Wedding Day of the Dauphin

April 26, 2015 at 11:36 am (entertainment, europe, history) (, , , )

Am getting some good feedback about the Thames Panorama post! It is an exquisite “find” isn’t it?!?

While working on looking for a FRENCH Marriage in 1821, I came across another site, quite “glossy”, which I also invite Two Teens readers to dip into:

versailles centuries

Searching for “wedding” and “versailles”, as you can see, brought up the Wedding of the Dauphin Louis and Marie-Antoinette. Bit more regal a wedding than the plebeian one _I_ was searching about. Always of interest, though, because of my love of Austria – homeland (should I say Heimat) of Maria Antonia, daughter of Maria Theresia, the Empress under whom Mozart lived (though she was “not a fan” of his…).

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FABULOUS Thames Trip (online)

April 24, 2015 at 9:57 am (london's landscape, places, portraits and paintings, research, travel) (, , , , )

Last night, searching for biographical information about the Sharpe family, as well as trying to RE-find a book on London Bankers (which I had had to interlibrary loan, once upon a time… Thanks, Internet!!), I came across this WONDERFULLY evocative Trip down (or up) the Thames.

This is what I first stumbled upon, notice of Rothbury House “now” [in 1829] occupied by “Benjamin Sharpe, a wealthy banker, and his family.” There were at least TWO Benjamin Sharpe partners at Goslings & Sharpe (not sure how much they overlapped) – father and son.


I hadn’t noticed last night that the image darkens everything EXCEPT the dwelling being considered. (VERY useful.) What _I_ noticed was the FABULOUS “painting” of the villas and woods and scenes that I could “sail” past. Like this Chiswick vista,


I strongly recommend the website and project, Panorama of the Thames. A digitized 1829 panorama from London to Richmond, you can catch a whole ride on the river (press the “restart” button on the screen), or dip in at any point you wish to see (press the “Back to River Map” button). Historians will appreciate the Georgian London tour. ALL travellers and London-fans will thoroughly enjoy the 2014 panorama in photos! Although it’s hard not to lament when one sees side-by-side Battersea Church surrounded by trees and Battersea Church overtaken by tower blocks!

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Family of Benjamin Sharpe

April 23, 2015 at 10:01 pm (goslings and sharpe, history, news, people, portraits and paintings) (, , )

There are some AMAZING items in auctions. Some past ones have unearthed miniatures, letters, even a copy of Drummond Smith’s Sicily diary. Some auction houses are helpful; others are totally dismissive. Which is a great pity. Still, the images are free! And although the original image from the auction house was rather poor, I found an alternative site – and wanted to give everyone the opportunity of seeing what I found just last night.

The original auction took place in early 2013. These are silhouettes of the SHARPE family, which included William Gosling’s banking partner, Benjamin Sharpe — taken circa 1819! He was the “Sharpe” in the banking firm of Goslings & Sharpe.

sharpe family

Here’s the description:

  • “A collection of ten silhouettes relating to the Sharpe family of London bankers and comprising: Mrs Isabella Beetham [artist] – Oval portrait of a young woman wearing a lace bonnet, verso with Mrs Beetham’s trade label….and faintly inscribed Mrs Sharpe.”
  • “another of a young boy or girl with long hair”
  • “Attributed to Mrs Bull [artist] – Oval portrait of Mrs Sharpe wearing an elaborate hat, verso inscribed and dated 1788″
  • “two oval portraits of gentlemen, one inscribed to verso J.R. Sharpe”
  • “A group of four portraits of the children of Benjamin and Ann Sharpe, each with white highlights to their blue coloured clothing, each verso dated March 1823 and with respective script, Benjamin Sharpe aged 10 Years 4 Months born 16 November 1812, Elizabeth Isabella Sharpe aged 8 Years 3 Months born 9 December 1814, William Francis Sharpe aged 6 Years 7 Months born 31st August 1816 and John Charles Sharpe aged 4 Years 8 Months born 14 July 1818″
  • “Portrait of Benjamin Sharpe, inscribed to verso Gosling and Sharp (sic), B. Sharpe 1819
  • “an oval pencil miniature of Ann Sharpe, wife of Benjamin Sharpe”

sharpe family_backsides

IMAGINE: people Mary and her family actually knew!! So fascinating a find!

Estimate was £1000 to £1500; results only go back as far as September 2013, so I do not know for what price they actually sold.

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“Complexity & Comedy” – Jane Austen names Names

April 22, 2015 at 8:35 pm (books, jane austen) (, , )

A blog reader, Rachel, gave me a heads-up about a book SHE’s enthusiastic to take a look at, after reading a laudatory Telegraph review: Margaret Doody, Jane Austen’s Names: Riddles, Persons, Places.

