Spencer Compton/Marquess Northampton – New Image!

November 25, 2011 at 11:13 am (books, history, news, research) (, , , , , )

A new image! This time of Spencer Compton, AKA Lord Compton, AKA the 2nd Marquess of Northampton.

Spencer was the only male cousin of the Smith of Suttons children. Brother of Lady Elizabeth Compton, young Emma writes about visiting the Comptons in 1815 when Spencer (Lord Compton) married Margaret Maclean Clephane — the ward of Walter Scott!

The image ran in January 1851, in the Illustrated London News, following the Marquess’ death; it dates, however, from a few years earlier. The accompanying text reads, in part,

“The late Marquis died on Friday week, at Castle Ashby, the ancient family seat, in Northamptonshire. The recent death of Lord Alford, his son-in-law, had proved a severe shock to a naturally sensitive temperament, and he was advised to leave Ashridge for his own residence, before the funeral.”

Poor Lady Marion, first a husband gone, and now a father…

Permalink Leave a Comment

Giving Thanks – and always

November 24, 2011 at 10:13 am (news, research) (, , , )

Today, and every day, I give thanks for this fascinating project! And for all of you who read about it, and especially those of you contributing to it!

Here’s just a short list of people who have bits, parts, and pieces of this project; some have even found me, through this blog:

Alan Godfrey – letters to, from & about Fanny Seymour.
Jeremy Catto, Oxford University, owns Drummond’s letter book, into which were copied all his letters to his sisters; and a bow to Rob Petrie who photographed the book page-by-page.
Mark Woodford – his father purchased an obscure diary, which just happens to be the earliest known diary (1798) written by Augusta Smith (Mrs Charles Smith, of Suttons).
Angela in Alberta, Canada shared with me her transcription of a truly delightful letter penned in 1824 by Augusta Smith (Mrs Henry Wilder, of Purley).
Jacky in Maidstone, England shared so many letters and journals; especially dear to my heart is Maria’s Progress, an astonishing book Mamma wrote over the years about her youngest child. Jacky’s favorites are Aunt Emma’s travel journals; precious indeed.

Mike E. in Surrey was among the first to really offer “help” – he’s taken photos, dug in databases and archives, visited churches.
Mike H. at Tring Park has sent items and photos that truly flesh out the Smiths’ Tring era.
Charlotte Frost volunteered to be my “eyes” at Oxford, and photographed three albums of drawings; she also shared her biography on Sir William Knighton (Richard Seymour’s uncle) and some research notes.
Craig in Australia had ties to the family’s Essex past, and he alerted me to the sale of the one letter I am grateful to say I own.
Eliza shared the precious image of Mimi Smith.

Caroline Benson, at the Museum of Rural English Life (Reading), helped me obtain photos.
Mark Booth, Robert Eyre, Robert Pitt, and Clare Murdoch helped with the microfilm of Richard Seymour’s diaries, held at the Warwickshire Record Office. I am currently transcribing these.

Jenny Sherwood‘s writings on John Culme-Seymour has led to the discovery of several photos of John & Maria.
Robin Jenkins kindly alerted me to the Macklin Album, which surely has ties to Aunt Emma Smith, of Glenville.

Freydis and Damaris have shared great conversation about their forebears.

Permalink 1 Comment

Rokeby Museum & Walter Scott

November 22, 2011 at 8:09 am (books, entertainment, estates, history) (, , , , , , , )

Rokeby Museum is about a 30-minute drive south of where I live; I must confess that I’ve never stopped whenever I’ve driven by… A professor of History used to bring her class, but I never tagged along. But Rokeby — by its very name — has a connection with the story of the Smiths & Goslings: Its name comes from the poem by Walter Scott! That news came yesterday when reading a nice article on the museum in the Burlington Free Press. (Although they ID Rokeby as an epic novel rather than poem.)

Rokeby was published in 1813 — so it would be interesting to know WHEN the house-cum-museum obtained its name.

To read about Scott’s life and the composition of Rokeby see The Walter Scott Digital Archive.

The Robinsons of Rokeby in Ferrisburgh, Vermont were not the only ones to name their home after Scott’s poem! See also this Rokeby Manor.

In searching for Sir William Knighton — physician to the Prince of Wales (George IV), and appointed “privy purse” — I found this text of a letter Sir William wrote … Sir Walter Scott!

J.M.W. Turner immortalized Rokeby in 1822.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Walter Scott & the “Big Bow Wow”

November 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm (books, diaries, history, research) (, , , , , )

Scholars and readers of Jane Austen remember well that Walter Scott wrote of his inability to create the quiet fiction of Austen, but was great at what he called “the big bow wow”.

