in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 24 – Mrs. Dobbs Broughton’s Dinner-Party

Three Graces in the picture

Conway Dalrymple paints a portrait of Mrs. Broughton as all three of the Graces, Classical goddesses of beauty who were associated with Aphrodite.  [EB 2006]

The artificiality of the association between Mrs. Dobbs Broughton and the Graces contrasts with the natural grace and graciousness of Grace Crawley.  [RR 2011]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


That countess as a goddess with a helmet

This description of one of Conway Dalrymple’s paintings suggests that the countess was depicted as the goddess Athena, often portrayed wearing a helmet.  [EB 2011]


His Grace was surely of all Graces the least gracious

Conway refers to Mrs. Broughton with this phrase, playing on the name of the Graces that he painted her as, and the English word “gracious” that is related to the goddesses’ names.  [EB 2006]


Clara van Siever

Clara’s first name is the Latin world meaning “clear” or “bright.”  Clara tends to take a balanced, clear-minded perspective on the events of the novel, making this a suitable name.  [EB 2006]