Only today a co-worker ask what I had studied in college. I could feel the “huh?” question when I said that one of my areas of study was Geography. Historical Geography, I could have said to clarify. Along that line is a study of Place Names! So I’m with Rachel in wanting to know more about this book.


Quite frankly _I_ find many “indications” of people and places related to my Smiths & Goslings… So part of me would be intrigued to see what correlations Doody has found – and, as a writer, I want to see how she lays out her theories. The preeminent draw for me to Matters of Fact in Jane Austen by Janine Barchas was the stories behind the names. I’m not sure, from the Telegraph‘s brief review, if Doody goes into the logic behind the (possible) choices in the same manner. BUT: as I’ve not see the book, I can’t really say.

Interesting that Doody believes Austen found amusement in the name “Fanny” (ie, Fanny Price) – for I have heard the “hidden” meaning of Fanny in the UK today – whereas here in the States a ‘fanny’ is a rather polite reference to one’s “posterior”. And yet I have a FANNY in my Smith family tree – so I tend to give a little less credence to the amusement of the name.

And, as someone who has studied place names, I will hold my opinion and hope the reviewer is a bit more cavalier in the discussion than the original author. For instance, is it the reviewer or the author who puts Martin Luther’s birthplace as Mansfeld?

Would to love to hear from blog readers who have the book!

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April 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm (books, entertainment) (, )

Twice in all the many letters I have (so far) amassed, there comes the phrase GAZETTED, including the youthful Lord Northampton (1st Marquess; Emma’s “Uncle Northampton”). I don’t know WHY, but I never put two-and-two together and equated The London Gazette (a newspaper) with the act of BEING Gazetted!

Dumb me…

So finding the wikipedia mention of the word and its source proved a revelation. As did the funny little ditty, which I copy here and invite you to read more about here. I suppose I could say that two hundred (and MORE) years ago, this could be what happened if you became financially strapped, but dependent upon your original financial situation. The first stanza of the wikipedia speaks to me – with the farmer tending the fields, the wife milking (and undoubtedly gathering eggs from the coop, too), the daughter learning to spin and probably weave, and the boy at odd-chores. But I’ve found a different second stanza, which I rather like better.

(There’s also a third variation; a fourth; and more that I’ll leave you to explore.)

Man to the plough;
Wife to the cow;
Girl to the yarn;
Boy to the barn;
And your rent will be netted.

But man tally-ho;
Miss at piano;
Boy Greek and Latin;
Wife silk and satin;
And you’ll soon be Gazetted.

AT_US_Southwold Bitter LABEL_AW

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Hester Wheeler, The Vyne and “Sense & Sensibility”

April 4, 2015 at 5:43 pm (chutes of the vyne, diaries, history, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , )

As promised, I’ve posted an *all new* and rather lengthy article on Hester Wheeler. By the end, you will not only be familiar with Hester’s history, you’ll also SEE her face! For a portrait has been located!

Digging deeper into the background of someone tangential to the Smiths has proved rewarding and also a bit frustrating! I’ve come to the conclusion that my two Carolines — Caroline Austen (Edward’s younger sister) and Caroline Wiggett Workman (the Chutes’ adopted niece, at The Vyne) — were “challenged” when recollecting. Until further evidence comes forth, some points about Hester Wheeler will simply remain “cloudy”.


The above abode is The Vine – not in Hampshire, but in Dundee Scotland. And yet it does have a relationship to The Vyne near Basingstoke. This home, certainly built to “honor” the Hampshire estate, once belonged to George Duncan, MP. If you read the article, you will see why he and his “Georgian” home is important to the later history of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

I DO WISH that the Jane Austen Society Reports article by Anne Hardy was still available online. If anyone can pinpoint its later history (it showed up online because it hadn’t made the print edition), let me know. This snippet from “Women Writers Through The Ages” forum will have to give a flavor of the original, which I used as a jumping-off-point for my article, “Uncovering the Face of Hester Wheeler“.

For another (quick) look at the Duncan monument, see the video discussed in the post about the Dundee Howff. It begins at the minute mark 25.38.

[I, of course, disagree about WHY Hester is not buried under the name DUNCAN!!]

I invite anyone with further information — on Hester; the Marshalls; Eliza Chute’s diaries, Edward Austen’s interactions with George Duncan &c — to contact me (see About the Author for my email address). I’d dearly love to solve some of the “mysteries” the two Carolines have created.

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