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KILLED BY MAKE-UP - TRAGIC 18TH CENTURY CELEB'S MIRROR AUCTIONED

She was the 18th century celebrity who made men faint in awe of her beauty by her very presence. But her beauty - and her vanity - led to her demise as the lead-based make-up she insisted on plastering on daily resulted first in the loss of her looks, then deadly blood poisoning. Now the grand 7ft mirror in which Maria Gunning, the former Countess of Coventry, admired her stunning reflection has been auctioned off for more than £300,000. Labelled the first victim of vanity, Maria died aged 27 in 1760 after her love of make-up resulted in her untimely death. The 253-year-old mirror sold well above its estimate even though her condition meant she the society hostess used it for a matter of just months. A glorious George II giltwood overmantel design, it was bought for her by her husband The Sixth Earl of Coventry in 1759, who is said to have been so frustrated by his wifes love of make up that he would chase her around the dinner table with a handkerchief, trying wipe it from her face.

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