Zoffany’s Daughter

February 27, 2018 at 8:37 am (books, people, portraits and paintings) (, , )


A reader of my Ladies of Llangollen blog brought to my attention a new book published in Australia and the UK: Zoffany’s Daughter: Love and Treachery on a Small Island, by Prof. Stephen Foster. She described it as, “quite unusual, as it combines History, Fact, and Fiction.”

zoffanys-daughter

The book’s website gives an enticing introduction: “2nd July 1825: Cecilia Zoffany, daughter of a famous artist, flees to the island of Guernsey with her two young daughters, one of them disguised as a boy. Alone and distressed, the beautiful stranger seeks the help of locals in a desperate attempt to retain the custody of her children. Her estranged husband, a London clergyman, follows close behind.

Cecilia Horne is the second daughter of famed artist, Johan Zoffany. Born in 1780, she married the Rev. Thomas Horne on 27 June 1799; Zoffany painted a portrait of his father (another Rev. Thomas Horne). After eight children, the couple separated in 1821. Of course, at the time, British law gave custody of children to the father.

  • read a review, at ANZ LitLovers LitBlog
  • the book’s Amazon.uk page
  • The Ladies Monthly Museum magazine, features news of the trial of “Mrs. Cecilia Zoffany, wife of Mr. Horne”
  • Investigate the “Rice Portrait,” possibly illustrating the young Jane Austen, which was once believed to have been painted by Zoffany
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5 Comments

  1. Stephen Foster said,

    Delighted to see reference to my book Zoffany’s Daughter: love and treachery on a small island. While it should interest anyone interested in Jane Austen and her times – and more generally the history of childhood and child custody issues, at the moment it can only be purchased in the US through Australian and UK publishers. You can read the introduction at http://www.zoffanysdaughter.com.
    Did Cecilia Horne (Zoffany’s daughter) meet the Ladies of Llangollen? There’s no proof that she did – but having walked, as she must have done, up the hill past Plas Newydd, I’d be surprised if she didn’t – and that’s a part of my story about finding the truth in the past.

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Hi Stephen; good to hear from you. I’ll take a second review my post; I think I “picked” Amazon.UK because the shipping to the States is fairly quick. (So says someone in the EASTERN part of the US!)

      As to whether Cecilia Horne “met” the Ladies of Llangollen… The woman who brought your book to my attention mentioned her because of a document with the initials, “C.H.” – this likely would indicate Caroline Hamilton, of the “Hamwood Papers”.

      The Ladies – Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler – were rather picky about whom they met. All would need to seek “permission”; some got only to walk the grounds; others were given entrance to the downstairs of the house (but the Ladies stayed upstairs); others, of course, did meet them.

      It was this hierarchy that let me know the family of my research – William Gosling and family – were quite special. They not only met the Ladies, but were _shown_ around the grounds of Plas Newydd, AND they stayed together for several hours.

      One certainly did NOT approach the house, knock at the door, and gain entry. And they would be quite affronted to see a stranger just wandering around outside. My blog on the Ladies of Llangollen, in setting out comments by visitors (some included in published books), makes apparent all manners of “welcome” (and “not welcome”).

      If she sent up a note, explaining who she was (I can imagine the daughter of Zoffany would have piqued their interest), and asked if a visit was convenient, she might have gained at least entry to the grounds, if not a brief ‘hello’.

      The Smiths of Suttons have a Horne connection, but I’ve been unable to connect Cecilia’s Horne in-laws to those related to the Smiths (through the Gilberts of Antigua). Just not enough information on either side.

      Thanks for writing,
      Kelly

      • fostersg said,

        Hi Kelly

        I commented on your blog as below, but might have lost it, so resend – please ignore one or the other.

        Stephen

        Many thanks for your quick response, Kelly – and apologies for this slow one, delayed by a broken arm.

