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…


  1. John Haviland said,

    My grandmother was Jane Knyvett, a great grandaughter of the Charles K. b.1752 referred to in Grove. Mr W.K was either his brother or his son, and Grove shows his 2nd wife was a well-known singer. I have the whole tree of the very prolific family.

  2. Janeite Kelly said,

    It’s a genuine thrill to hear from you, John! Anything you can tell me about William Knyvett and his wife would be welcome. I had not realized she was his second wife, but will look up their entry in Grove the next time I’m at the library.

    I must ask: have you any letters or diaries, or even a portrait? I would be especially interested in finding descriptions of and about the Smiths & Goslings.

    When I came home for lunch today, I looked (quickly) to see what I had on the Knyvetts. There are many mentions – of concerts attended and what seem to be social engagements. I will pull together all they said and post a little Knyvett post!

    So, more to come!!

    (BTW, how is the name pronounced? niv-vett?)

  3. Janeite Kelly said,

    A quick FYI, John. I think I know why there is confusion about “William” being Charles’ son or brother:

    The DNB (Dictionary of National Biography) has entries for the Knyvetts quite obviously based upon the 1880 edition of Grove – both of these texts are online at books.google.com.

    Grove has this to say, which segues from Charles (the father) to Charles (the son):

    “KNYVETT, Charles, descended from an ancient Norfolk family, was one of the principal alto singers at the Commemoration of Handel in 1784; he was also engaged at the Concert of Ancient Music. He was appointed a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, Nov. 6, 1786. In 1791 he, in conjunction with Samuel Harrison, established the VOCAL CONCERTS, which they carried on until 1794. On July 25, 1796, he was appointed an organist of the Chapel Royal, and a few years later resigned his former post. He died in 1822.
    His elder son, CHARLES, was born 1773. He was placed for singing under Mr. (afterwards Sir) William Parsons, and for the organ and piano under Samuel Webbe. In 1801 he joined his younger brother William [note!], Greatorex, and Bartleman, in reviving the Vocal Concerts.” The entry goes on to include William himself (and his second wife, the singer Deborah Travis), who was born in 1779.

    DNB conjoins paragraphs about Charles the father and son, whereby William becomes first a brother then (correctly) a son to his own father! Undoubtedly a similar mix-up between the two Charleses causes the earlier reference to “brother William” and the Vocal concerts of 1791.

    Thanks for posting, for you have made me learn more about someone I long put off looking up!

  4. Tim Cox said,


    Just a query – perhaps you can help. I’ve being doing a little ‘research’ on Fielding’s ”Tom Jones’. I’ve accessed the online (google books) copy held by the Bodleian Library (1770 edition published in English in Paris). The flyleaf of each of the three volumes has a signature – Charles Wm Knyvett 1819. Was this the father (1752-1822)? .

    Just curious!

  5. Janeite Kelly said,

    Hmm…. you certainly have come across an interesting theory and gem, Tim!

    It is truly difficult to say. Knyvett (to me) seems an unusual name – but was it??

    I have only seen father and son described as Charles Knyvett – no middle name at all (though I will see what I can find…). Therefore, it potentially could be either of them.

    And I have to wonder: perhaps William Knyvett went by the name William, but was a Charles William; it’s not impossible.

    I was curious to SEE this book – but seem not to have the same access to it that you do (‘no preview available’ comes up for that edition).

    Looking up (at the ever-useful books.google) the full name, Charles William Knyvett, I do find one man of that name. The Rev. Charles William Knyvett is described (in The List of the Queen’s Scholars of St. Peter’s College, Westminster [1852]) as, “Graduated M.A. 1820; — was usher of Westminster School from 1823 to 1827; — perpetual curate of Maiden Bradley, Wilts, 1829-42; –minor canon of Windsor, 1834-47; — and, Nov. 23, 1847, was presented to the rectory of West Heslerton, Yorkshire”. He seems to have died, aged 85, in 1881. This is more likely your man, though whether he was related to the singing Knyvetts remains a question.

