A Visit to Aynhoe

January 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm (estates) (, , , , , , , )

Having spent the weekend with Calista from Montreal, I heard MUCH about the travels she and her husband have undertaken in order to visit English estates.

Aynho, pictured at left, is a place few may have heard of; I know of it because of a BOOK!

Lili at Aynhoe: Victorian Life in an English Country House, was published some years ago; written by Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett (a great-great-grand-daughter, who lived a time at Aynhoe — it sold in 1960), the book presents Lili Cartwright’s drawings of the house, but also it allows glimpses into Lili’s diaries. Oh! for more…

But why this discussion of Aynho (or Aynhoe, I’ve seen it spelled both ways)?

Cathy Kawalek, who kindly visited the New York Public Library to “dust off” History of the Comptons of Compton Wynyates for me, emailed a large section covering the life of the 1st Marquess of Northampton, uncle of Emma Smith; brother-in-law of Eliza Chute of The Vyne.

Imagine my SURPRISE when I read that the Comptons visited Aynhoe! Well, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since the estates are both in Northamptonshire; but a “blast from the past” — since I had owned Lili at Aynhoe for quite some time — always comes as a surprise, doesn’t it?

  • For those wanting more information, check out the Aynho History Society’s website for publications.
  • An interesting little book “find” is an 1892 title called A Descriptive List of The Deer Parks and Paddocks of England, by Joseph Whitaker. Among the parks mentioned is not only Aynhoe (with 100 deer), but also Tring Park (owned then by Lord Rothschild; with 60 deer — and also 25 kangaroos, 14 emus, and more!).
  • Cathy Kawalek has mentioned that she is open to helping other non-NY researchers; contact can be made with Cathy via ArtsResearchNYC [at] yahoo [dot] com. I highly recommend her services, for her knowledge, helpfulness and resourcefulness! It is through such wonderful people that much of my little researches become possible.
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Hope Came in Costume

January 28, 2012 at 10:46 am (books, fashion) (, , , , , )

Well known to me for a few years is the costume specialist, Hope Greenberg. Hope gave an excellent talk to our JASNA Vermont group a couple years ago; and last night enthralled our group of Emma-readers with late-18th and early-19th century dress for men and women.

Hope was in a lovely maroon gown last night; and “dressed” for breakfast today too!

Don’t you wish you were here?

(Where’s “here”? The Governor’s House in Hyde Park!)

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Mozart’s Birthday / Jane Austen Weekend

January 27, 2012 at 11:13 am (books, entertainment, jane austen) (, , , , , , , , , )

Something out of the ordinary this 27 January — while I listen to a lovely Mozart piano concerto, I’m also thinking of this evening’s “treat”: a Hyde Park bed & breakfast weekend centered around the Theme of Emma.

Just last night (thanks to Cathy Kawalek — more on Cathy later!) I was reading Clive Caplan’s biography on Henry Austen as “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother”; and came across a notation that Jane must have used her knowledge of Henry’s thoughts and desires for his military career when it came to the writing of Emma. How so, you may ask… Because Austen put Mr Weston in a certain regiment that was then posted to Yorkshire — where he met his wife and begat his son, Frank Churchill.

Must admit I never really thought about Mr Weston’s earlier exploits much and through what means he might have met his wife. But how fortuitous to read Clive’s comment now, right before our Emma weekend!

More later, for my computer travels with me…

 

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Revealing Anne Lister of Shibden Hall

January 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm (books, diaries, estates, history, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

There are two connotations to the word “revealing”: to reveal (v) = to expose; revealing  (adj) = enlightening, illuminating.

Either would actually fit the title of a 2010 BBC special that I watched Sunday evening. The wonderful things to see in the special Revealing Anne Lister: to see Helena Whitbread, who published some of Lister’s diaries in the 1980s; and … to SEE THE DIARIES!

You can read more about Helena Whitbread and her Lister books here.

I used to enjoy History to Herstory – a website on Yorkshire Women’s Lives, which used to have a wonderful section on Lister: pictures, extracts of the diaries by Whitbread and Jill Liddington (who’s published some further books on Lister’s diaries). But today I see the website has been “new and improved” — and frankly I’m not sure WHERE to find the bits and pieces about Lister that I loved. If you solve the mystery of their disappearance, do let me know.

