Explore Barbara Johnson’s Fashions

December 27, 2020 at 10:44 am (books, diaries, entertainment, fashion, history) (, , , , , , )

Serena Dyer has posted her article, “Barbara Johnson’s Album: Material Literacy and Consumer Practice, 1746-1823,” from Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2019) on her Academia account. This will give readers a taste of her current (edited) volume, Material Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Britain: A National of Makers (co-edited by Chloe Wigston Smith), as well as her upcoming Material Lives: Women Makers and Consumer Culture in the 18th Century.

Barbara Johnson’s book, called in its publication A Lady of Fashion: Barbara Johnson’s Album of Styles and Fabrics, is a title – photographed when it was being conserved – I had long been on the lookout for – but it’s a title that can be harder to find (and pricey). Natalie Rothstein‘s introductory chapters are fascinating. Dyer builds upon this foundation.

According to blog posts, it took me about four years to finally take the plunge and purchase it (2008 to 2012). I see I first blogged about the Album on 27 December 2008 – a prior year’s “today”!

Sewing clothes, but never one who ever looked into the construction of 18th- or 19th-century fashion, I still haven’t delved into this book in a way some friends have done. It’s size is tremendous – analogous to its beginnings as an accounts ledger – and presented as “life-size.” This past summer, when shifting around some tables, chairs, books, it found a new home on the second floor of the house – a bit more accessible, but still put to one side.

Dyer’s reintroduction makes me think to pull the Album off the shelf once again. And I’m waiting for February 2021, and Dyer’s new book (sorry, but the current book is out of my price range).

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TODAY: 9 Lessons & Carols, King’s College

December 24, 2020 at 9:22 am (entertainment, news) (, )

You will find MANY radio stations in the U.S. carrying the annual Nine Lessons and Carols, from King’s College, Cambridge. This year, the covid year, was especially challenging to choirs. How to rehearse, how to perform? Parts of the United Kingdom are under strict “Tier 4” stay-at-home measures; and other areas are expected to move to that status imminently. This year’s concert, pre-recorded a few weeks ago just in case, will fill in for the “Live” broadcast from King’s College Chapel.

You can read about the challenges the Choir faced in 2020 at the New York Times; and listen at WQXR (among others) at 10 AM today (less than one hour).

The Programme is available online via YourClassical.org (44 pages, PDF).

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Jane Austen Society: Reports

December 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm (books, entertainment, history, jane austen, jasna, people) (, , , , )

If you are unfamiliar with Persuasions / Persuasions On-line, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA), (see blog post, “Jane Austen’s Birthday publication“), you may not realize the extent to which Austen Societies in other countries publish Austenian research.

The Jane Austen Society (JAS) in the U.K. publishes an “Annual Report,” and has even collected them into “omnibus” editions over the decades. These editions have been reprinted; and (of course!) are sometimes found in used book stores (and on their websites). I found a decently-priced copy, in Germany if I remember correctly, of the Collected Reports, 1986-1995. It was about that time that I started thinking about “fleshing out” my collection.

For the longest time JAS, unlike JASNA, did not have online availability of the contents of their oldest issues. All that has changed!

JAS Reports have been consistent in providing nuggets of Austen family history, which I of course relish.

Just yesterday, in beginning to read E.J. Clery’s Jane Austen, The Banker’s Sister (which has for too long been in my To Be Read pile), I had reason to find the JAS Annual Report for 2007 – Clery cites an article in that issue on Papermaking (for the Bank of England) and the Portal family, written by Helen Lefroy.

I knew where to look – for I had long ago found the *STASH* of JAS Reports, uploaded to Internet Archive.org. But I never told you, dear Readers, about this *find,* did I?

Internet Archive is the site that also hosts the Austen Family Music books, where you can gaze and study the music copied by various members of the family, including Jane Austen.

Currently, Jane Austen Society Annual Reports include:

  • Collected Reports, 1949-1965
  • Collected Reports, 1966-1975
  • Collected Reports, 1976-1985
  • Collected Reports, 1986-1995
  • Collected Reports, 1996-2000 [includes Index, 1949-2000]
  • Collected Reports, 2001-2005

Then follows the single JAS Annual Report for the years, 2006 through 2018.

