Fabulous Find in Ludlow

August 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm (books, history, news) (, , , , , , , )

Last night’s newscast told of an historic “find” in Ludlow, Vermont:

(click picture to open video page at WCAX.com)

The thrill of the find centers around PETER THATCHER WASHBURN, a Vermont hero of the US Civil War, and late in life 33rd governor of the state. Read all about the marriage ledger and Washburn at the United Church of Ludlow (scroll down to the story “Historic Record of Vermont Civil War Hero and Governor Discovered”).

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Renishaw Hall: BBC’s Pemberley

August 28, 2012 at 7:36 pm (books, entertainment, jane austen, places, travel) (, , , , , , , )

My friend Calista and her husband Francis recently journeyed to Derbyshire to visit Renishaw Hall.

Renishaw Hall served as Pemberley in the BBC’s 1980 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Elizabeth Garvey and David Rintoul. Calista and I love this version; for me, it’s due to the authenticity of Fay Weldon’s screenplay. In the photo above, you witness the arrival of Miss Eliza Bennet and the Gardiners.

They are greeted by Mrs Reynolds, the housekeeper:

We have here some of the finest rooms in the Country,
and many choose to view them.”

While the loquacious Mrs Reynolds takes pleasure in showing visitors the interior of the house, it is the gardener who leads the visitors around the gardens:

All of which causes Elizabeth to think that she might have been mistress of all she surveys at Pemberley:

Here are Calista’s thoughts on her own tour of Renishaw Hall / Pemberley:

“Went to Renishaw Hall around 11 yesterday. First, we explored the gardens, since the guided tour to the house for which I had made reservations began at 12:30.

The gardens were very well maintained with some flowers and as we walked we found some very beautiful butterflies, brown colour with big purple spots all over. We explored the very area where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth met. I stood there admiring this beautiful house… I did want to walk by the lake but it was closed off and when Francis asked why I wanted to walk by the lake I had to explain it to him: That’s where Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth and the Gardiners walked by. You should have seen Francis’s face; it was priceless… He must have thought I was really gone nuts this time…

At 12:30pm there was a group of people and we all went in to the house. The house is opened to the public only by guided tours during August and September. The family rooms are still in use and we did see the grand drawing room, dining room, and few other rooms. There were three famous Sitwells — Edith Sitwell being one of them, her portraits were everywhere. Renishaw Hall is no Chatsworth but I didn’t expect it to be; it has its own beauty and charm. We didn’t see any of the bedrooms since upstairs was not included in the tour. Did not see the long gallery of portraits; don’t know if such a place exists at Renishaw. They did have a small museum in the court yard, as well. I did buy some rose petal potpourri at the gift shop.”

She later added,

“You know last night I rewatched the part where Elizabeth visits Pemberley. The gardens haven’t changed drastically. I am guessing the lake scene must be from somewhere else since the lake in front of the Renishaw Hall didn’t look anything like what was shown on the series. That part of the lake is blocked off from the edge of the gardens, so no way to walk towards the lake.

As to the house, the entrance where everyone enters is the very entrance we took. It’s the house’s main entrance and right in front of it is a parking lot now. Our car wasn’t parked too far from it. As you enter there is no staircase where Mrs. Reynolds meets the party but a somewhat larger room nicely decorated. The drawing room in the house is lovely; wish they had used the same room in the show. Remember where Mr. Bingley and the rest of the party meets? That room I did not see, perhaps a studio room or from somewhere else or even some other room in the house.”

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National Portrait Gallery: reduces reproduction fees

August 25, 2012 at 9:30 pm (portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Charlotte Frost (Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician) sent the following link, knowing I had had my eye on a few portraits at London’s National Portrait Gallery. The article is entitled “NPG Changes image licensing to allow free downloads.”

