D'Orsay Pump

   At one time pumps were popular footwear for men. The trouble with pumps was that they tended to gape on the sides. Alfred Gabriel, the Count d'Orsay (1801-1852), decided that a pump with cut-down sides would fit more snugly. It did. He then added a V-shaped top line. Women came to believe that the pump, since it now fit well, would make a comfortable and stylish shoe for them, too.
   A son of a distinguished general, Count d'Orsay was perhaps the last of the dandies. He joined the army and served as a bodyguard for Louis XVIII. He was an exceptionally handsome man and an accomplished painter, sculptor, and wit. He was considered the most perfect gentleman of his day.
   D'Orsay entered into a strange relationship with the Lord and Countess Blessington. He married the fifteen-year-old daughter of Lord Blessington by a previous marriage. The couple separated almost immediately, and after Lord Blessington died, d'Orsay married Blessington's widow, who had been living in France, and returned to England with her. This peculiar arrangement was mentioned frequently in Lord Byron's correspondence. D'Orsay was appointed Director of Fine Arts in Paris by Louis Napoleon, whom he had befriended in London. But d'Orsay died in poverty before he could enjoy his new position. The famous Quai d'Orsay, the quay along the Seine where the French foreign affairs and other government agencies are located, was named for d'Orsay's distinguished father. It is a counterpart to England's Downing Street, where England's prime minister resides.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

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