The time period of Anne’s diaries make them VERY much of interest to Two Teens; and the story of the publications and the writers working on them are worthy of notice too. A high recommendation for the BBC special.

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Pictures worth a 1000 words

January 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm (british royalty, diaries, history, jane austen, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This picture isn’t worth only the proverbial “thousand words,” it was also worth a £1000 to the lucky purchaser at a November 2011 Bonhams auction. The sitter: Mamma Smith’s aunt, Susannah Mackworth Smith (wife of Thomas Smith of Bersted Lodge, Bognor).

Emma’s diaries mention a near-yearly visit to Bersted; though very little is said about the Aunt and Uncle found there… AH, joys and frustrations of working with primary materials. You wish people would ‘spill their guts’; instead they tempt you with teasing clues.

You can see the entire Susannah Smith miniature at Bonhams‘ website. If you search for Mackworth Praed you will also find her twin sister (Arabella, Countess of Mayo; a lady attached to the household of Queen Adelaide); and two of their brothers.

Susannah has not been my only *find* recently. Gosh! so many families purging themselves of ancestral miniatures… Don’t know which is more depressing: people selling their ancestors or all those portraits of “A Lady” or “A Gentleman” who could be someone in the Smith & Gosling family and friend tree!

{Hell, there even could be some Austens out there… going through life as unnamed Ladies and Gents.}

Another family member “found” and not yet discussed, although I posted her portrait a short bit ago, is Frances Anne Seymour — who married Spencer Smith. I actually have a photograph of Frances, granted – as photography was a later medium, taken when she was in her late 50s. Still so much FUN to compare the two, young “Bride” Frances and older “Matriarch” Frances. She, too, sold through Bonhams (in 2008). Note that on the website her middle name is spelled Ann; oh, spelling differences just kills me! {And Paula Byrne thinks she has problems with Austin… Try Jelfe/Jelph; Dickins/Dickens; Du Val/Duval; Susan/Susannah/Susanna; and a whole host of others… Never mind, just trying to find people named SMITH!}

Frances and Spencer were the parents of the trio of girls whose miniatures sold at auction I discussed in December. They sold through Christie’s. Mike E., who photographed the album into which Frances and her three daughters were “pasted,” was surprised yet happy that the girls had sold as one lot. May they remain together!

Emma Rutherford‘s Facebook page offers some fascinating reading about the world of miniatures and silhouettes. Let’s face it, for most of my people — even those who lived into older age and photography — these are the types of images that (might) survive. Emma has a new article out in Homes & Antiques Magazine; I’ve unearthed an earlier conversation on miniatures from the same magazine. Her February 2012 article is on silhouettes. Not sure how easy it is to find the magazine in the US. You can read more about Emma Rutherford at her website. Emma kindly alerted Two Teens readers to an article on the Byrne Jane Austen portrait.

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Emma’s “Aunt” is not “Aunt Emma”

January 20, 2012 at 7:52 pm (diaries, entertainment, history, london's landscape, smiths of stratford) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Reading through posts at AustenOnly (check out those concerning livery, and also Lord Nelson!), I spotted a tweet about the Document of the Month, featured on the Hampshire Record Office’s website: Augusta Smith’s poem, To My Aunt on New Year’s Day — written by young Augusta in 1825. It’s one of my favorite pieces! Why? Because it speaks about her having a red Pocketbook; ie, a journal! just like those my young Emma recorded her thoughts and life in. Oh, what has happened to Aunt’s diaries?!?!

I must confess, however, to some head-scratching over the accompanying informational text…

As noted in the text’s beginning, my Emma (Augusta’s sister) was born in 1801; she did marry James Edward Austen; and she did keep diaries, most of them extant at the Hampshire Record Office.

But the poem’s nothing to do with young Emma; it’s not her pockets that bulge, nor her red pocketbook that lays among all the Mary-Poppins-items of that vast pocket! Young Emma was no “aunt” in 1825!

{NB: the first nephew was little Charles, born in 1827; Mary and Charles Joshua’s son}

Yes, there was an “Aunt Emma” — this person was the youngest sister of the four Smith sisters of Erle Stoke Park, the daughters of Joshua and Sarah Smith; namely, Maria (the Marchioness of Northampton); Eliza (Mrs William Chute of The Vyne); Augusta (Mrs Charles Smith of Suttons); and … Emma.

