The California gold camps were hard on the ladies, but that didn't stop them
from arriving, surviving, and sometimes thriving
.

Full of life and vinegar was the infamous Lola Montez. Born in Ireland in 1818, she was an actress of questionable morals and talent. By the time she reached San Francisco, she had been through three marriages and numerous scandals involving the likes of Ludwig I of Bavaria and composer Franz Liszt. When Montez took her famed "spider dance" into the gold fields, it wasn't warmly received. In fact, the miners booed her off the stage. She threatened to horsewhip one newspaper editor who had given her a bad review, and dared another to a duel. -- No Place for a Woman? By Patricia Cronin Marcello

Glamorous and boldly unconventional, La Lola attracted an enthusiastic following based more on her persona and her beauty than on her talent. She thrilled Gold Rush San Francisco with her amorous scandals and famously suggestive "Spider Dance." A "liberated" woman, she was also known for her affairs with Franz Liszt and King Ludwig I of Bavaria. First appearing in San Francisco in May of 1853, Lola Montez spent a year in California's sleepy Sierra town of Grass Valley, where she took an interest in a young neighbor named Lotta Crabtree. -- The San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum (SF PALM) www.sfpalm.org

Just two doors down from their boarding house, the infamous actress and Countess of Landsfeldt, Lola Montez herself had set up housekeeping. Mary Ann became acquainted with her and soon little Lotta, who adored Lola, became her protégé and was allowed to play in her costumes and dance to her German music box. -- Lotta Crabtree, Fairy Star of the Gold Rush @Nevada County Gold Online

In her twenty year career, she had become the single most talked about woman of her time ..

In January of 1861, the New York Times reported that the "wonderfully chequered" career of Lola Montez had come to an end. By "wonderfully chequered" the Times meant to say that Lola had rejected traditional Victorian social mores. She had led an unconventional life; she was the center of many scandals, travelled the world, and even incited riot. Though she was the talk of the day, the New York Times made her appear to be an errant sinner, rather than the hell-raising harridan that shocked the Victorian world. -- Lola Montez: The Reluctant Victorian - By Robyn Blaber and Dr. Toni Johnson-Woods

Montez published Anecdotes of Love; Being a True Account of the Most Remarkable Events Connected with the History of Love; in All Ages and among All Nations (1858), The Arts of Beauty, or, Secrets of a Lady's Toilet with Hints to Gentlemen on the Art of Fascination (1858), and Lectures of Lola Montez, Including Her Autobiography (1858).

Died January 17, 1861
Buried at Green-Wood Cemetery, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, New York
Lola Montez's Grave
Lola Montez : A Life
by Bruce Seymour
480 pages (March 1998)
Yale University Press; ISBN: 0300074395 [amazon]
LOLA MONTEZ A Life at Yale University Press - includes reviews
Lola Montez files from Bruce Seymour - an exclusive from the author of the definitive Lola biography

"Bruce Seymour describes Lola’s disastrous early marriage to her mother’s admirer, her many romantic liaisons after she left her husband, her disappearance to Spain when she was about to be sued for divorce, her reappearance as a Spanish noblewoman and dancer, and her love affairs with, among others, Franz Liszt. Seymour uses the recently discovered intimate correspondence between Lola and King Ludwig I of Bavaria to recount how she won the heart of the aging king, how she was driven from his kingdom by an angry mob, and how Ludwig ultimately abdicated because of her. Seymour presents an unretouched portrait of a woman of contradictory parts---a woman who was beautiful, intelligent, and courageous but was also monstrously egocentric and manipulative and who was above all an independent woman ahead of her time." [review]

... no thorough biography of Montez has been done in over 20 years and since all previous works relied perhaps too heavily on Montez's version of her life, Seymour's work fills the gap by providing the definitive biography [more info and reviews]

Links ...

Much contradictory information has been published about Lola. Some of this comes from her own autobiography - a source of much of the misinformation about her, filled with her own distortions and inventions. Others come from the many "memoirs" and "biographies" of Lola in her lifetime. See: Discrepancies concerning the record of Lola Montez

The Hotel has hosted many luminaries from four of America's most famed presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, James A. Garfield and Grover Cleveland to boxers Gentleman Jim Corbett and Bob Fitzsimmons. The Holbrooke soon became the focal point of the art world, attraction writers such as Mark Twain and Bret Harte, dancer Lotta Crabtree and internationally renowned actress-dancer Lola Montez. Of course, the history would not be complete without the more infamous of characters, Black Bart.

It’s the show that never was… Being the Singular Opening Night Performance of Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Starring Lola Montez Presented by the Excelsior Theatrical Company in Association with the San Francisco Fringe Festival ... FOUR SHOWS ONLY · Saturday, September 7th at 4:00 and 9:00PM · Friday the 13th (our UnLucky in Love show) at 9:00pm · Sunday, September 15th at 4:00pm At Venue 9 252 Ninth Street (between Howard & Folsom) in San Francisco - For more, see: www.excelsiorcompany.com

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