19 June 2010

~Writing Deception~ An Early Mistake

This is a crossover post from my author blog. I don't normally do crossover information but I'm making an exception for Deception related articles. Thank you. :o) 

While writing Deception, I made reference to a certain historical person of note. At the time, I thought it was fine. Later, I looked up more info on that person and realized I could not make reference to a man who had yet to come into his fame. Who was that man? 

"Golden Ball" Hughes 

Golden Ball was best known for the significant inheritance he received from his stepfather, Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, in 1819. At the time, Golden Ball was plain Edward Hughes Ball. Eventually, he took on his stepfather's name, becoming Edward Hughes Ball Hughes. It wasn't long before he became known as "Golden Ball" Hughes.* 

With £40,000 per annum, he was easily one of, if not the, richest man in Regency England. He made something of a name for himself as a gentleman of fashion and, according to the many sources I've encountered, was an all-around pleasing gentleman. Accounted quite a handsome man, he was nevertheless rejected by more than one young lady of Society. Apparently, no amount of money could overcome his plebeian roots.

His unfortunate love life came to an end in 1822 when he met Maria Mercandotti, a 15-year-old Spanish dancer. They caused a minor scandal in 1823 when little Maria failed to appear at a performance and rumor suggested they eloped. However, they had secretly married with the permission of her mother and Lord Fife, who rumor suggests was her natural father. As I read this, all I can think is, "How romantic!" 

I found another print of Ball Hughes; the page may be of some interest to my readers, so I'll post the link to that. You have to scroll down quite a bit to reach the print of Ball Hughes but the page is all about Prinny's set so the whole thing is worth a look. Enjoy! 

Further reading: The Beaux of the Regency, Volume II, p 159, by Lewis Melville (1908); The Story of the London Parks, p 255, by Jacob Larwood (1881) 
Print of "Golden Ball" is an etching by Richard Dighton, 1819, taken from The Beaux of the Regency, Volume II, p 158, by Lewis Melville (1908) 
*Disclaimer: There are differing versions of Golden Ball's parentage. Above, I have presented Melville's version as the accurate one. However, other sources claim Ball's uncle was Admiral Sir Alexander Ball and his father a slop-seller in Ratcliffe Highway. Melville maintains that these writers were wrong and that Ball was the son of Captain Ball of the Royal Navy. Golden Ball's widowed mother married Admiral Sir Edward Hughes but produced no more children. 


  1. Interesting post, Jaimey. It makes one wonder about other historical facts we read, as to their validity.
    I am still giggling over the name "Golden Balls".
    How comically, entertaining! :-)

  2. Thanx, Cindy. ;o)

    The deeper I get into the finer details of the period, the more I realize how much is taken for granted. Many words common to the Regency genre were not actually in use at the time. I know I'm guilty of using words, phrases, and references that aren't right for the particular year of each story I've written. I'm trying to correct that in Deception and I think I've got the majority weeded out. It's very hard to do since I didn't live then, LOL!

  3. I have written a Wikipedia article on Ball Hughes, which I believe clears up some misinformation on him. Admiral Hughes was not his stepfather or his uncle, he was a step-grandfather - Ball Hughes' grandmother Ruth inherited her 2nd husband's money, and then left it to her grandson, since both of her sons were dead. Ball Hughes had an interesting sister, the "Baroness de Calabrella", a writer and journalist.

    1. Excellent! Thank you for letting us know. :O)



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