Princess Charlotte’s Dresses – Royal Wedding, 1816

April 30, 2011 at 11:57 am (british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , )

The day after the wedding of the Princess Charlotte of Wales to Prince Leopold, the following ran in The Morning Post:

“According to our promise yesterday, we submit the following description of the elegant Wedding Suits, &c. of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, executed by Mrs. Triaud, of Bolton-street, Milliner, Dress, and Court Dress Maker, by appointment, to her Royal Highness: –

1. The Wedding Dress, composed of a most magnificent silver lama, on net, over a rich silver tissue slip, with a superb border of silver lama embroidery at the bottom, forming shells and bouquets; above the border a most elegant fulling, tastefully designed, in festoons of rich silver lama, and finished with a very brilliant row of lama. The body and sleeves to correspond, trimmed with most beautiful Brussels point lace, in a peculiarly elegant style, &c. The manteau of rich silver tissue, lined with white satin, trimmed round with a most superb silver lama border, in shells, to correspond with the dress, and fastened in front with a most brilliant and tasteful ornament of diamonds. The whole of the dress surpassed all conception, particularly in the brilliancy and richness of its effect. Head dress, a wreath of rose-buds and leaves, composed of the most superb brilliants.”

The newspaper then goes on to describe eleven other dresses! They then pronounce, “Our limits will not permit us to proceed farther; but it suffices to say, that several other dresses, equally rich and beautiful in effect, but too numberous to be described, complete this part of her Royal Highness’s marriage suits.” Those curious to see the entire list: email me, or post a comment here with your email address.

“The three following were among the other numerous and splendid dresses for the occasion, particularly admired, which were also executed by Mrs. Triaud [my! she was one busy lady]:

Lady Emily Murray [a description follows]
Lady Elizabeth Montague [ditto]
Mrs. Campbell [ditto]

The reader is then treated with a run down of the costumes of some luminaries present: Princess Augusta, Princess Mary, Princess Sophia of Gloucester. The Marchioness of Winchester, the Dowager Countess of Pembroke, Lady Radstock, Lady Isabella Thynne; Lady Mary Paulett, The Hon. Mrs. Courtny [sic] Boyle, Mrs. Courtnay Boyle, Mrs. Adams.

Now, Lady Mary Paulett is of interest: this young lady was the daughter of Earl Paulett (also found it spelled Poulett) — he would quite soon wed the widowed Lady Smith Burgess! It must be remembered, that the Duke of Clarence would give that bride away. Oh…, what family members (whom I do not know attended) might have attended the wedding of the Princess Charlotte then?!

The gentlemen take up far less room in the article (of course!) – their costume consisting of many military uniforms or velvet suits. Among those mentioned: The Prince Regent (how could he not be?!), The Dukes of York and Clarence, the Prince Coburg; the Marquis of Hertford; Edward Disbrowe; Viscount Lord Lake, Robert Chester, the Rt Hon. Charles Arbuthnot, the Marquis of Cholmondeley, and the Hon. C. Percy.

There are Disbrowes who show up in my research; who could this particular Edward be? He is described here as the Vice Chamberlain to the Queen, and (though it sounds so funny) is described as in “A suit nearly the same as the Marquis of Hertford.” No one would dare write such about two ladies!

NB: I received today a curious little email, dated April 29th, sent from the Blackberry of a British acquaintance who claimed to have “been at a certain wedding”. Really? More details, if I get them!

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“Dearly Beloved” – Royal Wedding circa 1816

April 29, 2011 at 7:46 am (british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

In the papers, in January 1816, this announcement:

“It is rumoured among the Court Circles that a marriage is agreed on between the Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince De Cobourg.”

Come May the papers could say, “The Royal marriage continues fixed for Thursday, at Carlton House — the ceremony to take place in the evening, after a grand entertainment, to which 140 are invited.

Mr. Satterfield, linen-draper to their Majesties, is said to have presented the Princess Charlotte with a dress of Manchester manufacture; and Miss Harrison, confectioner to the Princess, has also presented her with a large bride cake, beautifully ornamented with arms, &c. — both were graciously accepted.

