John and Letitia Isabella, Lord and Lady Robartes

Count and Countess of Radnor

Mentions in Memoirs: Folio 227

Letitia Isabella (1630-1714), wife of John Lord Robartes, afterwards the first earl of Radnor and Viscount Bodmin, was present at several of the salons Lister attended in Montpellier. Lord Robartes was Lord Privy Seal from 1661 to 1673, Speaker of the House of Lords and was a fellow of the Royal Society.

Samuel Pepys visited him in his capacity as Lord Privy Seal several times, describing his house in London:

Here I saw by day-light two very fine pictures in the gallery, that a little while ago I saw by night; and did also go all over the house, and found it to be the prettiest contrived house that ever I saw in my life.  — Samuel Pepys, Diary, 30 September 1661.

Lady Letitia was the daughter of Sir John Smith of Bidborough, Kent, and she married Lord Robartes in 1646/7.  Lady Robartes featured in the Memoirs of the Count of Gramont.

He wrote,

Lady Robartes was celebrated for her beauty . . . . Its first impression was considerable; however, in spite of the brilliance of her vivid colouring, as well as all the brilliance of youth and everything besides which renders a woman seductive, she could turn it to no account . . . . Lord Robartes, this beautiful lady’s husband, was as ill-humoured, awkward, and cantankerous an old fellow as it would be possible to imagine. He was desperately in love with her and, to complete her ill-luck, perpetually in attendance on her person whereever she went. 1

Lady Robartes’ portrait can be seen here,  here and here.  As she was such a great beauty, several versions of her portrait exist, including one belonging to the Earl of Dunraven at Adare.

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  1. Anthony Hamilton, Memoirs of the Count of Gramont, trans. Peter Quennell (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1905), 167.

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