  6. Tim Cox said,

    That’s interesting Janeite – I guess it’s proably the Rev. and at 23 he might have had a sufficient income to buy books. Knyvett, I would agree, is not a very common name, although an aristocratic one.- Thomas Knyvett (1545-1622) was Ist Baron Escrit. and is ‘nationally recognised not only for his contribution to the maintenance of law and order through his role in foiling the gunpowder plot, but for the loyalty and education he displayed as Master of the Mint and for his philanthropy, particularly in the field of
    education. His will provided for the foundation in Stanwell (London) of the Lord Knyvett Free-School in 1624.’ (isn’t google wonderful!) There still a school carrying his name today.

    Sorry you can’t access the book – I got it by going to google books and entering Tom Jones Fielding, though curiously today I can only get to Vol 1 . I have downloaded all four volumes but can’t seem to copy any part – not much of a computer nerd!

  7. Janeite Kelly said,

    I have a love-hate relationship with books.google. On the one hand, who can complain about accessing books you could NEVER otherwise access (for distance, or accessibility); yet they don’t always have all volumes (you were indeed LUCKY to be able to download all FOUR vols. of TJ!), or pages are missing or misordered.

    Copyright (such as it is for a 200+ year old book! dictates what can and cannot be fully accessed depending on ISP. And maybe it IS just a combination of putting in the right title. I swear when I look for the Austen first editions, the same ones do not ALWAYS come up – even with a logical search term — like her name and/or the title.

    Keep in mind two things: a set of books for someone from Knyvett’s background would have been more affordable because he undoubtedly came from a family with a reading background. I’ve never seen the Austens, Smiths or Goslings complain about the PRICE of a book. Also, there were book sales. I remember coming across these in Eliza Chute’s diaries. I can only assume (ie, I need to research this further) that a book (all volumes) make the rounds as part of a circulating library – and then to raise funds, or the clients in that ‘circulating circle’ had tired of the title – it was up for sale. Presumably, especially if Knyvett purchased it c1819 and it was published c1770 – a second hand book would have come more cheaply. And the binding may or may not be how it came when HE bought it.

    There are several texts out there with information on the clergy (including income!), so I’m sure more can be found; and maybe confirm the man’s ownership of the novel.

    I’ll try your search term – see if I get anthing, or only vol. 1, or no access at all.

  8. Janeite Kelly said,

    Tim, an interesting development….

    The Solicitors’ Journal for 1859 has notice of a marriage – a Knyvett to a Gregg: the Knyvett a son of the very REV. KNYVETT we’ve been discussing. The Gregg is a relative to the Goslings. Small world!

    The notice reads: “KNYVETT–GREGG– On Nov. 15, at Beddington Church, Surrey, by the Rev. James Hamilton, rector, assisted by the Rev. Perceval Laurance, Charles Ferrers Knyvett, Esq., eldest son of the Rev. C.W. Knyvett, rector of West Heslerton, Yorkshire, to Hannah Fanny, youngest daughter of ther late Francis Gregg, Esq., of the Inner Temple, both grandchildren of the late Rev J. B. Ferrers, rector of Beddington.”

    A sobering piece of news, however, comes in the November 1867 issue of Gentleman’s Magazine: “July 17. Drowned in the Rakais, New Zealand, Charles Ferries [sic], eldest son of the Rev. C.W. Knyvett, rector of Heslerton, Yorkshire.”

    BWT, looking for the search term tom jones fielding, I did find the volume you spoke of; interesting (though difficult to read) inscription; I, too, could only access vol. 1. Good thing you downloaded them all when you had the opportunity.

    Charles William Knyvett is described as the son of Charles Knyvett of Sonning (Berks), “sometimes organist of St. George’s Hanover Square, London, by Jane, daughter of John Laney, of Shorwell, Isle of Wight; b. Aug. 11, 1796.”