While Austen’s prose interests me for its precise picture of life when my girls — Emma and Mary — were growing up, it’s Scott’s correspondence that provides the interest: he was the guardian of the Maclean Clephane girls. Margaret Maclean Clephane married the Smiths’ cousin Spencer Compton (Lord Compton, later the 2nd Marquess of Northampton). Scott’s letters shed light on the periods of time when the young family was abroad; while Emma’s diaries comment on the young man’s marriage with a Scottish beauty!

But back to Walter Scott..

As you see from the image, there are 12 volumes of letters, published in the 1930s. You can find these letters ONLINE!

Here’s a short list of items, as delineated on the page entitled “Authentic Austen, Scott, Waldie“:

  • Millgate Union Catalogue of Walter Scott Correspondence, at the National Library of Scotland, gives a fully searchable database. You’ll Find Lady Compton and the Clephanes well represented…
  • A recent discovery, and, although not quite as handy as the book volumes, I am grateful to find all the published edition of Letters online and fully searchable. The line numeration is a bit of a pain (though you always know which page you’re on in which volume!), and the notes seem missing, but this should prove an exceptionally useful source. One wish: someone needs to clean up the scanned text a bit.
  • Also useful is, of course, Scott’s Journal. Editions found online: Online Literature; Books.Google; Project Gutenberg

I’m very “bullish” on anything “authentic” — letters, diaries, first editions, etc etc., so do check out the other items on this blog page: https://smithandgosling.wordpress.com/authentic-austen/

A reader who wrote to me about Lachlan Macquarie might be interested to know that according to the Millgate Catalogue, there is one 1821 letter. (BTW, I noticed a broken link there; note that it has now been updated!)

The letter is dated 24 Nov 1821, from Government House, Sydney NSW. Seems Lachlan Macquarie was a relation to my dear Margaret, Lady Compton! The original letter is at the National Library of Scotland.

A short note here to add that if anyone has the book THE COMPTONS OF COMPTON WYNYATES, I’d love to see the chapters on the 1st and 2nd Marquesses — and the portrait of Maria, Lady Northampton by her sister Eliza Chute!!

Permalink 3 Comments

Rev. Daniell of Ramsgate

November 10, 2011 at 8:23 am (books, history, news, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , )

Sarah, a reader researching her family tree, contacted me recently — ID’ing the Rev. Daniell, whom Mary (Lady Smith) heard preach in Ramsgate in 1841, as John Mortlock Daniell. Just knowing the entire name, has opened up a load of information, including a picture of the man: he published much work.

Mary Gosling’s diaries were the first I found; Lady Smith’s were the diaries which opened up this entire project. Even last night, reading some of Mamma Smith’s 1830s diaries, my thoughts roamed to ask, “Where are more diaries? They must have been divvied up between her surviving children…”

There are literally HUNDREDS of names in all these diaries and letters. The Smiths rarely say much about people, but just knowing who they met and interacted with fleshes out their lives that little bit more.

For instance, Sarah’s information made me look that much closer at Mary’s comments: usually she mentioned a clergyman in reference to him “doing the duty”; here she has written that she “went to hear Mr Daniell”. A curious phrase – but one borne out by Mr Daniell’s reputation as “very popular.”

I cannot offer Sarah much information — but the fact that she can now place one woman in her forebear’s congregation for one Sunday is proof that the power of the internet connects so many disconnected things: as in recreating the lives of people alive 200 years ago!

I hope to start adding lists of names, from Emma’s diaries, from Mamma Smith’s diaries; from family letters. Do take a look at those lists already up under Dramatis Personae — and let me know if you know something about someone on the list. Even a name alone can sometimes unlock a world of information.

And if you’re lucky: You get a picture too!

Permalink Leave a Comment

No, But I’ve seen the movie…

November 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm (books) (, , , , , , , , , )

R.H. Culp wrote an intriguing post that touches on books-made-into-films:

“Every time another book-derived movie comes out it feels like it is condemning the book to obscurity.  Too many times I’ve asked someone if they’ve read Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings and they say, “No, but I’ve seen the movies.”  Why can’t people who want to experience these worlds sit down for a few hours and read?”

