Sybil Fane, Countess of Westmorland (born 20 August 1871, died 21 July 1910) was a socialite and member of the British aristocracy.
Born Lady Sybil Mary St.Clair-Erskine, she was the daughter of Robert Francis St.Clair-Erskine, 4th Earl of Rosslyn and Blanche Adeliza Fitzroy. She was born at 40 Upper Brook Street, in Mayfair, London on 20 August 1871. She died at 58 Queen Anne’s Street, in Marylebone, London on 21 July 1910, aged 39, and was buried in the Rosslyn Chapel. She was renowned for her beauty, and had no qualms about enhancing it by the use of cosmetics, which was considered daring at the time. She was connected with the group known as The Souls, having been introduced by George Curzon. Her sisters were Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland and Lady Angela Forbes; and Daisy, Countess of Warwick was a half-sister, from their mother’s previous marriage to Hon. Charles Henry Maynard.
In July 1897 Sybil attended the Duchess of Devonshire’s grand ball, at Devonshire House in Piccadilly, London. The ball was held in celebration of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, and was one of the most extravagant aristocratic parties ever. Guests were asked to attend dressed as allegorical or historical figures from before 1815. Sybil dressed as Hebe, goddess of youth, carrying a gold cup in her hand, with an enormous stuffed eagle strapped to her shoulders, in imitation of a painting by Joshua Reynolds. The society photographers, Lafayette Studios of Bond Street London, erected a tent in the garden, and the printed photographs of the guests still exist in the Devonshire archives at Chatsworth. Consuelo, Duchess of Marlborough remembers Sybil as the outstanding beauty of the Devonshire House Ball:
"She had perhaps the most perfect face. I can see her now in a Greek peplum impersonating Hebe. The grey feathers of a life-like stuffed eagle perched on her shoulder, set off the glorious sheen of her red hair".
Marriage and issue
On 28 May 1892, she married Anthony Mildmay Julian Fane, 13th Earl of Westmorland. The wedding took place at St. Michael’s in Chester Square, Belgravia, London. Upon her marriage, Sybil took the title Countess of Westmorland.
The couple had the following children:
Lieutenant-Commander the Honourable Vere Anthony Francis St.Clair Fane, 14th Earl of Westmorland (b.15 March 1893, d.12 May 1948).
Lady Enid Victoria Rachel Fane (b.24 April 1894, d.9 September 1969).
Major the Honourable Mountjoy John Charles Wedderburn Fane (b.8 October 1900, d.9 October 1963)
Lady Violet Gloria Sybil Fane (b.11 April 1902)