In the post a few days ago: the latest edition of JASNA News – alas without my article on James Edward Austen and Tring. (Humphhh….)
Lots about the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Louisville, on “Living in Jane Austen’s World”. (official website) VERY thrilling to hear the topic Amanda Vickery is expected to speak on: “No Happy Ending? At Home with Miss Bates in Georgian England”. The gist of the talk is “female-only households in Austen’s world, particularly those of declining status [like dear Miss Bates] and modest means.”
My research has several “female-only households” – from the top tier, with Lady Frances Compton (Lady Northampton’s sister-in-law) through to “Aunt,” Charles Smith’s (“Papa”) only living sister.
Then there was Mamma’s bachelorette sister: Emma Smith of Glenville — my Emma’s “Aunt Emma”.
Aunt Emma is at the heart of my upcoming talk for JASNA-Vermont — and if you’re in the neighborhood on Sunday, June 7th please come join us!
The Mystery of Emma Austen’s Aunt Emma
an interactive presentation
Sunday, 7 June 2015
“Morgan Room”, Aiken Hall
(83 Summit Street)
PowerPoint slides will illustrate with images of the people & places you’ll never see on this blog – and YOU will help (re)solve the “mystery” surrounding Emma Smith. Is it a “scandal” or “much ado about nothing”? Evidence suggests class-economic-religious tensions, or a past well-hidden for two hundred years. Help us decide! Like Austen’s Sanditon or Dickens’ Mystery of Edwin Drood, this mini-mystery relies on its audience to provide a sense of closure.
BTW: Prior knowledge of JANE AUSTEN or her NOVELS are not necessary for taking part – the slides will help introduce Emma Austen and the family. Aunt Emma lived 1774-1858, her later life spent in Hampshire; we’ll cover the years (approximately) 1812 to 1843.
FREE and open to the public
parking on the street – and light refreshments
Want to come extra “prepared”? Email me (smithandgosling at gmail dot com) for a full Smith & Gosling family tree which you can then bring with you!
Yesterday I *treated* myself: drove three hours to reach a used bookstore I simply LOVE: Old Number Six Book Depot, in Henniker, New Hampshire. Alas, I was cashing out my finds at 5.20 pm — twenty minutes AFTER they should have closed (if not for me). How I wish the gent had shouted up the stairs… I don’t wear a watch, and (truthfully) didn’t realize that they closed so early.
BUT: one book I bought, which I want to talk about today, is a slim (182 pages) volume from 1974 entitled The Letters of Caroline Norton to Lord Melbourne – the letters dating from the 1830s into the early 1840s. So right in the time period of my Smiths & Goslings.
WHO can resist a series of letters, from the right era, when they begin:
“I am very dull — how are you?”
Caroline, née Sheridan (yes, related to that Sheridan; a grand-daughter), has a ready wit which comes across in her letters. I am impressed that one letter is reproduced in toto as a set of four photographs nested within the transcript. Something to keep in mind for my own future publications. Though, at first, I thought the entire book was facsimile!
Was quite intrigued to read a letter about a young girl – now 13 – brought into the Melbourne household as a child by Caroline Lamb, Melbourne’s late wife. Caroline Norton spends some little time telling him WHY he must continue the girl’s education, and WHY sending her out as a governess – IF she MUST make her own way in the world (Melbourne evidently tired of providing for his former wife’s plaything). The child has become used to and was promised the life of a “lady” – and life as a seamstress or such like would NOT allow her that privilege. My mind, at that point, was all attention, thinking of all the poor (monetarily speaking) young ladies who entered the Smith household as governess from the 1810s through the later 1830s.
A sad note: the man who first worked with these letters, circa 1954 — Clarke Olney — died before more than a short article about them came into print. Nearly twenty years later, having come across Olney’s files and notes, did a second author, James Hoge, complete the task.
One of my favorite Used Bookstores has returned to Brick & Mortar existence: North Country Books, once in Burlington (on Church Street, at the end) has now opened in Winooski, Vermont.
Have to admit that I rarely go downtown – but last week I spotted an ad in 7 Days, and this week 7 Days has run a story of the bookstore’s reincarnation!
Why was North Country Books a favorite with me? For their healthy offerings of Literary Biography and History (especially of the United Kingdom). If you’re in the Greater Burlington (Vermont) area, do drop in – you will probably come out the door with a new book (or two…) under your arm!
Today I was in a rather blue mood – so hats off to the friend who wrote me a chatty message, and to another who emailed this picture of the flowering garden. You’ve raised my low spirits.