Anyone who has visited (via website or in person) and wanted something reproduced, or simply for personal study, is sometimes looking at spending big bucks. It’s great to see some entity like the NPG responding to the needs of the non-commercial and academic user. May others soon follow suit.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever discussed here my own interaction with the National Portrait Gallery. An online acquaintance wrote to say that he had asked to see a “preview” before purchasing a portrait of the wife of his biographical subject. I had been waiting and waiting to see two portraits by the photographer SILVY purported to be of Maria Culme Seymour (née Maria Smith). Following my friend’s lead, I wrote – and waited; getting no answer. Wrote to a different email address and did hear back. Hurrah!

In return I was sent two tiny pictures. I fell in love with one of them – and yet the NAME on the photo puzzled me: Lady Maria Seymour. The inclusion of a first name, for a baronet’s wife, was highly unusual, even if Silvy, a Frenchman, was unaware of custom. My NPG contact said the identification was a process of elimination: no one else of that name.

I am still suspicious. I’d LOVE it to be Maria — Emma’s youngest sister — but believe the young woman portrayed probably is a daughter of the Seymour-Conway household. A young lady soon to be married, rather than a wife and mother.

Why my doubt?

Beside the name, there is a contemporaneous photo of the daughter of Maria’s cousin, Spencer, 2nd Marquess of Northampton. This daughter, Lady Marian Alford, is younger than Maria by a couple of years — yet she is the epitome of the “Victorian Matron”.

Weeks after receiving the small images from NPG, and declining to buy better (larger) images due to the uncertain nature of their identification, I was beginning to tell some people who had helped me in this project my reservations; I invited them to take a look for themselves — and that was when I found quite large (and very satisfactory!) images had been posted online! I still shake my head, wondering why I hadn’t been sent these same scans – and I suppose too (as I was told NOT to even KEEP the images sent me) puzzled as to why they posted them online at all.

I invite you, too, to look over the images of “Lady Maria Seymour” (portrait #655; portrait #656) — can YOU ID her??? and Lord Northampton’s daughter, Lady Marian Alford (sitter #631).

“Family” who are represented at NPG, in addition to Lady Marian:

Looking, tonight, I see that “Maria” is no longer ID’ed as Maria Culme Seymour! Wish someone had said…

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Queen Luise of Prussia

August 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm (books, british royalty, entertainment, europe, history, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , , , )

I first encountered Queen Luise in the delightful little portrait by Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun (see her oeuvre at Batguano). So it was wonderful to see a book dedicated to her clothing mentioned on Kleidung um 1800Sabine always finds the most fascinating books! I only wish my German language skills weren’t so rusty…

The book is Luise –  Die Kleider der Königin. The television “short” I found about the exhibition which was the basis for the book is also in German: but it is a FEAST for the eyes. Take a look:

 

Aren’t these DETAILS simply gorgeous?
Such well-preserved gowns are so wonderful to see.

And here is the Queen herself:

Some links which will tell you about the royal residence and the exhibition:

The woman German World magazine called “the ‘Lady Diana’ of the 19th century“, was born Duchess Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz — niece to Britain’s Queen Charlotte.

Queen Luise would not live to see the end of the Napoleonic Wars; she died in July 1810 – aged only 35. Her husband, Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia Mary Gosling would mention in her earliest (1814) diary.

Read more and See more Königin Luise via google.

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A Mrs Delany Trio

August 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm (books, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Readers might be interested to know what brought about my recent Mrs Delany interest:

I ADORE the title of this book – the way the “sub-title” is inserted in parentheses on the edition I first spotted — and NOT included in the above image, so I’m forced to include this second (Canada) cover image:

Which the eye sees as

Mrs Delany at 72

while recognizing it says

(BEGINS HER LIFE’S WORK)

It’s always a thrill for me, someone in “mid-life”, to remember that others have trod the same path before me: Working on our life’s work out of pleasure, if nothing else.

And that says a lot about Mrs Delany and her flowers – two of which you see depicted on this book’s covers.

I must comment that it was the inclusion of MRS DELANY’s name on the cover that made me stop and look… That, especially, should NOT have gone by the wayside in any redesign….

