Movie Reviews

Gentleman Jack: Who is Eliza Raine? Is She Based on a Real Person?

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Who is Eliza Raine in Gentleman Jack? Is Eliza Raine Based on a Real Person? Let’s find out. The Gentleman Jack drama series, which will air on HBO next week, was shot on location at Shibden Hall in 2018 and chronicled Anne’s life as well as the lives of individuals who resided in the Hall and Estate. Sally Wainwright, a BAFTA-winning writer, wrote, directed, and executive produced the film, which stars Suranne Jones as Anne Lister.

Gentleman Jack‘ is a fascinating historical drama television series that gives viewers a glimpse into the life of Anne Lister, a 19th-century English landowner and diarist known as “the first modern lesbian.” It explores her love and eventual marriage to fellow landowner Ann Walker, as well as her business endeavours and plans for running Shibden Hall, her family’s estate in Halifax.

The piece, which was created by Sally Wainwright, also discusses her spectacular romances with various women before meeting her wife, including her first girlfriend, Eliza Raine. Let’s take a closer look at her relationship with him right now, shall we?

Also Read: What is the Meaning of ‘Gentleman Jack’ Title? Anne Lister’s Nickname Explained

Who is Eliza Raine

Who is Eliza Raine in Gentleman Jack?

Ann Walker receives a bizarre letter from a mysterious female well-wisher in season 2 episode 6, titled ‘I Can Be as a Meteor in Your Life.’ It claims that Anne Lister is bad for her and is only interested in her money, so she should leave Shibden Hall as soon as possible. It also references Eliza Raine, a woman who appears to have lost her mind as a result of her contact with Anne.

Ann confronts her wife about the letter, who reveals that they were childhood friends who had known each other since they were thirteen years old. Eliza Raine was an Anglo-Indian classmate at school who visited her family during the summer vacations because her parents were in India.

Eliza gradually developed mental health problems, and she has been in a mental asylum for the past twenty years, or so, Anne clarifies to her wife. She also admits that she still pays her visits, although Eliza has become increasingly violent over the years, and she has been attacked a few times.

Ann inquires if they were in love, but she evades the topic by claiming that someone was attempting to discredit her by blaming her for her classmate’s mental condition. Anne’s spouse accepts her explanation and asks her to burn the letter, putting an end to their feud.

Original letter received by Ann Walker from mysterious female. Photo Credit: Shibden Hall Museum Library

Is Eliza Raine Based on a Real-Life Person?

Eliza Raine is, in fact, based on a real person from Anne Lister’s life. They met in York’s Manor School House, where the latter had been sent to study in 1805. Eliza Raine was the illegitimate Anglo-Indian daughter of William Raine, a Madras-based East India Company surgeon.

She and her sister Jane inherited a large sum of money after his death and were placed in the care of William Duffin, a surgeon in Yorkshire. While sharing a bedroom at the boarding school when Anne was around fourteen, she and Eliza built a deep connection, and as time passed, they began a full-fledged love affair.

Unfortunately, the teachers found out about the girls’ lesbian connection, which was unusual at the time. As a result, Anne was labelled a poor influence on the other students and expelled from school in 1806. Eliza came to see her in Halifax during the summer of that year and stayed with the Lister family for a few weeks.

Following her departure, Anne began writing her letters in a secret code established by the two of them, using the Greek alphabet, mathematical symbols, punctuation, and the zodiac. They would express their love for each other and disclose the sexual intricacies of their relationship using this code.

In their journals and letters, for example, both girls replaced the word orgasm with the phrase “felix.” Unfortunately, their romance was short-lived, as Anne quickly began mixing with other ladies she met in York’s social circles, and she went on to have passionate relationships with Isabella Norcliffe and Mariana Lawton (née Belcombe).

Eliza was devastated since she had hoped to live with her when they were both adults. Anne, on the other hand, seemed to have found her subsequent partners to be more mature and so more suited for her. Her first spouse was badly impacted by the rejection, and her mental state deteriorated dramatically in 1814.

Eliza was first institutionalised at the Clifton Asylum, where Mariana’s father, Dr. William Belcombe, looked after her. Anne continued to pay visits to Eliza there until she was transferred to Terrace House in Osbaldwick, where she died on January 31, 1860, at the age of sixty-nine. She was laid to rest across the road in the Osbaldwick church.

While Eliza Raine is only mentioned briefly in ‘Gentleman Jack,’ she was a key figure in Anne Lister’s life, as her first lover and the one who inspired her to begin writing her renowned journals. As a result, the show faithfully depicts all aspects of the protagonist’s life, with a few exaggerations and omissions used for dramatic effect.

Stream Gentleman Jack episodes on HBO and Hulu.

Must Read: What Happened to Marian Lister?

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