Emma’s “London Season,” 1816

September 12, 2013 at 1:24 am (diaries, entertainment, history, london's landscape, research) (, , , , , , , , )

sisters

Among the fascinating insights in Emma’s diary, are the “delights” of a London Season. I picked out some of the festivities mentioned in the Season during 1816 to write about — and to records as a YouTube video. It’s also a video I’ve uploaded to my Amazon page. The text originally published in JASNA News.

Some Highlights:

  • Soirees & Concerts
  • attending Drury Lane (and Jane Austen writing about Kean)
  • painting with Margaret Meen (tutor to Queen Charlotte and the princesses)
  • the Antient Music concert series
  • teas & parties
  • Grand Party at No. 5 Portland Place [inactive link; site taken down]
  • wedding of Princess Charlotte of Wales to Prince Leopold
  • Cosi fan tutte, with Madame Fodor

grand party

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Regency London

September 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm (books, fashion, london's landscape) (, , , , , , , )

Gotta love it when you’re reading a novel and suddenly you are transported back in time.

I have made mention before that Jane Austen’ s novels are a great source for “life as lived” by people like the Smiths and Goslings. Never mind that Emma Smith later (1828) married James Edward Austen, Jane’s nephew!

Anyway, in preparation for the JASNA AGM, I’ve been re-reading Sense and Sensibility — which was published 200 years ago (1811-2011) — and came across a couple of passages that seem to breath “life” into similar scenes that must really have happened. Recalling my post of Mrs Gosling’s party, it’s just thrilling to read about Marianne and Elinor:

They arrived in due time at the place of destination, and as soon as the string of carriages before them would allow, alighted, ascended the stairs, heard their names announced form one landing-place to another in an audible voice, and entered a room splendidly lit up, quite full of company, and insufferably hot. When they had paid their tribute of politeness by curtseying to the lady of the house, they were permitted to mingle in the crowd, and take their share of the heat and inconvenience, to which their arrival must necessarily add. “

Augusta Smith (Emma’s eldest sister) spoke of the press of people when she went to court to be presented; this passage from Sense and Sensibility ably targets the “wonder” of one’s arrival — but also what awaited in rooms filled with hundreds of people!

Read about Mrs Gosling’s parties here.

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“Dearly Beloved” – Royal Wedding circa 1816

April 29, 2011 at 7:46 am (british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

In the papers, in January 1816, this announcement:

“It is rumoured among the Court Circles that a marriage is agreed on between the Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince De Cobourg.”

Come May the papers could say, “The Royal marriage continues fixed for Thursday, at Carlton House — the ceremony to take place in the evening, after a grand entertainment, to which 140 are invited.

Mr. Satterfield, linen-draper to their Majesties, is said to have presented the Princess Charlotte with a dress of Manchester manufacture; and Miss Harrison, confectioner to the Princess, has also presented her with a large bride cake, beautifully ornamented with arms, &c. — both were graciously accepted.

No less than three artists at one time were taking likenesses of the Princess Caroline on Thursday, as her Royal Highness sat at Cranbourne Lodge, viz. Rosenberg, sen. and jun. taking her profile and miniature, and Turnerelli modelling her bust.

Prince Leopold arrived at Windsor on the 22d, and continued there the whole week in close attention to the Queen, Princesses, and more particularly to his intended bridge. –Prince Leopold left Windsor Castle on Monday, and was met at Turnham Green by several carriages and officers of the Regent’s household, who conducted him to Clarence House, in the Stable Yard, where he was received in state by the Ministers, &c. &c. who were invited to dine with him the following day.”

On the same page as some Royal news, this insert about the Hon. Charlotte Gosling: “We have authority to state, that Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball in Portland-place, which was to have been on Friday, the 3d of May, is to take place on Thursday, the 2d.” Surely, then, this was some ball related to the royal wedding!

In Emma’s diary is this snippet: “Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper”.

Of this “very splendid Ball and Supper” The Morning Post called Charlotte “that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world” and termed No. 5 Portland Place a “superb mansion decorated with flowers and exotic plants.” “Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.”

The day before the wedding “Prince Leopold returned to Clarence House, where after partaking of some refreshment, he went out in a private carriage attended by Sir Robert Gardner, and rode in the Parks. His Serene Highness got out of the carriage and walked in Hyde Park, without being recognized by any person except the Marquis of Anglesea, who was driving in his curricle, and stopped and spoke to his Serene Highness. On his return to Clarence House he was received with acclamations by a crowd collected round the house; he afterwards continued to appear frequently at the window of the balcony on the first floor, to gratify the curiosity of the spectators, till seven o’lock, when he retired to dinner, at which he entertained the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers.”

“The dinner was served up in the dining parlour, in a very elegant and splendid manner. The table was decorated with a very brilliant plateau, and delicately white ornaments. The illumination of the room continued to attract the multitude, but they behaved very orderly. Great part of the populace were drawn away at four o’clock to Cumberland House, in consequence of the arrival of the Prince Regent… The Regent remained there till near six, when he was received with loud cheering by the populace.

Great numbers of Noblemen and Gentlemen resorted to Clarence House during the day, to make their respectful inquiries. A large assemblage of rank and fashion, to the amount of several hundreds, also paid their respects to the Princess Charlotte at Warwick House.”

The dress comes up for mention next:

“Tuesday last was the day appointed for the inspection of her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte’s wedding suits, &c. which were executed by Mrs. Triaud, Bolton-street, in a style, peculiarly elegant, and appropriately splendid for the occasion, when her Majesty, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, the Princesses, and all the Illustrious Personages present, were pleased to express their highest approbation of the exquisite taste and magnificence display in the various designs. We shall to-morrow, present to our readers a full description of this truly elegant portion of the Royal marriage preparations.–”

from the BBC: read about today’s wedding
watch: Five Royal Wedding Dresses

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