Exaltation of Faro’s Daughters

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One of the challenges to the feminine ideal, also and not coincidentally a vehicle for exercising power, was gaming. Exaltation of Faro’s Daughters (1796) speaks to a society-wide vice through the notoriety of Lady Buckinghamshire and Lady Sarah Archer’s as faro bankers. Irony emerges from the discrepancies between print content, public shaming on the elevated pillory, and the triple-entendre of “exaltation”: physical elevation, sexual rapture, and admiration of rank and importance. Older aristocratic women only loosely tied to the domestic sphere, especially widows, were perceived as dangerous wielders of social power over men and younger women, on whom the future of an orderly British society depended (D. Donald, Satirical Prints 106).