Virtual Jane Austen – Cleveland AGM

October 10, 2020 at 9:25 am (books, entertainment, jane austen, jasna) (, , )

Am spending the weekend in a VIRTUAL Cleveland, Ohio – the site of our JASNA (Jane Austen Society of North America) Annual General Meeting. Meeting in person, of course, got canceled back in the spring of 2020.

Last night’s opening featured:

Opening Remarks by JASNA President Liz Philosophos Cooper. She announced that the Virtual Event AGM attracted 1400 participants (a JASNA record, of course) – and gave a special shout-out to one “senior” in Japan, a member for 30 years, attending her first AGM (one of 466 first-timers).

Members learned of the death of a founding member of JASNA, Lorraine Hanaway, her daughter Annie giving a taped interview. I had the pleasure to meet Lorraine, a “neighbor” in New Hampshire at the time, and last saw her at one of the AGMs. She will be missed by many.

We heard a taped address from Chawton’s Jane Austen’s House Museum – new director Lizzie Dunford.

The most intellectually stimulating event was the lengthy “Conversation with Juliet McMaster” – Fascinating insight into a life spent with education, literature and art; as well, an inspection of Austen’s JUVENILIA, the topic of this year’s AGM.

“Entertainment” came in the form of a Special Interest Session that would have (under normal circumstances) been performed at Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Aside from our hostess – who I will come back to – our “Rock Stars” were:

Emma, Lady Hamilton – love interest of Lord Nelson

Frances Burney (Madame d’Arblay) – contemporary novelist

Dora Jordan – actress & love interest of William, Duke of Clarence

The Prince Regent – complete with wine bottle & glass

Lord Byron – poet leading a scandalous life

All hosted (and scripted) by Dolly Parton.

This must be Jocelyn Harris’ _vote_ for Dolly to be inducted (in the future) into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her absence (and that of many WOMEN) was obviously a story back in January 2020. I see their website is experiencing “technical difficulties” – attack of the Janeites? or the fans of Dolly??

The evening ended with a BritBox presentation of the first two episodes of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice – newly “remastered” Here’s a hint as to why nearly everyone raves:

Mr. Darcy: “I beg you…. consent to be my wife.”

The conference continues today and tomorrow – though, being ‘virtual’, participants are able to “attend” as many Break-Out Sessions as they please, over the next 30 days. Special Interest Sessions, Games, even the Emporium are still happening. The one thing missing: Company and Meals. This AGM paves the way for more participants, from around the global (barring time differences for some) for dipping into future *live* AGMs.

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Life & Times of Georgiana Jane Henderson

October 9, 2020 at 12:58 pm (books, diaries, entertainment, history, news) (, , , )

You know that I *LOVE* to hear about new books, but to hear of one from a writer with whom I’ve been in correspondence has to be extra special.

Susan Bennett‘s new book is A Thankless Child: The Life and Times of Georgiana Jane Henderson (1771-1850). Her prior publication, ‘I awleis admired your talent’: The artistic life of Georgiana Jane Henderson (née Keate) (1771-1850) (MA dissertation, published in Germany) also presents aspects in the life and times of Georgiana Keate Henderson.

Bennett A Thankless Child

I first learned about Georgiana five years ago; her diaries mention some Goslings!

In an early email, Susan mentioned a print, based on work by George Keate (Georgiana’s father), of HALL’S LIBRARY, Margate ( click to see it at The British Museum). Mrs. Gosling did have a book by Keate in her library (her book plate being attached). And the names attached to an entry in Georgiana Henderson’s diary all point to Mrs. Gosling (née Elizabeth Houghton), my diarist Mary’s paternal grandmother: “Mrs. Gosling with Mr. and Mrs. Gregg brought Miss Norford from Langley about one o’clock – they left us again at three“. The entry dated: 15 September 1803.

Mrs. Gregg would be Mrs. Gosling’s daughter, the former Maria Gosling, accompanied by her husband, Henry Gregg. Miss (Annabella) Norford shows up twice in Gosling letters, and does seem typically in company with this Mrs. Gosling. Langley was the Gosling’s old family estate. (William Gosling, Mary’s father, much preferred his own estate – Roehampton Grove – to this estate of his parents.)

There is a slim possibility that “Mrs. Gosling’s” is Maria Gregg’s sister-in-law, Eliza (mother of my diarist Mary Gosling), who would live only another three months….

You can imagine how *thrilled* I was to hear of these tidbits!

I’m only now thinking: Miss Norford, friend of Georgiana, must have been visiting the Goslings (at Langley) [that a given] and was perhaps being brought to Georgiana’s home for a stay (so that only Mrs. Gosling & the Greggs departed). A lady did not travel alone, and from what I’ve read of coaching inns and coaching yards during the Georgian period, _I_ would be happy to have company (male or female) for any “change horses” stops.

Of course, it is possible that ALL traveled back to Langley. To know the whereabouts of Annabella Norford may be answered by Susan’s book!

Susan was hoping that the Goslings had perhaps mentioned Mrs. Henderson – but I’ve so far uncovered little “Gosling” archives (especially in comparison to the Smiths). Revisiting old emails makes me wish I could find more, and earlier, items.

Susan was lucky enough to find references to Georgiana Henderson in the superb online diary of Fanny Chapman.

