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Winnaretta Singer (January 8, 1865 – November 26, 1943)

Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac was a musical patron and heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. Born in America, she lived most of her adult life in France.
Born: January 8, 1865, Yonkers, New York, United States
Died: November 26, 1943, London, United Kingdom
Spouse: Prince Edmond de Polignac (m. 1893–1901), Louis de Scey-Montbéliard (m. 1887–1892)
Siblings: Mortimer Singer, Washington Singer, more
Parents: Isabella Eugénie Boyer, Isaac Singer
Grandparents: Ruth Benson, Louis Noel Boyer, Adam Singer, Pamilla Boyer
Lived: Oldway Mansion, Torquay Rd, Paignton, Torbay TQ3 2TY, UK (50.44304, -3.56768)
Fondation Singer-Polignac, 43 Avenue Georges Mandel, 75116 Paris, France (48.8634, 2.28158)
Buried: Torquay Crematorium, Torquay, Torbay Unitary Authority, Devon, England

Prince Edmond Melchior Jean Marie de Polignac was a French composer. Polignac, inept with money and impoverished through investments in a series of get-rich-quick schemes, was destitute; the solution was marriage to a woman of appropriate means. Élisabeth Greffulhe, cousin of his friend Comte Robert de Montesquiou, suggested the name of Winnaretta Singer. Although known within private social circles to be lesbian, Winnaretta had married at the age of 22 to Prince Louis de Scey-Montbéliard. The marriage was annulled in 1892 by the Catholic church, five years after a wedding night that reportedly included the bride's climbing atop an armoire and threatening to kill the groom if he came near her. Polignac and Winnaretta married on December 15, 1893. Although it was a mariage blanc (unconsummated marriage), or indeed a lavender marriage, it was based on profound love, mutual respect, understanding, and artistic friendship. Among Winnaretta’s lovers, history counts: Violet Trefusis, Romaine Brooks, Renata Borgatti, Olga de Meyer, and Alvilde Chaplin. Edmond was interred in the Singer crypt in Torquay.
Together from 1893 to 1901: 8 years.
Edmond Melchior Jean Marie de Polignac (April 19, 1834 – August 8, 1901)
Winnaretta Eugenie Singer (January 8, 1865 – November 26, 1943)



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Dame Ethel Smyth was an English composer and a member of the women's suffrage movement. Smyth had several affairs in her life, most of them with women. Her philosopher-friend and the librettist of some of her operas, Henry Bennet Brewster, may have been her only male lover. In 1892, she wrote to him: "I wonder why it is so much easier for me to love my own sex passionately than yours. I can't make it out for I am a very healthy-minded person." Smyth was in love, not reciprocated, with Emmeline Pankhurst and Virginia Woolf, who, both alarmed and amused, said it was "like being caught by a giant crab", but the two became friends. Later she fell in love with Winnaretta Singer. The affronted husband of one of Singer’s lovers once stood outside the princess's Venetian palazzo, declaring, "If you are half the man I think you are, you will come out here and fight me.“ Ethel Smyth's dog, called Marco, was a half-breed St. Bernard that had been given to her by a friend in 1887. Marco's unruly temperament was notorious and he had once almost ruined a rehearsal of Brahms's Piano Quintet at Adolph Brodsky's house by bursting into the room and overturning the cellist's desk.
They met around 1905 and remained friends until 1920: 15 years.
Dame Ethel Mary Smyth, DBE (April 23, 1858 – May 8, 1944)
Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac (January 8, 1865 – November 26, 1943)



Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
ISBN-10: 1500563323
Release Date: September 21, 2014
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

