Blessington, Marguerite, countess of

Blessington, Marguerite, countess of,

1789–1849, English author and famous beauty, b. Ireland. At the age of 14 she was forced by her father into marriage with Capt. Maurice St. Leger Farmer, a sadist who abused her. She soon left him and after his death married (1818) the earl of Blessington. In 1822 she began a liaison with Count D'Orsay (husband of her stepdaughter), and with him, after Blessington's death, set up a brilliant salon at Gore House, Kensington. To meet expenses she wrote a number of popular novels. Her most successful work, however, is her graphic journal of her Conversations with Lord Byron (1834).