In an early invitation to correspond, Susan Bennett included this vivid description of her research subject:

Georgiana was the only daughter of George Keate, an amateur artist and poet, who was known to most of the artistic and literary circles of the day.  He (and therefore Georgiana) could count David Garrick, Angelica Kauffman, John Russell, Charles James Fox and Robert Adam among their close circle of friends.   Georgiana married John Henderson (also an amateur artist) who was an early patron of J M W Turner and Thomas Girtin.

The diaries I work with are similar to those Susan used as a source: Visits and Visitors. I can’t wait to read her biography of Georgiana Jane Henderson. Buy it thru several sources: Amazon, Amazon.uk [=sites offer a preview of the book], or Lulu.

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Be on the lookout for “Material Lives”

October 3, 2020 at 12:21 pm (books, entertainment, fashion, history) (, , , )

About Material Lives: Women Makers and Consumer Culture in the Eighteenth Century, by Serena Dyer:

“Eighteenth-century women told their life stories through making. With its compelling stories of women’s material experiences and practices, Material Lives offers a new perspective on eighteenth-century production and consumption. Genteel women’s making has traditionally been seen as decorative, trivial and superficial. Yet, their material archives, forged through fabric samples, watercolours, dressed prints and doll’s garments, reveal how women used the material culture of making to record and navigate their lives.

Dyer_Material Lives

Material Lives positions women as ‘makers’ in a consumer society. Through fragments of fabric and paper, Dyer explores an innovative way of accessing the lives of otherwise obscured women. For researchers and students of material culture, dress history, consumption, gender and women’s history, it offers a rich resource to illuminate the power of needles, paintbrushes and scissors.”

From Bloomsbury, the publisher:

List of Illustrations
List of Charts and Tables
Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction: Making Material Lives
Material Life Writing
The Consumer Culture of Making
Four Material Lives

2. Material Accounting: A Sartorial Account Book
Barbara Johnson (1738–1825)
Educating Barbara Johnson
Accounting for Herself
Material Literacy
A Chronicle of Fashion

3. Dress of the Year: Watercolours
Ann Frankland Lewis (1757–1842)
Sartorial Timekeeping and the Fashion Plate
Accomplishment and Creative Practice
Society and Fashionable Display
Selfhood, Emotion and the Mourning Watercolours

4. Adorned in Silk: Dressed Prints
Sabine Winn (1734–1798)
Paper Textiles, Dress and the Dressed Print
Sabine Winn’s Dressed Prints
Print and Making at Nostell

5. Fashions in Miniature: Dolls
Laetitia Powell (1741–1801)
The Powell Dolls
Mimetic Dolls and Miniature Selves
Dolls as Sartorial Social Narrators

6. Conclusion: Material Afterlives

Glossary
Bibliography
Index

What enthuses me the most are the chapters on two women I know well by name. 

Barbara Johnson (see “New Find – Old Book” and “Fashion News, Regency-Style“) produced the lovely “album of styles and fabrics” that covers so many decades of her life, from 1746 up to her death in 1825. The album was photographed during its conservation, a heart-rending tale to hear about (its condition was deteriorating, after its purchase by the Victoria and Albert, which came after its purchase by Colonial Williamsburg (Virginia) was blocked). Don’t we all hope that “we” are proper “caretakers” of items in our possession?

And the chapter on Ann Frankland Lewis must be among the first long-looks at the art (and hopefully life) of this fascinating artist. (See “Ann Lewis fecit” and “Regency Fashion, L.A. Style“.)

“Frankland” as a name is of interest to my research because of a brief mention, by Emma Smith (several years before she became Emma Austen [1828]), of “some” daughters of the Rev. Roger Frankland, a Canon of Wells. The Smiths were great friends with the Archbishop of Bath and Wells, Rev. Beadon, and spent many weeks each year visiting his family. “The Miss Franklands” were musical, and as such came to my attention while working on the book chapter, “Prima la musica: Gentry Daughters at Play – Town, Country, and Continent, 1815-1825” (for the edited volume, Women and Music in Georgian Britain). That I could locate this brother in Ann Frankland Lewis’ family proved hard work. So it’s exciting to wonder what about Lewis’ biography Serena Dyer has been able to locate.

I see that an old 2014 post, “Elite Ladies of the North,” not only mentioned Sabine Winn (chapter 4), but also had located a PODCAST about her by Serena Dyer.

The book Material Lives is due to be published at the end of February 2021, so we’ve a bit of a wait. Dyer has an edited volume – also published by Bloomsbury – just out (in the UK) or coming out (November 2020) in the US: Material Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Nation of Makers, with co-editor Chloe Wigston Smith.

As someone who was “crafty” in her youth (and self-taught), I believe it is about time that scholars take a serious look at women artists as more than “time-fillers of too many leisure hours” and see their work as more than “merely decorative” stuff. I sewed, did needlework, knitted; at one point I loved to paint (by number, I’m afraid); and did several other “crafts.” I enjoyed doing them, and enjoyed wearing the products of my work and keen ability, and I still gaze upon old handiwork – a pillow here, a piece of art on the wall there, old sketches and fading photographs. 

*Listen to a podcast of Dyer talking about her books and interests in dress and consumer culture in general; at Stitcher.

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