Researching Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh

January 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm (people) (, )

I have visited several times the webpage dedicated to presenting information (and unearthing more) about the somewhat enigmatic Arthur Henry Austen-Leigh, son of Emma and James-Edward. The Rev. A.H. Austen-Leigh served as rector of Winterbourne in South Gloucestershire from 1875-1890. It is probable that he was named after his two uncles, Arthur Currie (Charlotte Smith’s husband) and Henry Wilder (Augusta Smith’s husband) — though there are several Henrys in the extended family! I will have to look through Emma’s diaries and see who stood sponsors to the baby (born in February 1836, just a few months before Henry Wilder’s death).

I contacted John, the webpage administrator, because of their wonderful listing of Mamma’s Grandchildren – in total 51! I presume the list was written up by Emma, as it resides at the Hampshire Record Office, among the Austen-Leigh papers. Mary’s three children appear with Cholmeley (Emma’s first son) at the head of the list.

No. 32 New Norfolk St., was the London residence at which the Smiths resided when little Charles was born; No. 6 Portland Place (another London address) was the residence of Mamma Smith – but Mary and Charles stayed often, even though Mary’s own family, the Goslings, resided at No. 5! Only little Augusta was born at the Smiths’ country estate of Suttons.

Interesting to see how Spencer – about whom so little is really known, as far as his day-to-day life goes (other than as commented on by his sister Emma) – moved around, even after purchasing (I presume; though perhaps he did lease the property?) his Hampshire estate of Brooklands. Some addresses have stronger Seymour ties (Frances wanting to be with her own family at times of giving birth?), for instance Cadlington. Their first child, Spencer Joshua (undoubtedly named for his deceased uncle, Charles Joshua Smith, and great-grandfather, Joshua Smith; as well as his father) – who did not live to see his fifth birthday, was born at No. 6 Portland Place. While Eleanor (towards the bottom of the list) was born in Brighton!

Two books are online that may be of use to those interested in Arthur Henry: his brother Augustus wrote a history of King’s College, Cambridge; and the biography of Augustus edited by their brother William.

I must say I particularly enjoyed the wedding announcements included on the A.H. Austen-Leigh site — how very “society pages” in the likes of The New York Times! Pity there were no such expansive write-ups in the 1820s…

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Eliza Chute & Jane Austen in Basingstoke

January 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm (entertainment) (, , , )

A short announcement of a talk for those in the Basingstoke (Hampshire, England) area this summer:

The 2009 program of talks held at the Willis Museum will host Mrs G. Dunstan on July 16th. She speaks on “Eliza Chute, A Gentlewoman in local society in Jane Austen’s day — and after.’

All talks begin at 7:30; non-members will be asked to pay a nominal fee at the door. For the full schedule see http://uk.geocities.com/cullinghamchris/2009_programme_of_talks.htm. Mrs Dunstan is a NT steward at The Vyne.

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Eine kleine “Antient Music”

January 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm (entertainment) (, , , , , , )

In Emma Smith’s diaries, which begin (as far as what is extant) in 1815, she time and again mentions a series of concerts which came under the general heading The Antient Music. Her sister Augusta was an especial fan. So imagine my surprise to see two volumes – one for 1829 and an earlier one from 1791 – dedicated to the programs and participants of these Antient Music concerts!!

Some very familiar names, thanks to the Smiths and Goslings seeing these artists perform — or hiring them for their own soirees:

* Mr W. Knyvett
* Mrs W. Knyvett
* Mr Vaughan
* Miss Stephens

Then there are the very well known, such as “Madame Malibran”!

These concerts were given under the “patronage of His Majesty,” and, in 1829, performed at the New Rooms, Hanover Square. Lists, such as these of performers and subscribers, as always most welcome; for what other printed matter can allow the researcher to look into a world two hundred years in the past? And maybe, just maybe, you find a correct spelling for a name, or a first name for someone’s last name.