No less than three artists at one time were taking likenesses of the Princess Caroline on Thursday, as her Royal Highness sat at Cranbourne Lodge, viz. Rosenberg, sen. and jun. taking her profile and miniature, and Turnerelli modelling her bust.

Prince Leopold arrived at Windsor on the 22d, and continued there the whole week in close attention to the Queen, Princesses, and more particularly to his intended bridge. –Prince Leopold left Windsor Castle on Monday, and was met at Turnham Green by several carriages and officers of the Regent’s household, who conducted him to Clarence House, in the Stable Yard, where he was received in state by the Ministers, &c. &c. who were invited to dine with him the following day.”

On the same page as some Royal news, this insert about the Hon. Charlotte Gosling: “We have authority to state, that Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball in Portland-place, which was to have been on Friday, the 3d of May, is to take place on Thursday, the 2d.” Surely, then, this was some ball related to the royal wedding!

In Emma’s diary is this snippet: “Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper”.

Of this “very splendid Ball and Supper” The Morning Post called Charlotte “that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world” and termed No. 5 Portland Place a “superb mansion decorated with flowers and exotic plants.” “Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.”

The day before the wedding “Prince Leopold returned to Clarence House, where after partaking of some refreshment, he went out in a private carriage attended by Sir Robert Gardner, and rode in the Parks. His Serene Highness got out of the carriage and walked in Hyde Park, without being recognized by any person except the Marquis of Anglesea, who was driving in his curricle, and stopped and spoke to his Serene Highness. On his return to Clarence House he was received with acclamations by a crowd collected round the house; he afterwards continued to appear frequently at the window of the balcony on the first floor, to gratify the curiosity of the spectators, till seven o’lock, when he retired to dinner, at which he entertained the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers.”

“The dinner was served up in the dining parlour, in a very elegant and splendid manner. The table was decorated with a very brilliant plateau, and delicately white ornaments. The illumination of the room continued to attract the multitude, but they behaved very orderly. Great part of the populace were drawn away at four o’clock to Cumberland House, in consequence of the arrival of the Prince Regent… The Regent remained there till near six, when he was received with loud cheering by the populace.

Great numbers of Noblemen and Gentlemen resorted to Clarence House during the day, to make their respectful inquiries. A large assemblage of rank and fashion, to the amount of several hundreds, also paid their respects to the Princess Charlotte at Warwick House.”

The dress comes up for mention next:

“Tuesday last was the day appointed for the inspection of her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte’s wedding suits, &c. which were executed by Mrs. Triaud, Bolton-street, in a style, peculiarly elegant, and appropriately splendid for the occasion, when her Majesty, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, the Princesses, and all the Illustrious Personages present, were pleased to express their highest approbation of the exquisite taste and magnificence display in the various designs. We shall to-morrow, present to our readers a full description of this truly elegant portion of the Royal marriage preparations.–”

from the BBC: read about today’s wedding
watch: Five Royal Wedding Dresses

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Royal Wedding, circa 1816

April 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm (a day in the life, british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , , , , , )

Hmmm… many Jane Austen sites have had a similar idea: to focus on the “wedding of the century” in Jane Austen’s lifetime, that of the Princess Charlotte to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in May 1816.

To read those accounts, see Austenonly; Jane Austen’s World; The Regency Fashion Page; Princess Charlotte’s page on Wikipedia.

All give detailed accounts of the princess’ wedding dress. So I guess I won’t go there! Although it was hearing that the dress was “on display” which interested me in the first place.

But, with a little digging, Smith&Gosling can offer some “timely” insight from sources more in the know: The Princess Charlotte was mentioned in the letters and diaries; at least once with some amusement in a letter written by Emma Smith.

* * *

A brief “book break” –

Here is a slightly unusual book on the Princess: Mrs Herbert Jones’ The Princess Charlotte of Wales: An Illustrated Monograph (1885).
The Memoirs of the late Princess Charlotte Augusta of Wales and Saxe Cobourg (1818).
The Life & Memoirs of Her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte (1821).
Royal Correspondence, or Letters between her late Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte and her Royal Mother, Queen Caroline (1822).

