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Silky’s life changed dramatically after her marriage to Lord Anthony Ashley-Cooper in February 1926. And not entirely for the better. Though they remained legally married until 1935, they were estranged after about two years. There were probably several reasons for this separation, but I know a little something about a city girl being taken to the country and how poorly that can go.

Today’s photo is a shot of Sylvia nearly a year after her marriage to Tony. I believe it’s a sitting in a series done by Cecil Beaton, but that’s not verified. The background has been painted over to make it more newspaper printable, but I can see the shadows of the lilies he was so fond of using as backdrops for his stylized portraits. This was also about the time he began photographing and reporting on London society for Vogue. And he had a lot to say about Silky.

The plaid frock she’s wearing is the same one she’s got on in pictures published by the Tatler in November 1927. I found it at the Newspaper Library in Colindale when I was researching in London eleven years ago. She is seated long-ways on a loveseat, a book in her lap with two small cameo shots in the upper corners. She warrants an entire page and the caption lists her husband’s education and titles, ending with “Lady Ashley was before her marriage a charming personality on our stage.”

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