An abundance of publications is a sure sign that canny publishers and printers have ascertained the interest of their market in a person or a series of events. One such person, whose fame in her own time may be compared to that of the women who dominate our television and computer screens today, was Elizabeth Chudleigh (1720-1788). Chudleigh was attached to the English court as maid of honor to the Princess of Wales. She wed Augustus Hervey in a private marriage in 1744, then again publicly just before he succeeded his brother as Earl of Bristol. She was divorced in 1768 and remarried, this time to the Duke of Kingston, whose mistress she had been. At the complaint of the Duke's daughter, she was charged with bigamy, and was convicted, although she escaped punishment by fleeing to France.
Chudleigh was famous for her succession of affairs with important men, including George II, and for her social prominence; her fashionable parties were lavish beyond imagination. Her notorious exploits included her appearance at a costume party as Iphigenia, a role she interpreted as requiring near-nudity. This event is commemorated in the frontispiece of one of the many accounts of her life, all of which found a ready audience.