Lola Montez, a 19th Century Adventuress

Lola Montez was born Eliza Gilbert in Sligo, Ireland in 1821. Her father was an English army officer and her mother a milliner. Her father died in India when she was three and she was sent back to England to stay with the relatives of her mother’s second husband. Married at 16 to a man twice her age the marriage soon disintegrated. Soon afterwards she metamorphosed into Lola Montez, a Spanish dancer. Although she was a great beauty, she was not a good dancer, nevertheless she obviously had other attributes as she became the mistress of many famous men. Her biggest conquest was Ludwig I, king of Bavaria, whom she met in 1846. Because of the scandal that she caused, Ludwig was forced to relinquish his throne in 1848 and Lola was expelled from Munich.

Her travels took her to America, where she entertained the gold diggers of California, gave lectures and wrote books. She also visited Australia. She died in New York in 1861, aged 39, after having packed such a great deal into her short life.

This talk looks at Lola’s outrageous life and scandals.

Lola Montez by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1847, as exhibited in the Gallery of Beauties of Ludwig I

All talks are given with the aid of a PowerPoint presentation.