* * *

And on to Emma Smith!

Mary Gosling’s girlhood diaries are of travels; so far (maybe…), there is nothing “daily” prior to 1829. Emma Smith, however, began keeping a daily journal in 1815. Youthful Mary is perhaps a loss when it is realized that her youngest sister, Charlotte, had as godmother QUEEN CHARLOTTE!

Emma, at this stage in her life, makes a nice reporter. Why? because she had met (and corresponded with) one of the daughters of the Duke of Clarence (the future William IV). The Duke and the Miss Fitzclarences even attended a gathering, to which Emma went in May 1815, at her aunt Mrs Thomas Smith’s home. Surely Mary and Elizabeth were the “two Goslings” who accompanied Mamma, Augusta, Emma and Fanny.

But let’s focus on weddings. From Emma’s 1816 diary:

Friday 3 May The princess Charlotte was married to the Prince of Saxe Coburgh. The ceremony was performed at Carleton house & afterwards they went to Oatlands.

Wednesday 29 May Mama & Augusta dined at Mrs Gosling’s then they went to the Ancient Music where they saw the Princess Charlotte & the Prince of Saxe Coburgh I drank tea with the Goslings

Monday 22 July The Princess Mary married the Duke of Gloster a very sumptuous wedding at the Queen’s house. they then went to Bagshot

Tuesday 23 July Lady Burgess was married to the Earl of Paulett at her house Picadilly  There were about 18 people at the wedding the Duke of Clarence gave her away

Lady Burgess was Emma’s great aunt, the widow of Sir John Smith Burgess (he took his wife’s name), brother of Sir Drummond Smith and Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park.

more soon (including Emma’s rather amusing letter…)

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Enter Stage Right: Sir William Knighton

April 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm (books, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

We are in conversation (part II) with biographer Charlotte Frost, about her new book Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician:

[NB: read part 1]

Q: Did you hope to find a certain story in Knighton’s life? Did what you uncover answer that initial thought, or were you constantly uncovering new and different twists?

Charlotte Frost: More a matter of what I hoped not to find. Had I discovered that Knighton had done something truly shameful I would have had to include it. That’s why I hesitated about contacting Knighton’s descendants. I didn’t want to be welcomed into their homes or be given copies of private family documents, only to publish a damning account of their forebear. And finding a dark, sinister side to Knighton would have wrecked my wonderful Word master plan for a sympathetic biography!

Q: In researching the career of Knighton, was there a particular question or historical conundrum you hoped to answer? Did the answer appear?

CF: I failed to identify why Knighton was sceptical about some of the medical education he received in London. New medical ideas were evolving in France, but I don’t know whether he was exposed to them.

Q: Was there any surprise in what you found out about Knighton, his career, his biography, his family?

CF: I was taken aback by discrepancies between the Memoir’s account of Knighton’s early years and the account suggested in primary sources. The explanation perhaps died with those who knew it, or it may survive in oblique references yet to be discovered.

Q: What about the period interested you the most?

CF: It was a gentler era than those that preceded it. When Knighton was accused of corruption he was satirised in a cartoon, not put on the rack. The cruellest forms of execution became unacceptable, and were abolished. Injustices still thrived, but they began to be seen for what they were.

Q: Where there other characters — those people whom Knighton knew or encountered — whom you wished to spend more time on?

CF: Knighton’s dealings with the poets and radicals in the 1810s needs more attention. Timely journal article seeks author!

Q: You list many books in your bibliography; was there any one or book that you particularly would recommend to students of the period?

CF: For all its difficulties, I recommend the Memoir. The universal financial insecurity of the age is reflected in pleas for Knighton’s intervention from educated men too ill or old to continue their professions. His Seymour in-laws experienced the same difficulties as every naval family. Knighton was not the only man of his era to examine his soul in the light of Evangelical preaching. And his contempt for and alarm at popular protest is that of a generation that grew up in fear of revolution.

Q: The nature of primary research means that we find what still exists; is there any item(s) you wanted to find, or had hoped still existed?

