–-Scarlett O’Hara had nothing on me!
In a lecture a few years ago at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, it was revealed that Arabella Huntington, powerful arts patroness, happened to be a tempting siren.
Mystery shrouds the birth of her son. At the time, there were not two, but three gentlemen involved with Mrs. H, who could have sired the heir to the Huntington fortune.
Arabella went by the nickname Belle.
The stoic portrait of Arabella at the left, painted by Sir Oswald Birley, graces the entrance of the Huntington’s Research Library. It teaches us not to judge a book by its cover, nor a dowager by her spectacles, black garb, and beekeeper’s veil.