But “Aunt Emma” and “Aunt” are not the same person!

So to whom belonged “these ponderous pockets” that “would jumble my hips almost out of their sockets”??

The “most perfect” Aunt, who resided at Stratford (note the place/date at the bottom of the page), was Miss Judith Smith — only surviving sister of the Smith siblings’ father, Charles Smith. Judith and Charles were children of Charles Smith and Judith Lefevre. Poor Aunt! Even in Scenes from Life at Suttons, 1825 & 1827 she is misidentified; there, as Lady Northampton.

Thanks to Charlotte Frost, I’ve seen a drawing, done by Fanny Smith, of Stratford (Stratford Le Bow) — a “suburb” of London, and soon to be the site of the hustle-bustle of the 2012 Summer Olympics. This was once home to Aunt, and a great stop-off whenever the Smiths of Suttons travelled to and from London.

Now that you know a little about “Aunt” – take a moment to read this delicious poem, by the sparkling eldest Smith sibling, Augusta. I’m going to check my transcription against HRO’s!

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Austen/Chute – more Byrne Jane Austen portrait news

January 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm (chutes of the vyne, diaries, history, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , )

After a visit to the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester, Ellie Bennett posted some interesting photos and thoughts on Reading Eliza Chute’s Regency-era diaries.

Not only will Two Teens readers see Eliza’s handwriting, you also get a taste of what the diaries holds for information, especially for the interaction between The Vyne and the various Austen households, Chawton included.

Enjoy!

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Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey

January 16, 2012 at 8:44 pm (people) (, , )

It was so WONDERFUL to see Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) singled out for praise on last evening’s Downton Abbey.

Why am I such a “Lady Edith” fan? Gotta love the underdog, right — but, really, the character of Lady Edith and the looks of Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith cries out to me: Fanny Smith!

Dear Fanny could be a similar sister-out. Augusta and Emma, the two eldest Smith sisters, were often paired together. The three little ones – Eliza, Charlotte, and Maria – were usually thought of as “the children”. So young Fanny, was sometimes all on her own.

The first season of Downton Abbey, being set earlier than World War I, was just perfect for showing off Lady Edith’s upswept hair and opulent gowns.

 

 

 

 

Middle sisters rule!

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Georgian Gentleman – Journals & Jottings

January 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm (books, diaries, history, london's landscape, people) (, , , , , , , , )

Another “find”, thanks to Sabine: Kleidungum1800 had notice of an interesting blog entitled Georgian Gentleman. Who could resist the call??

And what a found was an English gentleman, retired lawyer Mike Rendell, who had a book come out last year (27 Jan 2011) about his ancestor: The Journal of a Georgian Gentleman: The Life and Times of Richard Hall, 1739-1801 (Book Guild Publishing).

{NB: January 27 — Mozart’s birthday, and, this year, the day my friend Calista and I arrive at Hyde Park for an Emma weekend}

Mike Rendell describes Richard Hall as a “sometimes pious Baptist silk hosier who kept shop at one end or other of the old London Bridge”.

[2017 – some dead links, I’m afraid; will see if samples, silhouettes & facsimiles can be re-linked]

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Regency Costume Fashion Plates

January 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm (entertainment, fashion, history, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Sabine — who’s excellent blog, Kleidungum1800, you just must check out! — has unearthed a terrific series of fashion plates on Flikr. I took a quick peep at just one – a collection of 99 photos (wow!) from 1803-1804, or, as the collection comes from the Bibliothèque des Arts Décoratifs, when dealing with those that are French  plates: from the Year 12. (Dear Napoleon!)

As you can see from the little screen shot (right), the plates include fashions for both men and women.

The page claims it’s “A Work In Progress” – and what work it all entails! Plans for the beginning uploads include fashions from 1800-1820, as well as the American Civil War period (c1855-64).

We owe a debt to user “Nuranar”. Thank you, Danke, Merci!

*

I can see the Two Elizas (Eliza Chute & Eliza Gosling) being interested in this little number,
they did so love reading the Letters of Mme de Sévigné (en français)!

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Mary and Emma would have use for either of these beauties,
especially if the evening included one of Mrs Gosling’s balls

Read more about the “crush” at a Mrs. Gosling’s ball, c1816

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