La Belle Assemblée (1806-1868) (also called Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine)
This magazine is exceptionally difficult to find within books.google: it may be the accent in Assemblée; there are issues out there, but not easily found with its title! I’m doing my best to flesh out the copies, and actually just found a few *new* ones yesterday!!
Charlotte Frost, whose interview about her biography on Sir William Knighton can be read on this blog (part 1, part 2), actually gifted me with a bound copy of volume July thru Supplement for 1818. Wasn’t that kind of her. That volume is found online (see below).
So what has interested me, seemingly all of a sudden, in this periodical. I found a “relation” to members of family. Oh, the story is long (have a seat, grab a cup of tea):
The portrait seen here, of Lady Langham, wife of Sir William, appears in the January 1809 issue of La belle assemblée. The brief bio that appears quite clearly speaks of her in the present-tense:
“LADY LANGHAM, whose portrait, from the celebrated pencil of Hopner,…is the only daughter of the Hon. Charles Vane, by Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Wood, Esq. of Hollin, in the County of York. Her Ladyship is married to Sir William Langham Bart. of Cotesbroke [sic: Cottesbrooke], Northamptonshire.”
Some Baronetages list Lady Langham as having died in 1807! Even a private family publication, The Christies of Glyndbourne (where she is ID as Elizabeth FANE), gives her death as 1807. An old copy of Debrett’s is surely more correct, given the above January 1809 bio, in saying that she died in November 1809. Yes, this vibrant young woman was soon taken from her family, aged only 29.
The rather curious-infuriating part: her widower seems to have REmarried in May 1810! Where are the stout-hearted fathers and widowers like William Gosling, who wait YEARS before remarrying???
Sir William’s second wife is quite probably the LADY LANGHAM Mary Gosling/Lady Smith refers to: she was the former Augusta Priscilla IRBY, only daughter of William Henry Irby and therefore the niece of Frederick Lord Boston. Mary’s stepmother Charlotte de Gray (Charlotte Gosling)’s maternal grandfather was the first Lord Boston; Mary’s diaries are sprinkled with Irbys.
But “Langham” should also be a name familiar to readers of TWO TEENS: Langham Christie, the husband of eldest Gosling sister, Elizabeth. Indeed, that same older Debrett’s lays out the intersecting Langham of Cottesbrooke Baronets (no sons often meant the title went — time and again — to a nephew or uncle or sibling, so it jumps around a LOT). Langham Christie’s grandfather, Purbeck Langham — who married Elizabeth Lawton and had among his children Langham’s eventual mother, also named Elizabeth — was the brother of the 2nd and 3rd Baronets. The 4th Baronet’s grandson became the 8th Baronet and was the Sir William who married our lovely lady shown here. (SEE! we did return to her, in the end…).
Ah! I forgot to mention: Elizabeth Lawton’s sister JANE LAWTON married the 8th Earl of Northampton — and this, (of course), is the family from whom Emma’s cousin Spencer, the 2nd Marquess Northampton, descends. Oh, such interweaving of little family histories. No wonder Langham and Charles Christie were so around the Smiths: they were in turn related to Smith relatives (the Comptons of Castle Ashby). The Christies of Glyndebourne was the first to drop that little piece of info into my lap.
Very interesting to see this engraving of the Hopner portrait, for it SO reminds me of portraits by Vigée Le Brun (see, for instance the 1791 portrait of Hyacinth Gabrielle Roland, at Bat Guano – the wonderful site dedicated to this artist). You can see her self-portrait at the Kimball Museum, in Fort Worth, Texas! (Fort Worth is the site of this autumn’s Annual General Meeting, or AGM, for the Jane Austen Society of North America.)
* * *
This page is NOT being updated; see link for La Belle Assemblée’s page
So, in a VERY long-winded way, this post introduces the numbers of this journal that I HAVE found online. Enjoy!
January-June 1809; July-December 1809
January-June 1810 (alternative link to issue ); July-December 1810
January 1811 (supplemental); January-June 1811; July-December 1811
January-June 1812; July-December 1812
July-December 1814 *new find!*
January-June 1823 *new find!*