I recognize the cover for the 2017 Report – and it reminds me of another piece of (old) Austen “news” that I don’t think I mentioned yet to Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen. I’ll put that on my “To Be Blogged” pile. The curious may click on the picture to be brought to Internet Archive (which should sort the titles by year, so scroll down for later Reports).

 

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“Live” online Performances

December 20, 2020 at 11:19 am (entertainment, news) (, , , , )

Thanks to friends, I have been enjoying weekly concerts – from “across the pond” – played by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Even online RADIO is a boon to me, living in an area where classical music usually is given a single representative.

So, today I will share a few of my *finds* for entertainment.

On the radio – my “go to” has long been KDFC – in San Francisco. You can listen to their live-stream, their Metropolitan Opera broadcasts, and sometimes local opera and music concerts. Three-hours behind the East Coast’s time zone.

Lately, I’ve also been dipping into WQXR – in New York City. There were days (long, loooonnnngg ago), when, on a “good” summer’s night, I could tune in the broadcast on a radio! Now it comes in as if I lived in the metropolitan area. East Coast time zone.

Both radio stations are currently fund-raising via their websites. Both radio stations are “all music – all the time”.

On the theatrical side of “performance” comes a new subscription series by the U.K.’s National Theatre. This past summer, they offered weekly free (and/or for donation) performances of taped-live theater. You can now expect monthly additions, and subscribe for a year or a month or even just one play. Information at National Theatre at Home. Current offers include “12 Months for the cost of 10 Months” – a whole year of “live” performances!

Or, you can join my friends in listening to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – their Winter/Spring 2021 digital season begins on January 6, 2021. Subscribers get access to each concert for 30 days beyond the initial broadcast. One can also obtain “tickets” on a per concert basis — a mere £6. Even paying dollar prices, that’s a bargain of just over US$8. “Live” can be a bit tough, as a 7.30 PM UK concert means 2.30 PM (five hours difference) in the eastern U.S. Thank goodness for the “live/on demand” re-runs.

To go with the Met Opera image (used in a prior, summer, blog post), I’ll include here that the Met still offers a daily-changing Nightly Met Opera stream. They currently have this past week, next week, and even the week following (weeks 40-42) so you can play out what you simply cannot MISS OUT ON SEEING. There are operas during the current schedule from 1982 through 2018, so taken from their entire archive of live theater performances.

I’m excited to see something NEW: Met Stars in Concert — online concerts, for instance Bryn Terfel from Brecon Cathedral [on NOW] or Anna Netrebko in concert in February. $20 for each performance, which remains “on demand” for 14-days.

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Jane Austen Books online

December 18, 2020 at 11:55 am (books, entertainment, news, research, World of Two Teens) (, , , )

I was searching yesterday for Hazel Jones’ latest book, The Other Knight Boys – about the younger sons (ie, rather than the heir, all the “spares”) of Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother.

It was while on the site for Jane Austen Books, that I searched for my own book — they had purchased copies from me at the Louisville JASNA AGM (I gave a paper that year, in 2015). I had always put up information that potential purchasers needed to contact Jane Austen Books — Now I can announce:

Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings, 2008-2015 is available for ONLINE ordering ($18; paperback).

Jane Austen Books is located in Novelty, Ohio, USA.

The Kindle version, Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings, 2008-2013, is still available via Amazon ($3.50).

The Kindle version has a few less “blog posts,” but has some additional items not featured in the book; the book covers two years of further investigation into the Smiths and Goslings.

(Apologies in advance for typos introduced into those late additions.)

Both formats present information on the family of Emma Austen Leigh, which I am researching, and which is based nearly entirely on archival research of primary materials — thus all the posts on LETTERS and DIARIES.

Additional thoughts:

From the blog page “Two Teens on Kindle” — and (dimly mirrored) on the back cover of the book:

When Elizabeth Bennet captured the attention of Pemberley’s wealthy owner Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice so captured the attention of her sixteen-year-old nephew, James Edward Austen, that he concluded a poem of congratulations addressed to his aunt with,

And though Mr. Collins so grateful for all
Will Lady de Bourgh his dear patroness call,
‘Tis to your ingenuity really he owed
His living, his wife, and his humble abode.