Molly Peacock describes in her online chapter what it might have been like, sitting by Mrs Delany as she scored and snipped. Made from paper, her “flower mosaicks” look gloriously realistic.

Why did this title intrigue me? I’ve never forgotten reading, in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, its author (Maria Augusta Trapp) telling a tale about grasping a bell pull to give its bell a ring and shouting out that she wanted to be an author after age 40. Then she was asked if she knew the legend of the bell. No, she said… This spoke to me even before I was 40!

So when I go up to UVM Saturday (remember: no summer classes –> no library open past 5pm at local university!) I’ll also take out titles I’ve flipped through but never borrowed:

This is an exhibition catalogue; you can view more of Mrs Delany’s work at the British Museum.

And the “classic” biography is a must-get.

To READ Mrs Delany’s own words, see my prior post about Mrs Delany’s Letters. Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know of my fascination with letters, diaries, and their resultant publications (which certainly save perusers’ eyesight).

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Mrs Delany writes Letters

August 14, 2012 at 12:04 am (books, goslings and sharpe, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Ah, August… when the summer sessions at the university END, so ends the evening hours at the library. Booo!

Today, if they had been open past five, I would have gone to have a look at their collection of Mary Delany books. A new biography published last year had caught my eye, but there were other books I had looked at over the years but never taken out. I really want to see them, but must wait for noontime Saturday when the library’s open 12-5.

This silhouette comes, however, from a book published in 1821!  While I’ve long known about the more recent books, I had no idea anything was published as long ago as that. Might Emma and Mary have read Letters from Mrs Delany? Might Emma mention it in her diary and I just hadn’t been paying attention enough to make note of it?

Today Mrs Delany is remembered because of her Flower Mosaics. Yet a quick perusal of the index in vol. 6 of her letters shows how valuable her published letters could prove to the Smith & Gosling project. Why? Among other things, she evidently banked with Goslings and Sharpe!

For instance,

March 1780, from Mrs Delany: “I hope my last letter and draft on Gosling for L:y Clanbrassil’s christning {sic} money has arrived safe.”

September 1770, to Mrs Delany: “…he has vowed that he will be punctual to a day to the hands of your banker, Mr. Gosling.”

December 1758, from Mrs Delany: “I have indeed set my heart much upon your going to town, and you have a draught on Gosling, etc., which I designed should pay for the Birmingham boxes…”

She therefore, goes back to the very beginnings of the banking firm!

So who in 1756 might “Mrs Gosling” have been — she wouldn’t have been William Gosling’s mother (i.e., Mary’s paternal grandmother), as William’s parents only married in 1763. William’s father, Robert Gosling, though would have been with the firm — having joined in 1754, according to The History of Barclays Bank. At this time the firm was called Gosling, Bennett, and Gosling — for the partners (Sir) Francis Gosling, Samuel Bennett, Robert Gosling.

Could this describe Elizabeth Douce, William’s paternal grandmother? Elizabeth Midwinter, prior to Francis Gosling’s knighthood? (According to The Alderman of the City of London, Francis was knighted on 28 October 1760.)

It’s a curious comment, and a faintly unflattering one:

March 1756, from Mrs Delany: “Wednesday, I spent with Mrs. Donnellan instead of going to Israel in Egypt; and how provoking! she had Mrs. Montagu, Mrs. Gosling, and two or three fiddle faddles, so that I might as well have been at the oratorio.”

Mrs Delany was a Handel fan.

The Gosling circle tightens when one finds the Correspondence of Samuel Richardson contains (in vol. 4) letters to Dr and Mrs Delany, Mrs Donnellan, Mrs Dewes (sister to Mrs Delany). Samuel Richardson was the guardian of Miss Midwinter — who became Lady Gosling, wife to Sir Francis.

Oh, my….

It’s eleven at night and I find myself *WISHING* I had all the hours in the day to devote to research – there’s so much here. And how was it that I found Mrs Delany this evening: looking up information on BIO – Biographers International Organization. I’d love to hear from anyone belonging to BIO; I’m thinking of applying.

