Friday, June 1

It's a Beautiful Wife

Image courtesy of
David Castor
By Grant Davies

On some day in June (maybe even this one) in 1797, a homely forty seven year old man named John Nash moved into a new home in London. About six months later he married a beautiful girl twenty years younger than himself and his career took off like a rocket.

A beautiful wife can do that for your fortunes, particularly if she happens to be inclined to have frequent exercise sessions with the Prince of Wales. Nash had a ton of talent, but not an ounce of sponsorship, so if one of his friends needed a workout buddy now and again, why not help out with a little tolerance? Who knows, maybe that friend can do a favor or two for you sometime.

John may have been a tad unappealing physically, but he wasn't one to let his past problems with females stand in the way of his path to success. His first wife liked to spend money he didn't have, and engage in "energetic frolics" (as one historian words it) with lots of other men, so he was familiar with infidelity. He might have been more forgiving of her hobbies if she hadn't presented him with two children, neither of which were sired by him. But she did, so he divorced her, moved away, and went about his business of designing government buildings and the like with only a middling amount of success.

Despite his looks - he was described by a less than diplomatic contemporary as having "a face like a monkey" and even in his own words he was "a thick, squat, dwarf figure, with round head, snub nose, and little eyes" - he was as bright as could be and had an uncanny ability to bounce back from misfortune.

Anyway, when his buddy the Prince of Wales became the current King George IV, his convenient friendship changed his luck forever. Even though the scandal didn't go unnoticed - there was a political cartoon published showing a half dressed King embracing Nash's wife - both Nash and the King escaped with minimal damage.

He designed more than a few buildings for the King, and went on to become one of the most famous architects in history. You might have heard of some of his works, which include: Buckingham Palace, Regent's Park, Regent Street, and Piccadilly Circus. He designed Trafalgar Square even though his death left others to build it.

When the King died, Nash's career died with him. The moral (or immoral, if you prefer) of the story is this: Behind every successful man lies a good wife, particularly if he doesn't mind who she's lying with.

Source material: At Home - A Short History of Private Life - by Bill Bryson


  1. Thought you were about to go with the Vanderbilt coach angle. "I've been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant coach until I've seen his wife," Franklin said in the interview. "If she looks the part, and she's a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That's part of the deal.

    "There's a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a woman, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being fun and articulate, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him."

    1. That's the thing about this site, it's usually not about what you think it's about.

      As that famous fictional character, Forrest Gump's mother, always said, "Ya never know what you're gunna git."


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