The Singer-Polignac Foundation, created in 1928 in Paris through a donation by Winnaretta Singer, is a public administrative establishment under the supervision of the Ministère de Interior, dedicated to the patronage of the arts, letters and science. The foundation receives no assistance from the state and its activities are financed by its own funds. Its current president is Yves Pouliquen, of the French Academy .
Address: 43 Avenue Georges Mandel, 75116 Paris, France (48.8634, 2.28158)
Type: Private Property
Phone: +33 1 47 27 38 66
Place
Built in 1890
On the death of Winnaretta Singer, the Singer-Polignac Foundation inherited her mansion, located at 43, avenue Georges-Mandel, Paris, and moved there in 1945. In 1926 Winnaretta Singer, Princess Edmond de Polignac, wanted to support the work of the Collège de France and planned to bequeath her fortune to them. After seeking advice from Maurice Palaeologus, and with the support of Raymond Poincaré and Joseph Bedier, she chose to create a corporation named Singer-Polignac Foundation which takes its legal form in 1928. This creation is accompanied by an endowment of 300,000 francs. Since the death of Winnaretta Singer, the foundation received from the Royal Trust Co. in Montreal an amount ranging from 150 000-180 000 Canadian dollars and presented as an anonymous donation “in memory of Winnaretta Singer, Princess Edmond de Polignac.”
Life
Who: Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac (January 8, 1865 – November 26, 1943)
In 1894 Winnaretta Singer and her husband Prince Edmond de Polignac established a salon in Paris in the music room of their mansion on Avenue Henri-Martin (today, Avenue Georges-Mandel.) The Polignac salon came to be known as a haven for avant-garde music. First performances of Chabrier, d’Indy, Debussy, Fauré, and Ravel took place in the Polignac salon. The young Ravel dedicated his piano work, “Pavane pour une infante défunte,” to the Princesse de Polignac. Many of Marcel Proust’s evocations of salon culture were born during his attendance at concerts in the Polignac drawing room. After her husband’s death, Winnaretta Singer-Polignac used her fortune to benefit the arts, sciences, and letters. She decided to honor his memory by commissioning several works of the young composers of her time, amongst others Igor Stravinsky’s “Renard,” Erik Satie’s “Socrate” (by her intercession Satie was kept out of jail when he was composing this work), Darius Milhaud’s “Les Malheurs d’Orphée,” Francis Poulenc’s “Concerto for Two Pianos” and “Organ Concerto,” Jean Françaix’s “Le Diable boîteux” and “Sérénade pour douze instruments,” Kurt Weill’s “Second Symphony,” and Germaine Tailleferre’s “First Piano Concerto.” Manuel de Falla’s “El retablo de maese Pedro” was premiered there, with the harpsichord part performed by Wanda Landowska. In addition to Marcel Proust and Antonio de La Gandara, the Princesse de Polignac’s salon was frequented by Isadora Duncan, Jean Cocteau, Claude Monet, Serge Diaghilev, and Colette. She was also patron to many others, including Nadia Boulanger, Clara Haskil, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Armande de Polignac, Ethel Smyth, Le Corbusier, Adela Maddison, the Ballets Russes, l’Opéra de Paris, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris. In addition to performing as pianist and organist in her own salon, she was an accomplished painter who exhibited in the Académie des Beaux-Arts. One canvas eventually appeared in the showcase of an art gallery, advertised as being a Manet.