As midnight looms, I wrap up this post with a listing of the online books relating to Mrs Delany:

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Murray’s Handbooks: Victorian Travel

August 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm (books, europe, history, london's landscape, places, travel) (, , , , , , , , , )

In “email-conversation” with Calista a few weeks ago, we got to discussing travel guides and I mentioned those published by Murray – because I remembered it being used in The Ruskins in Normandy: Tour in 1848 with Murray’s Handbook.

So tonight, when looking around Internet Archive, I thought to see what they had for these travel guides.

They were published too late for the travels undertaken by Mary, Charles, Drummond Smith – but I’m sure other members of the family knew of them, perhaps even used them.

I had to post this title page illustration for Murray’s 1851 handbook to “Modern” London – and I invite you to read about the city by following this link: Modern London, Or London as it is.

Had some laughs over these “Hints to Strangers”:

  • “London should be seen between May and July.”
  • “Saturday is the aristocratic day for sight seeing.”
  • “Monday is generally a workman’s holiday.”
  • “Never listen to those who offer ‘smuggled’ cigars in the street.”
  • “Avoid gambling houses or ‘hells’.”
  • “Beware of drinking the unwholesome water furnished to the tanks of houses from the Thames…”

Akkk! Murray’s writes of Portland Place as “a wide monotonous street” – Mrs Smith and Mr Gosling would not be pleased….

Page 32 describes Regent’s Park, a destination Mary mentions often. They loved the Zoological Gardens, visiting often each season.

Page 264 discusses “Langham-place Church” – which was New Church when Mary and Charles married in 1826.

A listing of Murray’s English and Continental Handbooks are found at the end of the book.

Murray’s Handbooks Series @ Internet Archive

 other titles have been digitized by Google

 

 

 

 

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Elizabeth and Langham Christie: a relic of Preston Deanery

August 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm (history, news, people, research) (, , , , , )

A stroll through google brought this unusual “find”:

I must admit that – lookswise – this is not my favorite piece at this 2007 Christie’s auction, but if it once held the clothing of Elizabeth (née Gosling) or Langham Christie, then it holds special place in my heart.

The lot description gives why its provenance dates back to Langham Christie: “the back of the base section with fabric label inscribed ‘Christie Esq.‘ and depository label for (T)ilbury’s, Marylebone, inscribed ‘Langham Christie, Esq. Preston Deanery No 3 Northampton Per Worcester & Stubb Boat‘(?).”

It’s a large piece: 93 1/2 high x 55 1/2 wide x 22 3/4 deep.

* * *

Mary’s elder sister, Elizabeth Gosling was born in 1798. In Mary’s diaries Elizabeth is NEVER named; she is only ever “My Sister“. Mrs Smith confesses in a letter that she had seen the romance blossoming, and she for one wasn’t surprised when Langham  Christie proposed! The couple married in the summer of 1829.

Although Langham eventually inherited Glyndebourne, the couple made their home at Preston Deanery. Their son, William Langham Christie, began the Christie inhabitation of the future “opera-loving” estate.

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UK Literary Tour

August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm (books, jane austen, travel) (, , , , , , , )

Found this on Pinterest – and then hunted up a place to get it. Check out The Literary Gift Company – £12. Jane Austen seems to reside in Gloucestershire more than Hampshire. Oh, well; can you find her? Who on the “map” is your favorite writer? Who is missing?? It’s claimed there’s 188 writers here… Happy Hunting — and reading!

 

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Gosling’s Olympic Gold: Paris 1900

August 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm (entertainment, history, people) (, , , )

Yes, “my” family has OLYMPIC Gold in its past.

As a member of the Upton Park Football Club, William Sullivan Gosling (1869-1952) competed at the Paris Games in 1900 – and walked away with a Gold Medal!

Upton Park beat the French team 4-0. Alas, only two matches were played: Between France and Belgium; Britain and France. How times have changed…

You can read about William, and also the Olympic Teams here: http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/go/william-gosling-1.html

 

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