For 1829, the year of Mary’s (Lady Smith) earliest diary and the year Emma’s little Cholmeley was born, we see the following familiar names among the subscribers:

* Mr. Gosling
* Miss Charlotte Gosling
* Mrs F. Gregg
* Miss Emily Gregg
* Miss Jessy Gregg
* Miss Harriet Gregg
* Mr. Richard Gosling
* Mrs. Richard Gosling
* Miss Smith

* Miss Jelfe
* Hon. Thomas Kenyon
* Hon. Mrs. Thomas Kenyon
* Miss Charlotte Kenyon
* Miss Kinnaird
* Rev. James Brownlow
* Sir Astley Cooper, Bt.
* Lady Astley Cooper
* Mr. William Courtenay
* Mr. W. Reginald Courtenay
* Mr. T.P. Courtenay
* Miss E. Courtenay
* Mr Capel
* Mrs Capel
* Miss Capel
* Lord Bishop of London
* Miss Neave
* Lord Nepean
* Dowager Countess Poulett
* Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart.
* Lady Pepys
* Mr Pepys
* Mrs Pepys
* Lady Sykes

See the whole list for yourself here; and don’t forget to take a look at the concerts being given that year! For instance, the concert which opened the season (Thursday, 5 March 1829)  under the “direction of His Grace The Archbishop of York, for His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland”. It featured music of Handel, Mozart, Graun, Handel, Geminiani, more Mozart, and a lot more Handel. Included with the words are detailed listings of who sang. It is possible that those programs which generated this book were among those seen in Augusta Smith’s sole sketchbook; Augusta used them as scrap paper! If so, the originals were a heavier card stock. She either used them because of a lack of anything else when the mood to draw struck her, or else she saved them in order to have some scrap. What a wonderful souvenir to unearth online!

As to the 1791 edition, again we see some of the family in attendance; these concerts were performed at the “New Rooms, Tottenham-street”:

* Mr Smith Burges
* Mr. R. Gosling
* Mr. W. Gosling
* Mrs. Gosling
* Mr. F. Gosling
* Mrs. F. Gosling
* Mr D. Smith
* Lady Sykes
* Miss Smith
* Bishop of Winchester

* Mr Houghton
* Mrs Houghton
* Mr. Bramstone
* Mrs. Bramstone
* Mr. Bosanquet
* Mrs Bosanquet
* Lord Brownlow
* Lord Bulkeley
* Lady Hotham
* Miss Hotham
* Sir Lucas Pepys
* The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

An absolute THRILL is to see listed among the performers a certain “Miss Storace” and “Mr. Kelly” — they can only be Nancy Storace and Michael Kelly — two performers who premiered (1784) Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro!!! Madame Mara gets a mention or two in the letters of Mrs Lefroy (Jane Austen’s friend) and Mr Knyvett (presumably the father, Charles Knyvett senior) was among the soloists that year too.

NB: Poor Mozart would of course not see the end of 1791…

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Georgiana Darcy in Hyde Park (Vermont)

January 11, 2009 at 12:08 pm (a day in the life, people, places) (, , , , )

mrs-hurst-review-at-dynas-hallKelly’s talk Georgiana Darcy and the ‘Naïve Art’ of Young Ladies will be given at the Governor’s House in Hyde Park on Friday, 30 January 2009.

Our hostess, Suzanne Boden invites you to join us for an entire Weekend dedicated to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice:

Friday, 30 January – 8:00 pm informal talk (see below), with coffee and dessert ($14)

Saturday, 31 January – 3:00 pm Afternoon Tea ($20)

Saturday, 31 January – 7:00 pm Book Discussion & Dinner ($35)

Sunday, 1 February – 11:30 am Brunch & Austen Quiz ($15)

All four activities ($75) and a weekend package that includes B&B accommodation at the Governor’s House (starting at $295 single) also available. Contact Suzanne at info [at] onehundredmain [dot] com or (802) 888-6888 (toll free 866-800-6888).

The starting point for my illustrated talk is Elizabeth Bennet’s journey through Derbyshire with the Gardiners (also the subject of the article “Derbyshires Corresponding: Elizabeth Bennet and the Austen Tour of 1833,” which appears in Persuasions this spring). As Elizabeth tours Pemberley, P&P’s narrator tells readers:

 “The picture gallery, and two or three of the principal bed-rooms, were all that remained to be shown. In the former were many good paintings: but Elizabeth knew nothing of the art; and from such as had been already visible below, she had willingly turned to look at some drawings of Miss Darcy’s, in crayons, whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also more intelligible.”

Looking at the work of several young ladies, including Cassandra Austen, during a period covering the first half of the 19th century – we examine fashion, home, family and life in England during the “lifetime” of Darcy’s young sister Georgiana.

As the little drawing above done by Diana Sperling illustrates: Elizabeth Bennet had good taste!

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