Queer Places, Vol. 3 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906695
ISBN-10: 1532906692
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228901
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532906692/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
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Oldway Mansion is a large house and gardens in Paignton, Devon. It was built as a private residence for Isaac Merritt Singer, and rebuilt by his third son Paris Singer in the style of the Palace of Versailles.
Address: Torquay Rd, Paignton, Torbay TQ3 2TY, UK (50.44304, -3.56768)
Type: Museum (open to public)
Phone: +44 1803 207933
English Heritage Building ID: 383869 (Grade II, 1951)
Place
Design by George Soudon Bridgman (1839-1925)
Around 1871 the Fernham estate in Paignton was purchased by Isaac Merritt Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The old buildings on the site were demolished and he built a new mansion as his home. Isaac Merritt Singer died on 23 July, 1875, shortly before work on the original mansion was completed. Paris Eugene Singer, Isaac Singer’s third son, supervised the alterations at Oldway Mansion between 1904 and 1907. The rebuilding work was modelled on the Palace of Versailles, and the eastern elevation of the building was inspired by the Place de la Concorde in Paris. The interior of the building is noted for its grand staircase made from marble and balusters of bronze. The ceiling of the staircase is decorated with an ornate painting based on an original design for the Palace of Versailles by the French painter and architect Joseph Lebrun. The ceiling is a replica painted by Carl Rossner. Above the grand staircase there is a reproduction of the first version of Jacques-Louis David’s painting “The Crowning of Josephine by Napoleon.” The original was purchased by Paris Singer in the late XIX century. The painting was sold to the French government in 1946 and now hangs in the Palace of Versailles. The reproduction at the mansion, which is in the same place as the original, is a colour photocopy and was unveiled in 1995. The gallery on the first floor is a reproduction of the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, and is floored in parquet. The gallery leads into the ballroom, which contains walls of gilt panelling and mirrors. Above the fireplace there is an oil painting of Louis of Bourbon dating from 1717. Oldway Mansion is set in 17 acres (69,000 m2) of gardens, which are laid out on an Italian theme by the French landscape gardener Achille Duchesne. Beneath the eastern elevation of the building is the maze, which consists of dwarf box hedging and flower beds. To the south of the mansion there is the grotto garden where a waterfall passes over a rocky cave into a pool below. The grounds of the mansion contain many sub-tropical plants and shrubs. Opposite the main entrance to the mansion is a large round building known as The Rotunda. This was built in 1873, and was used originally as a horse riding pavilion and exercise area. Isaac Merritt Singer gave this building the nickname of "The Wigwam.” Following the end of an affair with the dancer Isadora Duncan in 1917, Paris Singer became an American citizen and went to live in the United States. This was done partly for tax reasons, and after 1918 Oldway Mansion was no longer the permanent home of the Singer family. During the period of WWI from 1914 to 1918, Oldway Mansion was transformed into the American Women’s War Relief Hospital. The Rotunda was converted to house rows of beds for the wounded soldiers being brought back to England from the trenches of France and Belgium. Oldway Mansion became the Torbay Country Club in 1929. During this period tennis courts and a bowling green were added to the grounds. Torbay Golf & Country Club opened in 1933. Oldway Mansion was used as the club house, with the course in the hills above the Mansion. The course closed in the mid 1950s. During WWII from 1939 to 1945, Oldway was used in the war effort by housing RAF cadets training to be aircrew. In 1943 Oldway was damaged in an air raid, along with many other buildings in Paignton. Paignton Urban District Council purchased Oldway Mansion from the Singer family in 1946 for £45,000. It is estimated that around £200,000 was spent on building the mansion. Until 2013, the building was used as council offices and for civil marriage ceremonies. On April 30, 2012, plans for Oldway Mansion to be converted into a luxury hotel and sheltered retirement flats were approved by Torbay Council. On December 21, 2005, the ballroom at Oldway Mansion was the location for Devon’s first civil partnership. The registration was officially witnessed by the Mayor of Torbay and his dignitaries.
Life
Who: Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac (January 8, 1865 – November 26, 1943)
Winnaretta Singer was a musical patron and heir to the Singer sewing machine fortune. She was the twentieth of the 24 children of Isaac Singer. Her mother was his Parisian-born second wife, Isabella Eugenie Boyer. Winnaretta was born in Yonkers, New York. After the American Civil War, the Singer family moved to Paris, where they remained until the Franco-Prussian War. The family then settled in England, first in London, and then to Paignton, Devon where they moved to Oldway Mansion a 115-room palace built by her father. After Isaac Singer’s death in 1875, Isabelle and her children moved back to Paris. Although known within private social circles to be lesbian, Winnaretta married at the age of 22 to Prince Louis de Scey-Montbéliard. The marriage was annulled in 1892 by the Catholic church, five years after a wedding night that reportedly included the bride’s climbing atop an armoire and threatening to kill the groom if he came near her. In 1893, at the age of 29, she stepped companionably into an equally chaste marriage with the 59-year-old Prince Edmond de Polignac (1834-1901), a gay amateur composer. Although it was a mariage blanc (unconsummated marriage), it was based on profound love, mutual respect, understanding, and artistic friendship, expressed especially through their love of music. She had affairs with numerous women, never making attempts to conceal them, and never going for any great length of time without a female lover. She had these affairs during her own marriage and afterward, and often with other married women. The affronted husband of one of her lovers once stood outside the princess’s Venetian palazzo, declaring, "If you are half the man I think you are, you will come out here and fight me." Singer had a relationship with painter Romaine Brooks (1874-1970), which had begun in 1905, and which effectively ended her affair with Olga de Meyer (1871-ca. 1930), who was married at the time and whose godfather (and purported biological father) was Edward VII. Composer and conductor Ethel Smyth (1858-1944) fell deeply in love with her during their affair. In the early 1920s Singer became involved with pianist Renata Borgatti (1894-1964.) From 1923 to 1933 her partner was the British socialite and novelist Violet Trefusis (1894-1972), with whom she had a loving but often turbulent relationship. Alvilde Chaplin (1909-1994), future wife of the author James Lees-Milne (1908-1997), was involved with Singer from 1938 to 1943; the two women were living together in London at the time of Winnaretta’s death. Winnaretta and her husband are buried together at Torquay Cemetary (Torquay, Torbay TQ2).



Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
ISBN-13: 978-1532906312
ISBN-10: 1532906315
Release Date: July 24, 2016
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/6228833
Amazon (print): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1532906315/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IZ1KZBO/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

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