    Some Knyvett family: The Eton Register lists a daughter for the Rev. C.W. Knyvett, Charlotte Eliza married Thomas Alexander Dashwood, who went from Eton to Christ Church, Oxford. Knyvett’s fourth daughter, Jane Mary, married (2 June 1870) the Rev. Arthur Coles Haviland. A brother-in-law (no info on the wife) is W. C. Totton, son of the Rev. William Jurin Totton (rector of Debden, Essex).

    Westminster: Memorials of the City, Saint Peter’s College has the following listing cited as “next the vestry-door, at the west end of the nave. GEORGE HENRY KNYVETT, youngest son of Charles Knyvett, Esq., of Sonnyng, Berks; died Nov. 28, 1840, aged 28. ‘During the last three years of his life he was resident in this parish, where the efforts of his fervent charity, and of his unwearied devotion of time and labour to the cause of religion, will long survive him.’ This elegant monument (ornamented with a relievo of his likeness) to the memory of this exemplary young gentleman was raised by ‘many attached friends.'”

    1826’s The Quarterly Theological Review has: “The Rev. Hugh Hodgson, Vicar of Idmiston, Wilts, to Harriet, second daugther of Charles Knyvett, Esq. of Sonning, Berks. GM notes the 10 Oct 1839 marriage of “At Bangor, John Benjamin Lee, esq. of Dean’s-yard, Westminster, to Amelia-Bridget, fourth dau. of Charles Knyvett, esq. of Sonning, Berks”

    The Court Magazine for 1842 has this announcement: “The Queen and Prince Albert attended Divine Service, in St. George’s Chapel, the Rev. C.W. Knyvett read the service…”

    DNB says Charles Knyvett (1752-1822) purchased Sonning; his ELDEST son Charles (1773-1852) inherited it; so it sounds like Charles William Knyvett is the son and therefore grandson of the man you thought might have owned this book!

  9. Tim Cox said,

    Yes Janeite, I’d picked up an antipodean connection yesterday through the Dulhunty Papers (Chapter14) MUSICIANS – A STRANGE AND STARTLING ASSEMBLAGE? which you have probably seen but not the one you mention.


    “Of the descendants of Charles, a grandson, Edward Ferrers Knyvett (born 1833, son of the Reverend Charles William Knyvett, Chaplain to Queen Victoria), migrated to Queensland. Officially a surveyor, he is described by one of his descendants as having spent his life playing cricket against the Englishmen and dabbling in grazing. His sons included Frank Berners Knyvett (later Colonel Knyvett D.S.O., D.C.M.) subject of the famous Knyvett case, of which the defense was published in book form, and R. Hugh Knyvett, author of “Over There with the Australians”. The latter received a fine tribute from Roosevelt, writing in the “Independent”, who called him a “Modern Galahad”. “No man”, he said, “could look at his face and not see that he combined, as few men do, the daring and the iron courage of the born fighter, with the singularly gentle and lofty idealism, the same intensity of spirit which made him so formidable a foe in personal combat, also made him one of the most convincing and effective speakers who ever stirred to action souls that had been but half awake.” Both of these brothers died without issue.”

    But the New Zealand death I assume is of his brother.

    He does appear to have been related to the singing Knyvetts according to the Dulhunty Papers.

    I can’t seem to get Google to cough up the clerical references you referred to earlier!

    All this is a delightful sidetrack from the 18th century novel!

  10. Janeite Kelly said,

    Must just comment quickly: see what ‘fun’ ensues when one make notations in books!

  11. Jinks said,

    Tim & Janeite, I have enjoyed reading your discoveries about the Knyvetts.
    I am presently posting the family tree, copying it from the Dulhunty Papers and I got a little confused myself around all the Charles’s. Still am. I am the niece of Beryl Dulhunty who wrote the Dulhunty Papers and a descendant of the Knivetts. I am delighted to learn about Tom Jones and dulcet tones. Eventually, I may incorporate some of your research. Thank you.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Do email me, Jinks, if you would like some of the “notes” I put together about the singing Knyvetts for my article in Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine (I can also send you that article).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: