Celebrity and endorsements

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Above: Cover page of Richard F. Harvey’s The Irish Archers’ Valse [waltz], dedicated to Miss Betham and the Archery Societies of Ireland, c. 1866. (NLI)

Above: Cover page of Richard F. Harvey’s The Irish Archers’ Valse [waltz], dedicated to Miss Betham and the Archery Societies of Ireland, c. 1866. (NLI)

Betham’s sporting prowess meant that she attained something akin to celebrity status. Not only was she fêted in the press but she also had a dance dedicated in her honour. There was even a faint echo of the modern sporting celebrity’s endorsement of sports goods and other commodities, when Betham wrote approvingly in the Archer’s Register for 1864 about Dr J. McGrigor Croft’s newly patented arrow. McGrigor Croft, inventor of the twin-screw paddles that were fitted to Queen Victoria’s yacht Elfin, applied the same principles of rotary motion to produce an arrow that would have greater velocity and a more direct line of flight than conventional arrows. Betham, in an advertisement commending McGrigor Croft’s invention, considered that the arrow had ‘a decided superiority over the common arrow, in swiftness, lowness, steadiness, and accuracy of flight’. Her rival, Mrs Horniblow, lauded its ‘merits of greater steadiness and greater celerity’ and felt that it ‘would be of peculiar utility in wintery weather’.

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