The wife chosen by this son of a country clergyman experienced a youth far more stellar than his own, one befitting the wealth a landed-gentleman and Member of Parliament could provide. Emma Smith (1801-1876) and her friend and eventual sister-in-law Mary Gosling (1800-1842), through their personal writings – diaries and letters – have left a legacy of their lives dating from Regency London to early-Victorian England. Two Teens in the Time of Austen reconstructs this extended family’s biography, as well as recounts the chronicles of a Britain at war and on the brink of great change (social, political, industrial, financial).

England rejoiced in the summer of 1814, for the Napoleonic Wars were presumed to be at an end. This was a momentous year for the Smiths of Suttons and the Goslings of Roehampton Grove. Mary Gosling visited Oxford just as these national celebrations ended. Emma Smith’s father had died early in the year, leaving Mrs. Smith a 42-year-old widow: Augusta Smith gave birth to the youngest of her nine children days after her husband’s death. Emma began keeping diaries on 1 January 1815. The girls are, at this date, fourteen and thirteen years old. Mary’s stepmother hosted dazzling London parties; and Emma’s great-aunt hobnobbed with members of the Royal Family. The privileged daughters of gentlemen, their teen years are a mixture of schoolrooms, visits, travels to relatives, stays in London during the “Season”, and trips to Wales, Ireland, and the Continent — in fact, the Goslings visit the site of the Battle of Waterloo and Mary has left her impressions of the war-torn region. Here is a tale worthy of Jane Austen’s pen, as beaux dance and ladies choose their (life) partners. But happiness comes at a price for many.

Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings introduces the people Jane Austen met – like the Chutes of the Vyne, as well as the niece she never lived to welcome into the family: Emma Austen Leigh, whose husband would later publish Recollections of the Early Days of the Vyne Hunt (1865) and A Memoir of Jane Austen (1870; revised, 1871).

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Tales from the Bodleian: Manuscript Diaries

December 17, 2020 at 12:27 pm (diaries, history, travel) (, , , , )

As you might guess, DIARIES and LETTERS have a fascination for me. Sketches and drawings, too. If they’re English, and of a certain date, I begin to wonder: Could it be related to the Smiths and Goslings??

These are NOT related, but the twin tales told of IDENTIFYING these diaries are FASCINATING. And (I can attest to similar searches) very true to life for a researcher.

The earlier (2015) blog post is very Austenian in its title:

The second, by the same author – Mike Webb – was the one I clicked on first because of its drawing of the young lady holding a pail (or a bag?; 2017 blog post)

You will see a TREND here: once “anonymous” diaries that, with some work, have revealed their writers to posterity, 200 years later.

I wish both (or either) were “in print” and available to READ. The Bodleian Blog also makes me wish I were near Oxford, and able to delve in their wonderful archives in person.

 

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Jane Austen’s Birthday publication

December 16, 2020 at 1:03 pm (books, jane austen, jasna, news) (, , )

Persuasions On-line, the journal of the Jane Austen Society of North America, publishes their latest issue on the date of Jane Austen’s birth: December 16th. Today!

So, if you wish to find some “food for thought” as you Toast Miss Austen for her works, check out Volume 41 – free and available to all – Persuasions On-line.

Having attended – virtually and remotely – this year’s AGM on the Austen Juvenilia, participants were able to “attend” for 30-days beyond the actual “live AGM” weekend and listen to MORE breakout sessions than just one per session. We could also go back and re-listen to special interest sessions and plenary talks.

Many of my favorites are now “in print”, including:

  • Alden O’Brien, “What Did the Austen Children Wear and Why? New Trends in British Children’s Clothing, 1760-1800”
  • Mackenzie Sholtz and Kristen Miller Zohn, “‘A Staymaker of Edinburgh’: Corsetry in the Age of Austen”
  • Gillian Dooley, “Juvenile Songs and Lessons: Music Culture in Jane Austen’s Teenage Years”

A section called STAYING AT HOME WITH JANE AUSTEN: READING AND WRITING DURING A PANDEMIC, will help provide entertainment and thoughtful solutions for times of “isolation” and/or lockdown.