        I’m careful in my book Zoffany’s Daughter to make it clear that a meeting between Cecilia Horne (Zoffany) and the Ladies is pure speculation. I do wonder though what drew Cecilia to Llangollen. I know of no family or other connection. Had the vale become known as a place of retreat from the cares of the world – and if so, had the Ladies helped make it so? More specifically, why was Cecilia living in Trevor Ucha, yet buried in Pontfadog, villages on either side of Llangollen? If she walked between the two, she would certainly have passed Plas Newyyd, as I did a few years back (managing to lose my way in the process, but happily pointed in the right direction by a farmer shepherding his flock). That doesn’t mean that the Ladies invited her in for a drink!

        If Zoffany’s Daughter ever makes it to the screen, the Ladies will surely become part of the plot – and any meeting with Cecilia will acquire authenticity by being part of ‘a true story’. And who am I to say with confidence that a meeting with the Ladies did not in fact take place?

        All the best

        Stephen

         

         

        _ZOFFANY’S DAUGHTER: LOVE AND TREACHERY ON A SMALL ISLAND_

        A BOOK ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY, PATRIARCHY,

        AND FINDING TRUTH IN THE PAST 

         

        CONTACT: INFO@ZOFFANYSDAUGHTER.COM

        NOW AVAILABLE AT HTTPS://WWW.ZOFFANYSDAUGHTER.COM [1]

      • Janeite Kelly said,

        Hi, Stephen – sorry to hear of the broken arm! harder to type with only one hand…

        (I think both messages work in tandem; so have retained both. This one awaited moderation b/c you used different contact information.)

        I also have a Ladies of Llangollen blog – they, really, are the “why” behind finding my own research project — about which this blog (Two Teens in the Time of Austen) tells tales. And last night posted about the “finding aid” now up at Duke University – a LOT of letters from Sarah Ponsonby!

        Llangollen was certainly en route for anyone crossing England towards Ireland (very similar to today’s rail passengers going to Holyhead); Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler seemed to welcome visitors from far and wide, so while Llangollen itself – quite picturesque – is a good stopping off place, it was also possible to stop and visit, especially if already known to the Ladies.

        And that would be the point at which _some_ visitors stumbled. There was certainly a protocol they preferred to have followed (ie, ask their permission). There was at least one writer, who was decidedly snippy about his rebuff.

        One thing I’ve noticed, people travelled – far distances, too – and Wales was a drawing card. So, while I don’t think Llangollen was a refuge place, in the general sense, I do believe it was “at the crossroads” and saw a good amount of traffic.

        There are certainly holes in the narrative of the Ladies. As I mentioned to the woman who told me about your book, Have you looked through The Hamwood Papers? I actually found an early Smith couple, part of my research! Except for the fact that I _knew_ who was being discussed, they would have remained any other couple named “Smith”. As you know where Cecilia lived, maybe neighbors turn up in the diaries of Eleanor or the letters of Sarah. I do think they would have been “attracted” to Cecilia’s background and story; and there seem more invitations than rebuffs by them.

        Are you still conducting research into Cecilia’s life? Any further plans for more about her, or have you moved on to other research?

        k

      • fostersg said,

        Hi Kelly

        I confess that my research into the Ladies was relatively superficial, as I was careful not to devote too much time to what might be classified as wishful thinking. My local university library has the usual publications, including a microform the Adam Matthew collection of letters, which I pursued but concluded were unpromising, so left it at that.

        While I’m not following the Ladies any further, past experience tells me that books have an afterlife – so I’ll remain hopeful of discovering a convincing explanation of why Cecilia Horne ‘escaped’ to Llangollen – and in the meantime, will continue to suspect that the Ladies were part of the attraction.

        So I’ll be keeping an eager eye on your blogs!

        All the best

        Stephen

         

        _ZOFFANY’S DAUGHTER: LOVE AND TREACHERY ON A SMALL ISLAND_

        A BOOK ABOUT CHILD CUSTODY, PATRIARCHY,

        AND FINDING TRUTH IN THE PAST 

         

        CONTACT: INFO@ZOFFANYSDAUGHTER.COM

        NOW AVAILABLE AT HTTPS://WWW.ZOFFANYSDAUGHTER.COM [1]

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