A new exhibition has uncovered the untold story of an American heiress using ground-breaking artificial intelligence.

The exhibition offers a glimpse into the captivating world of Alberta Sturges Montagu, the 9th Countess of Sandwich, and an American heiress from the renowned era known as 'The Gilded Age'.

Mapperton House near Beaminster has unveiled a treasure trove of her personal correspondence – and the chance to ask Alberta questions about her life - in an exclusive exhibition running until August 29.

The exhibition takes innovation to the next level by introducing 'Alberta AI', a ground-breaking creation that brings her story to life like never before by using artificial intelligence (AI).

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Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Alberta Sturges in 1901Alberta Sturges in 1901 (Image: Mapperton Estate)

Curated by Mapperton’s very own American Viscountess, Julie Montagu, the "American Heiress" collection is comprised of more than 10,000 previously unseen letters exchanged between Alberta Sturges Montagu and her family, as well as the peerage at large.

She said: “With the aid of cutting-edge AI technology, we've resurrected Alberta's voice, allowing her to answer visitors’ burning questions about her remarkable journey. 

“Ever wondered how she felt transitioning from America to England?

"Or what her thoughts were on marrying into the aristocracy?

"We can dive deep into her experiences, from navigating the tumultuous waters of two world wars to the chilling account of the Titanic's sinking, and beyond.” 

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Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Alberta Sturges Montagu, wedding day, July 25 1905Alberta Sturges Montagu, wedding day, July 25 1905 (Image: Mapperton Estate)

Dating from 1888 to 1951, the unseen letters constitute the largest unpublished private collection of correspondence from the period.

They offer a remarkable glimpse into the life of a "dollar bride" during the Gilded Age, shedding light on both triumphs and struggles.

Alberta Sturges Montagu was a woman ahead of her time, deeply devoted to the Indian Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, which shaped her unconventional spiritual views and her dedication to faith and service to others.

This devotion was evident during the turmoil of the world wars when the Earl of Sandwich family seat at Hinchingbrooke House became a refuge for those in need.

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Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, curator of the exhibition at Mapperton House.Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, curator of the exhibition at Mapperton House. (Image: Mapperton Estate)

The exhibition will explore Alberta's formative years in America, her upbringing in Chicago and New York, and the significance of her inheritance.

Visitors will unravel the captivating courtship between Alberta and George Montagu, the future 9th Earl of Sandwich, leading to their marriage in 1905 in London.

The narrative will culminate with her relocation to Hinchingbrooke House, the original family seat, in 1916 as the new Countess, following the death of the 8th Earl of Sandwich.

Mrs Montagu added: “As curator of this exhibition and an American who also married into the Sandwich family, I'm immensely proud to present Alberta Sturges Montagu's captivating journey through the Gilded Age.

"Her story, brought to life through her extensive personal correspondence, offers a unique window into a bygone era of glamour, resilience, and profound humanity.”

Visitors can also explore Alberta's post-war travels through Belgium and France, as well as her enduring friendship with Ambrose McEvoy, whose painting of her from the 1920s still graces the staircase hall at Mapperton House, near Beaminster.