CF: An unfinished portrait of Knighton’s wife, Dorothea, by Sir Thomas Lawrence. And miniatures of Knighton, Dorothea and their daughter that Knighton commissioned before he went to Spain.

Q: Have you any stories to pass along about doing primary research? (Gaining access to archives? transcriptions? old and fragile items? etc)

CF: I have some wonderful memories of research, but I’m haunted by the time, money and energy I’ve wasted. Reading a London street directory on microfilm, I mistook Knighton’s first London address for No 23 Argyll Street. Only after several years in search of corroborative evidence did I discover from a printed directory that he lived at No 28, which I was immediately able to confirm. I made numerous visits to The National Archives for information that was held at the Royal College of Surgeons, and I pestered the British Library for a copy of a print held at the British Museum.

Q: How did your family handle “living with the Knightons”?

CF: My significant other refers to Knighton as ‘the other man’, and is relieved to see him in print.

Q: Please describe for our readers former projects; future projects.

A: I have been a late learner, not taking my first degree until I was thirty, and not rediscovering a childhood love of history until I was in my forties. Until now my historical output has been researching and reporting in response to community history requests, giving occasional talks and submitting work for academic assessment. If I had to put a label on myself, I’d say ‘independent researcher’ but not ‘independent scholar’. My biography of Knighton marks my transition to author — someone who has found her voice. I don’t rule out further academically assessed study, but at present I feel ‘essayed out’. I want to do my own work, not what other people think I should do. But to stay fresh and sharp I need to keep in touch with academic life. I can’t bask in a post-publication comfort bubble.

I’ve started investigating loans that the Prince of Wales and his brothers incurred in a few short years in the late 1780s-early 1790s. Not biography, but the story behind each loan – who were the lenders, did they get their money back and, if not, how did they cope? I don’t yet know whether I’m revealing a gripping tale of suicide, assassination and missing diamonds, or wasting my time with two-hundred-year-old allegations that can be neither proved or disproved.

Find Sir William Knighton online:

 Charlotte Frost, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician
info & purchase through Authors OnLine
the book’s page at Amazon.co.uk
Charlotte Frost’s author page at Amazon.co.uk

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In Conversation with Charlotte Frost

April 16, 2011 at 9:59 am (books, estates, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Writer Charlotte Frost, whose biography of Sir William Knighton, bart will be of interest to those desiring a good read about Regency-era England, is our guest. She’s talking about her book, her research experiences, and her interest in Knighton and his family. Join us!

Q: Is there a tale behind your interest in Sir William Knighton?

Charlotte Frost: Yes, but I’m afraid it’s not especially worthy or uplifting. I had never heard of Knighton until the then owners of his Blendworth home commissioned a new garden, and I was asked to help with research. We discovered that it was Knighton’s son who laid out the grounds but, in the process, I realised that much of what had been written about his father (‘my’ Knighton) was flawed. With just average care and attention I could do better. And, although Knighton had almost fallen out of history, in late Georgian England he was a man to be reckoned with. He was overdue for a new biography, and I wasn’t going to let him slip through my fingers.

Q: Have you a favorite “find” — something unusual, or satisfying — that you uncovered; something you wish you had uncovered?

CF: It was especially pleasing to find documents created before Knighton became famous, when no one had a motive to distort the information. As for information I wished I’d uncovered, we need to know more about Knighton’s wife, Dorothea. How did Knighton meet her? Did her family have reservations about him? Did she secretly yearn to be recognised as an artist? Do any more of her paintings survive?

Q: Readers tend to think books just happen; how long did your research take? how long the writing phase? the publishing phase?

CF: It was one thing to accumulate research but quite another to impose order on it, so I took an MA to acquire some academic backbone. After that I knew exactly what I wanted. I set out the whole book in note form in a Word table and just worked through it. As the manuscript neared completion I started submitting proposals and sample chapters, but after a few months I realised that if I wanted the book published, I would have to self publish. At first I was disappointed not to be accepted by a mainstream publisher, but now I’m delighted that things worked out as they did. My publishers, Authors OnLine, have treated me like royalty. Nothing has been too much trouble for them.