I, too, dream of what Culp terms “the ultimate authorial achievement” = a MOVIE DEAL! I have long picked out a movie cast for a film based on a certain key “moment” behind Smith and Gosling history: the romantic triangle of Charles, his first wife Belinda, and his sister Emma’s best friend Mary — who eventually becomes his second wife. Would I be giving too much away to say that I’ve long thought James McEvoy the perfect Sir Charles Joshua Smith. For the others, I can’t help but confess, I’ve got a little list…

Yet, while I could easily down boil the story to something that takes two hours to tell about 12 years’ worth of tale — and make it visually arresting with scenic estates and cityscapes, my ultimate goal would be to gain publicity to drive movie-goers to my books –> where the Smiths & Goslings will (someday…) live again through their own words.

I’ve a closet-full of “tie-ins” and even “classics” that were purchased because I’d seen some TV or film adaptation. The “tie-ins” sometimes suffered if the story had been drastically changed for the film; I mean there is some expectation of a bit of the same story, and the denouement shouldn’t be totally different.

A good writer tells a story, while a great writer invents a world you want to inhabit — again and again.

I’ve seen way too many adaptations of Jane Eyre – the story too-well-known to be “fresh” (rather like A Christmas Carol – please, not another film or sitcom sketch!). Yet a number of years ago I picked up a copy of the book while on vacation. What a wealth of wonderful language!

Austen’s novels are like that, too.  Her prose gives different layers to all the novels beyond boy meets girl premise. That’s what keeps JASNA members revisiting the novels — again and again and again.

Permalink 3 Comments

Lovers’ Lettercase

November 7, 2011 at 8:35 am (fashion, history, research) (, , , )

Always a joy to read, Sabine has a post about a true *find*: what seems to be an embroidered silk lettercase, c1800. Click on the picture to go to the page and be ready to be AMAZED!

Permalink Leave a Comment

Austen First Editions

November 6, 2011 at 8:48 am (books) (, , )

While looking for something totally different (isn’t that usually the case!?!), I came across a listing for quite a number of Austen early editions that are for sale. Yow! the prices:

15 volumes, complete; Variously in first, second and third editions, in uniform 19th century half vellum: $39,327.46
(with a supposed shipping cost, from UK to US, of only $6.52!)

  • 2nd edition for Sense & Sensibility (1813); Pride & Prejudice is a 3rd edition (in 2 vols??) (1817); Mansfield Park, 2nd edition; Emma, 1st edition; Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, 1st edition. Owners name: JH Calcott/1845 is written in all volumes. Provenance of the collection, written  in various hands, in Vol. 1 of Northanger Abbey! Spans the years 1818 (when purchased in Edinburgh) to 1949. Bound in Oxford in 1896. “Viewing” by appointment only.

A first edition Pride & Prejudice (1813), 3 vols. Previous owners name seems to read Catherine Bouverie: $41,785.42

Another copy of P&P; described as in handsome calf covers, with morocco-covered spines : $48,000

Another copy of P&P: $75,000

I leave you to look over the used books listings yourself.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Austen-era Recipes

November 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm (entertainment, history, research, travel) (, , , , )


Austen-Era Recipes

Or, as they would have called them, RECEIPTS.

You might care to share some fairly Authentic dish that you’ve adapted and find quite tasty — or that really-wacky-and-off-the-wall something served in the late 18th/early-19th century. English and American dishes, or other countries even (translations, please).

Martha Lloyd, the Austen’s friend and eventually sister-in-law to Cassandra when, in the late 1820s, Frank Austen married her, kept a receipt book that still exists.

A friend, who just returned from England spent some “quality time” at Ruthin Castle – all very atmospheric, from the sounds of it — including the food! I had lunch at a lovely Welsh Castle when I visited North Wales in 2005, with my father. Treated to a typical menu of the time period, it was different…

Here’s a dish (picture) from a prior post!

Permalink 2 Comments

Old Friends

November 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm (diaries, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Monday, after sending off a book chapter — and now that it’s two weeks beyond the JASNA AGM, I found myself with nothing that HAD to be done. BUT: I wanted to work, to read and see my dear Smiths & Goslings. Being in the midst of some hunt, I ended up in Emma’s 1828 diary. And a few entries sent me back to the beginning of the year and a complete read-through.

My thoughts came right from the mouth of Sweeney Todd

These are my friends…
Speak to me friend — Whisper,
I’ll listen.
I know, I know — you’ve been locked out of sight all these years…
(My faithful friends)
I’ve come home to find you waiting.

I include this link to Johnny Depp singing this song on YouTube.

I was oh, so happy to welcome back my old friends! It’s been three months of intense work on other things; even my newest diaries — those of Richard Seymour — were barely touched.

And what a treat Emma’s life in 1828 is: she even ended the year reading Emma and getting engaged to James Edward Austen.

Permalink Leave a Comment