Can one — in 2015 — send letters to 1814?!? A couple of Bloggers are telling their tales – Lady Smatter, at Her Reputation for Accomplishment; and Sabine at Kleidung um 1800. Letter-reading was a very “social” event; the Smiths & Goslings exchanged letters, read them aloud, copied out news, anything to keep everyone in the picture. So please join these ladies in hearing more about the Art of Letter Writing.
In 1796, my Smith & Gosling girls were mere shadows in their mothers’ eyes, but that January saw the birth of a prospective Monarch of England – a baby girl ultimately known as Princess Charlotte of Wales. Her end, in childbed, WAS cause for comment in the diaries & letters of the Smith & Gosling family. But it’s the little Princess’ birth I focus on today – on the heels of the announcement from Buckingham Palace of a Princess for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
I must seem an open book – a friend in England sent me the following card. About Jane Austen, of course!
Am getting some good feedback about the Thames Panorama post! It is an exquisite “find” isn’t it?!?
While working on looking for a FRENCH Marriage in 1821, I came across another site, quite “glossy”, which I also invite Two Teens readers to dip into:
Searching for “wedding” and “versailles”, as you can see, brought up the Wedding of the Dauphin Louis and Marie-Antoinette. Bit more regal a wedding than the plebeian one _I_ was searching about. Always of interest, though, because of my love of Austria – homeland (should I say Heimat) of Maria Antonia, daughter of Maria Theresia, the Empress under whom Mozart lived (though she was “not a fan” of his…).
Last night, searching for biographical information about the Sharpe family, as well as trying to RE-find a book on London Bankers (which I had had to interlibrary loan, once upon a time… Thanks, Internet!!), I came across this WONDERFULLY evocative Trip down (or up) the Thames.
This is what I first stumbled upon, notice of Rothbury House “now” [in 1829] occupied by “Benjamin Sharpe, a wealthy banker, and his family.” There were at least TWO Benjamin Sharpe partners at Goslings & Sharpe (not sure how much they overlapped) – father and son.
I hadn’t noticed last night that the image darkens everything EXCEPT the dwelling being considered. (VERY useful.) What _I_ noticed was the FABULOUS “painting” of the villas and woods and scenes that I could “sail” past. Like this Chiswick vista,
I strongly recommend the website and project, Panorama of the Thames. A digitized 1829 panorama from London to Richmond, you can catch a whole ride on the river (press the “restart” button on the screen), or dip in at any point you wish to see (press the “Back to River Map” button). Historians will appreciate the Georgian London tour. ALL travellers and London-fans will thoroughly enjoy the 2014 panorama in photos! Although it’s hard not to lament when one sees side-by-side Battersea Church surrounded by trees and Battersea Church overtaken by tower blocks!
There are some AMAZING items in auctions. Some past ones have unearthed miniatures, letters, even a copy of Drummond Smith’s Sicily diary. Some auction houses are helpful; others are totally dismissive. Which is a great pity. Still, the images are free! And although the original image from the auction house was rather poor, I found an alternative site – and wanted to give everyone the opportunity of seeing what I found just last night.
The original auction took place in early 2013. These are silhouettes of the SHARPE family, which included William Gosling’s banking partner, Benjamin Sharpe — taken circa 1819! He was the “Sharpe” in the banking firm of Goslings & Sharpe.
Here’s the description:
- “A collection of ten silhouettes relating to the Sharpe family of London bankers and comprising: Mrs Isabella Beetham [artist] – Oval portrait of a young woman wearing a lace bonnet, verso with Mrs Beetham’s trade label….and faintly inscribed Mrs Sharpe.”
- “another of a young boy or girl with long hair”
- “Attributed to Mrs Bull [artist] – Oval portrait of Mrs Sharpe wearing an elaborate hat, verso inscribed and dated 1788″
- “two oval portraits of gentlemen, one inscribed to verso J.R. Sharpe”
- “A group of four portraits of the children of Benjamin and Ann Sharpe, each with white highlights to their blue coloured clothing, each verso dated March 1823 and with respective script, Benjamin Sharpe aged 10 Years 4 Months born 16 November 1812, Elizabeth Isabella Sharpe aged 8 Years 3 Months born 9 December 1814, William Francis Sharpe aged 6 Years 7 Months born 31st August 1816 and John Charles Sharpe aged 4 Years 8 Months born 14 July 1818″
- “Portrait of Benjamin Sharpe, inscribed to verso Gosling and Sharp (sic), B. Sharpe 1819“
- “an oval pencil miniature of Ann Sharpe, wife of Benjamin Sharpe”
IMAGINE: people Mary and her family actually knew!! So fascinating a find!
Estimate was £1000 to £1500; results only go back as far as September 2013, so I do not know for what price they actually sold.