Q: Did you find the Knighton Memoir a help, a hindrance, a bit of both?

CF: The Memoir‘s chronology is misleading because the author — Dorothea, by then Knighton’s widow — was more interested in the contents of the letters she selected for publication than the dates on which they were written. And the Memoir is easy to criticise because it contains what Dorothea wanted us to know, not what we’d like to know. But once I realised that each letter was there for a reason, the Memoir became my invaluable friend.

Q: As a biographer, did you make a conscious choice to present Knighton’s story without resorting to a great deal of letter quotes (ie, from the Memoir)?

CF: Yes. This is a good read, not an academic text where I need to present evidence as though my life depended on it. On a very few occasions I have used Knighton’s own words because I could add nothing useful to them, but otherwise my job was to analyse the letters, not repeat them.

Q: As fellow writers, we both know you sometimes sacrifice sections for the good of the narrative; was there any story, observation, account that you wish you could have kept?

CF: I applied a ‘two strikes and you’re in’ rule. This meant that I omitted several deaths among Knighton’s extended family that had no bearing on the narrative, but included trivial items that had later consequences. Knighton and his family would rightly have considered my omissions a distortion, and been upset by them. I also omitted the Blendworth earthquake of 1834 which came at an especially bad time for Knighton and his family and troubled everyone in the vicinity, but which was irrelevant to the narrative. On a lighter note, I was sad to lose the tea kettle that Knighton received from his former tutor, the surgeon Astley Cooper.

Q: Were illustrations easy to track down?

CF: The illustrations in the book are mostly ones that I came across by chance, and which struck me as more succinct than any written descriptions I could come up with. I’m not good at working with images. I get sidetracked by notes on the back, and miss vital information in the image itself.

Q: What was it like to do research at the Royal Archives?

CF: A privilege, and unlike any other archive. Researchers have to be accompanied at all times — yes, even to the loo — which I envisaged would feel regimented, but in practice it meant that we joined the archivists for lunch and were included in their routine. We were all made welcome. I wonder who’s sitting at my little table now, and what they’re researching?

* * *

We’ll leave Ms. Frost in the Royal Archives for now…

Part II will appear shortly. In the meantime, I invite you to read about her book, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician. Also, search this blog for more on the book, Sir William, and how he relates to the Smiths & Goslings.

We invite reader participation! Feel free to post your own questions or comments for Charlotte Frost here.

NB: this was part 1; click here for part 2

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Sir William Knighton at Carlton House

April 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In “conversation” with author CHARLOTTE FROST, whose biography on Sir William Knighton is on bookstore shelves now, she wrote the following comment about Mrs Gosling’s ball:

“No Sir William and Lady Knighton at Mrs Gosling’s Ball! Knighton was once spotted at the Children’s Ball at Carlton House, but unaccompanied by any of his children.”

The one caveat I might have — given that the guests numbered over 200 persons and the newspaper reported so few of those guests — is, if Sir William and Lady Knighton were in town that May of 1816 I wouldn’t wonder that they were present. Why? The Goslings had their own “royal” connections. But, for now, we can only surmise…

To get back to Charlotte Frost—

Searching for Sir William information, I came across this little tidbit:

9th December Friends of Havant Museum

5 months ago on The Mayor of Havant
Tonight I had been invited to the Friends of Havant Museum Christmas Meeting at The Spring. As the Mayor of Havant I automatically become a Patron for my Mayoral Year. There was a very interesting speaker Miss Charlotte Frost who gave a talk entitled A courtier’s virtuous retirement; Sir William Knighton at Blendworth 1820-1836.
 
Lucky were those in the audience that evening!
 
And lucky will be readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen: We’ll be “in conversation” with Ms. Frost in my next posting! In the meantime, take a look at her new biography: Sir William Knighton: The strange Career of a Regency Physician.
 
You can obtain a copy through authorsonline (1) e-book or (2) paperback; also available via Amazon.co.uk. If you like to support independent booksellers, why not order through my favorite in Nantwich, England: Nantwich Bookshop!

