JOSE DALE LACE
Blonde and beautiful, statuesque and vivacious with a fine sense of the dramatic, José Dale Lace became the darling of London aristocratic society, at first. Within a short time, the same exclusive circle shunned her for her scandalous indiscretion. Not to be deterred or subjected to a manipulative and titled lover, she became an actress at the famous Haymarket Theatre, her maiden role in Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance. Here women were charmed by her grace and beauty, men quite bewitched by her irresistible allure. She met and married handsome, immaculately dressed John Lace, a Sir Galahad who embraced her and took in her illegitimate son, Lancelot, as his own. And they lived in the roller-coaster world of high finance, diamonds and gold in the early years of South Africa’s mining Randlords.
Life in Johannesburg included sumptuous banquets, parties and entertainment in their magnificent Herbert Baker home. José was the talk of the town: she bathed regularly in fresh milk, slept between black silk sheets and drove her coach pulled by four zebra. But Fate intervened in this idyll, took the wealth, burnt the mansion and plunged her from riches to rags like an upside-down Cinderella.