The “Miscellany” always includes non-AGM topics and are on point enough this year to include one “Karen” article! (If you’ve seen the U.S. news, you’ll know what a “Karen” represents during this time of “plague”; otherwise, I have to hand you over to google), Sarah Makowski‘s article is entitled, “‘Do You Know Who I Am?’ Lady Catherine de Bough, Jane Austen’s Proto-Karen.”

Two “In Memoriam” articles, both written by Persuasions / Persuasions On-line editor Susan Allen Ford, honor those who were fundamental in forwarding a love for Jane Austen and her work, and life-long devotion to uncovering the trail of Austenian research: Lorraine Hanaway, a JASNA founder; and Deirdre Le Faye, whose name graces so many publications.

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The 13th of December (a poem)

December 13, 2020 at 9:58 am (books, history, people) (, , )

by Anna Jane Douglas Maclean Clephane, included in her book of Plays and Poems (1864):

THE 13TH OF DECEMBER

A day thou wert of gladness

In times of yore;

Thou art a day of sadness

For evermore.

 

Sad thoughts must aye encumber

Her day of birth,

Who locked in mortal slumber

Hath passed from earth.

 

Yet thoughts of her as treasure

Our bosoms store;

A well of painful pleasure

For evermore;

 

Roots with our heart strings twining

Unwrenchable;

Light on our deep souls shining

Unquenchable.

 

As by a mirror doubled,

In each heart’s core

Her image dwells untroubled

For evermore.

 

Of joys the purest, lightest,

Deep griefs are made;

The sun when he shines brightest

Casts darkest shade.

 

Thus we in deep heart-sorrow

Her loss deplore;

Joy from her smile to borrow—

No nevermore.

 

Not so, there will be meeting

For us again,

Where joy’s unmeasured greeting

Includes no pain.

 

When each enfranchised spirit

God’s throne before,

Shall life and love inherit

For evermore.

 

Anna Jane writes, of course, about her sister Margaret, the 2nd Marchioness of Northampton (born Margaret Douglas Maclean Clephane; usually known in this blog as Lady Compton). Margaret died of an aneurysm in April 1830, while abroad in Italy.

I, too, face the birthday of a deceased loved one every December – and find the lines of this poem both sad and comforting. Made more poignant by today being the 13th of December (2020) once again, with its grey skies and one beam of sun breaking through the clouds at an opportune moment of grief and reflection.

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Meet Miss Anna Jane Clephane

December 8, 2020 at 10:49 am (introduction, people, spotlight on, World of Two Teens) (, , , )

Anna Jane Douglas Maclean Clephane was born on 21 May 1793. The announcement of her birth reads, “21. at Kirkness, Mrs Douglas Maclean Clephane of Carslogie, of a daughter.”

Anna Jane died at the home of her nephew the 3rd Marquess of Northampton, at Castle Ashby, 27 January 1860; her burial service was conducted by another nephew, Lord Alwyne Compton, rector of Castle Ashby, on February 1st.

Her birth is often confused with that listed as “1798. 11 [November]. Mrs D. Maclean Clephane of Carslogie, a daughter.” This may be an announcement for a sister (Helen Amelia) who died in April 1803, but I have yet to confirm this.

Mrs. Clephane had three daughters grow to adulthood:

The eldest sister’s birth is found alongside her future sister-in-law in December 1791. Margaret Clephane on the 13th and Lady Elizabeth Compton on the 20th December. Margaret died in Italy, in April 1830. She is buried at Castle Ashby.

The youngest Clephane sister, Wilmina, was born 26 December 1803 (her father, Maj. Gen. William Douglas Maclean Clephane, died in November 1803). She died 9 February 1869. She is found in records under her married name, de Normann. (She had married Wilhelm, Baron de Normann in 1831.) A little portrait of Wilmina was among many at auction (Christie’s) back in October 2005.

I have yet to find a portrait of Anna Jane. I have had access to a number of her (early) letters, written around the time she was “meeting” Lady Elizabeth Compton via the post. A LOT of Anna Jane “sightings” happen once the Smiths meet her in person, in the late 1810s, when she comes to visit Lord and Lady Compton in London.