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1816 Fashion, at Mrs Gosling’s Ball

April 9, 2011 at 12:17 pm (entertainment, fashion, portraits and paintings, research) (, , )

A companion piece to our discussion of Mrs Gosling’s May 1816 ball. Here is an “evening dress” from Ackermann’s May issue of the Repository, described as:

A white satin slip, over which is a white lace dress, ornamented with three quillings of white lace on the skirt, intermixed with bows of white satin ribbon. The body and sleeve, both of which are richly ornamented with coloured stones, are formed, as our readers will see by the print, in a very novel style. Head-dress, a cap composed of white satin, finished with a band edged with pearls, and a superb plume of white feathers. Necklace, ear-rings, and bracelets, colored with pearls. White satin slippers, and white kid gloves.

I simply could not resist a close-up of this enchanting head-dress:

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What if you threw a PARTY – and everyone came?!

April 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm (entertainment, news, people, places) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

My first clue was Emma’s 1816 diary, in which she writes:

May 2, Thursday,  Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper

This ball made headlines! From the Morning Post for 4 May 1816:

Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball.
A very splendid Ball and Supper were given by that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world, on Thursday night, in Portland-place. The superb mansion put on all its attractions. The outer and inner hall were decorated with flowers and exotic plants.

The magnificent staircase was lighted up with crystal lamps; the Ball-room illuminated by costly chandeliers and lustres. The latter apartment was of great extent, in consequence of the whole suit [sic: suite] of rooms being thrown into one, through the medium of the folding doors, acting upon a retiring principle. The floor was admirably decorated by that skilful artist, Mr. ELMSMORE; it represented flowers in wreaths, and figures.

Dancing commenced at eleven o’clock, led off by Mr. PAULET and the accomplished Miss GOSLING {Elizabeth Gosling, Mary’s eldest sister; the future Mrs Langham Christie}. About fifteen couples followed. Waltzing was also introduced. At two o’clock, the company adjourned to the supper-room. Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.

Every decorative ornament was used to give zest to a most excellent banquet consisting of every delicacy. Covers were laid in three rooms on the ground floor, for two hundred and ten persons. The party exceeding that number, an apartment on the first floor was set apart for the supernumeraries, exceeding fifty. [so, in reality, 260+ people attended!]

The dancing recommenced at three o’clock, and was kept up with proper spirit until six; after this a dejeune was served up in the best possible style. At seven in the morning the company separated.

An even-more-splendid write-up appears the following year (again in the Morning Post), 23 April 1817:
Mrs. Gosling’s Ball.
 A Waltz and Quadrille Ball was given in Portland-place, on Monday evening, to a circle of fashionables, exceeding 300 in number. As the mansion is one of the best built, and the best furnished, in that quarter of the town, it appeared, of course, when brilliantly lighted up, and filled with an assemblage of beautiful women, elegantly dressed, to great advantage. There were three drawing-rooms thrown open, pannelled with mirrors, from the ceiling to the floor; the fourth room attracted its share of admiration; it was one of the prettiest boudoirs in the town, fitted up with extraordinary taste. This room was appropriated for cards. Dancing commenced at a quarter past eleven, led off by the accomplished Miss GOSLING and a Military Gentleman, whose name we could not learn. Several sets danced in the saloon. On the ground floor, the library and great eating-room were thrown open; they are highly enriched by the most rare productions in nature and art; the pictures are particularly deserving of praise, being all chefs d’oeuvre of the old master. At half-past four this delightful treat concluded. A sandwich supper was given. There were present the following leaders in gay life, viz.:—
 
Well, that lengthy paragraph my tired little fingers will let your tired little eyes peruse! And now a gallop to the finish: 
 
The outer and inner halls, and the grand staircase were illuminated in a nouvelle and pleasing style. A prodigious quantity of flowering shrubs decorated the recesses.. In short, nothing was wanting to give effect to the scene.
Whew…
Maybe next I should mention a few little details about Mrs. William Gosling, née the Hon. Charlotte de Grey.
***
The above illustration is from Ackermann’s Repository for May 1816.
Read Charlotte Gosling’s guest list:

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