The Kit-Cat Club

Posted in English Literature, Historical articles, Politics on Sunday, 31 July 2011

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The Kit-Cat Club was probably established at the end of the seventeenth century, but its fame belongs to the age of great wits and statesmen in the first half of the eighteenth century. It certainly owed its founding and essential principles to the ideals enshrined in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Kit-Kat Club. picture. image. illustration

The Kit-Kat club toast Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Some decades later it promoted Whig policies with all the intrigue and power-wielding confidence of an exclusive circle of like-minded individuals with a strong sense of entitlement and their country’s greatness. Indeed, it was Horace Walpole who characterised the Kit-Cat Club as “the patriots that saved Britain” rather than a curious collection of like-minded middle-aged wits. An earlier name for the club may well have been ‘The Order of the Toast’, and the Kit-Kat was famous for its toasting glasses, engraved with verses relating to the subject of those famous toasts. They were always given to the greatest beauties of the day, most famously the three daughters of the 1st Duke of Marlborough. the Duchess of Beaufort, the Duchess of St Albans and one girl distinguished not only by her beauty but by her slender age of just eight years. This was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, whose father was the 5th Earl of Kingston-upon-Hull. She was to become one of the most influential letter writers of the century and an important figure in the early history of women’s intellectual history.

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