I have not – so far – come across Anna Jane’s correspondence with (especially) Augusta Smith, Emma’s eldest sister. It is discussed at length in letters to Lady Elizabeth — including that Anna Jane sent Augusta, following strict instructions, an outline so that Augusta could create a silhouette.  Of course, nothing was included with the letter that mentioned this tidbit of information, and I’ve not come across it in Lady Elizabeth’s group of “heads” (which also does not include Lady Elizabeth herself).

Black Out

Augusta Smith (later: Wilder) was well-known for her artistic ability, and kept at least one “book of heads”, though I believe silhouettes in various collections to have been done (at least in part) by Augusta. I chuckle whenever I recall one transcript of a letter, which referred to Augusta’s “book of beads“. Surely a misread.

Wilmina, born at the end of 1803, was still quite young when her sister Margaret married Spencer, Lord Compton (Lady Elizabeth’s brother; cousin to Emma Smith et al.) in the summer of 1815. Anna Jane, on the other hand, was already a young woman. When her new relations wrote their London news, she was resident in Scotland; Margaret had gotten married in Edinburgh. Of course ONE hope was that visitors would come to them, at Torloisk (if not Edinburgh).

Mrs. Clephane was most adamant that she would leave Margaret to settle in with her new family. The Clephanes traveled into England, but only to stay at Harrogate. The ladies, of course, stayed in touch with lots of letters.

The sisters’ girlhood home, Torloisk, on the Isle of Mull, passed from Margaret to her next-to-eldest son. Mrs. Clephane (who died in August 1843) gets some mentions in the diaries of James Robertson (listed, among online diaries I have found, on my blog Georgian Gems, Regency Reads & Victorian Voices). Remaining unmarried, Anna Jane spent much of her life with Margaret’s children, sharing Compton’s – by then the 2nd Marquess of Northampton – Northamptonshire home. I’ve done little beyond collecting and transcribing letters from the later years; I lose sight of Anna Jane.

One superb source for a little about Anna Jane Douglas Mclean Clephane, as a person, is James Robertson’s Journal. In his 15 December 1843 entry, he notes the “better read and better educated” Mrs. Milman (and others), who does not hold a candle to Miss Clephane, “who is an exception to all rule.” If only he had painted a picture of her looks as he so adeptly did for two of her nephews (and dear sweet Miss Macdougall, too).

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Regency England: recent mail

November 30, 2020 at 10:24 am (books, entertainment) (, , )

A bit of a surprise arrived last week, just in time for Thanksgiving: Ian Mortimer’s book, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain.

I had ordered TWO items via eBay — a Christmas Stollen and a book (old; used) that documents the history of a Vermont family in the 19th century. The stollen was there, on the stoop. The book, I assumed, was the cardboard box in the mailbox.

Imagine my disbelief when the book within turned out to be hardcover (not paperback) and BRAND NEW, just released in November/December 2020!

From time to time I _do_ get review copies. One received last year won’t have its review published until 2021 – for JASNA News agreed to host it (with one other “fashion” book). Usually review copies are sent from the publisher, and usually they have marketing paperwork tucked inside. This one came from Amazon — so I asked a couple of friends: “Did you send me…?” (they know I hate them to spend money on me – but they also know my To-Be-Read piles grow, nearly weekly).
Their responses: “Not Me.”

So, logical conclusion: the book came as a review copy, perhaps from a stash sent to Amazon, in order not to clog the Christmas mails.

With Regency Britain, author Ian Mortimer adds to his ranks of Time Traveller’s Guides. Earlier entries are: The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (2008); The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (2010); and The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration England (2017).

Mortimer’s early entries make sense when seeing the other books on his roster. In a blog post about his earliest, entitled, The Greatest Traitor: the Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England, 1327-1330 (2003), Mortimer spins a tale that began with the “similar name” game and ended with a revelatory concluding chapter.

For Regency Britain, Mortimer extends the actual period of “the Regency” in order to discuss the period 1789 through 1830, thereby touching on the French Revolution through to the end of George IV’s reign.

“And like all periods in history, it was an age of many contradictions – where Beethoven’s thundering Fifth Symphony could have its UK premier in the same year that saw Jane Austen craft the delicate sensitivities of Persuasion.”

A book on the larger side (perfect for covid lockdowns as well as gift-giving), it boasts 432 pages; color illustrations; an index; chapter endnotes. Getting some good reviews in the UK press.

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