Did Mamma dabble with the Violin?

May 22, 2019 at 5:14 pm (entertainment, history, people) (, , )

The earliest diaries from the Smith family, as well as some of the earliest letters, date to the 1790s. That even-earlier diaries once existed can be extrapolated from written evidence.

I would give my eye teeth for items from the youths of the four Smith Sisters of Stoke Park. Especially from the years before they even moved to this Wiltshire estate….

I have _NO_ reason to think that this “Miss Augusta Smith” is my “Mamma” (ie, the Augusta Smith who married Charles Smith of Suttons in 1798), but it sure gets my antennae twitching: “If only!”

This listing is from the Catalogue of Manuscript Music in the British Museum (1909; vol. III).

Miss Augusta Smith_1784

Of course written for could mean MANY things: a composition for a student to play; a piece to honor a patron; something dashed off in thanks from a musician or composer.

It is possible that the Smiths knew of William Savage; she certainly had a love of listening to music – though, unlike her children, I have no evidence that she played an instrument. I kept finding the year “1774” attached, to this deposit, but seeing the page from the original book, I can see why that happened. I had to discount “1774” because my “Miss Augusta Smith” would have been too young. On the other hand “1784” makes this possible, though (you will concur) SMITH is too common a name to ever be sure.

A bit more of a description (say, daughter of Sarah and Joshua Smith) or some indication of where she lived is the kind of help I mean.

I always think of her as “Mamma,” to differentiate mother from daughter. Her eldest daughter, once also a “Miss Augusta Smith” became Augusta Wilder, or Mrs. Henry Wilder, of Sulham and Purley. Augusta Smith, senior was the third daughter of Sarah Gilbert and Joshua Smith, MP. She came behind Maria (Lady Compton; Lady Northampton, after 1796); and Elizabeth (“Eliza“) (Mrs. William Chute of The Vine/The Vyne); and ahead of Emma.

Born in January 1772, a composition for Miss Augusta Smith is possible. Though is it probable? I’d certainly LIKE to think so!

 

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A Mrs Delany Trio

August 15, 2012 at 9:25 pm (books, history, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Readers might be interested to know what brought about my recent Mrs Delany interest:

I ADORE the title of this book – the way the “sub-title” is inserted in parentheses on the edition I first spotted — and NOT included in the above image, so I’m forced to include this second (Canada) cover image:

Which the eye sees as

Mrs Delany at 72

while recognizing it says

(BEGINS HER LIFE’S WORK)

It’s always a thrill for me, someone in “mid-life”, to remember that others have trod the same path before me: Working on our life’s work out of pleasure, if nothing else.

And that says a lot about Mrs Delany and her flowers – two of which you see depicted on this book’s covers.

I must comment that it was the inclusion of MRS DELANY’s name on the cover that made me stop and look… That, especially, should NOT have gone by the wayside in any redesign….

Molly Peacock describes in her online chapter what it might have been like, sitting by Mrs Delany as she scored and snipped. Made from paper, her “flower mosaicks” look gloriously realistic.

Why did this title intrigue me? I’ve never forgotten reading, in The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, its author (Maria Augusta Trapp) telling a tale about grasping a bell pull to give its bell a ring and shouting out that she wanted to be an author after age 40. Then she was asked if she knew the legend of the bell. No, she said… This spoke to me even before I was 40!

So when I go up to UVM Saturday (remember: no summer classes –> no library open past 5pm at local university!) I’ll also take out titles I’ve flipped through but never borrowed:

This is an exhibition catalogue; you can view more of Mrs Delany’s work at the British Museum.

And the “classic” biography is a must-get.

To READ Mrs Delany’s own words, see my prior post about Mrs Delany’s Letters. Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know of my fascination with letters, diaries, and their resultant publications (which certainly save perusers’ eyesight).

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Mary Queen of Scots – Purchasing History

March 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm (history, jane austen, news) (, , , , , , , )

Breaking news today was about the sale of a letter written by Mary, Queen of Scots! It was sold at auction – at Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, among other items sold from Blair Castle, said to be the oldest continually-inhabited “mansion” in Scotland. Read the story of “The Sick Note Written by Mary Queen of Scots” at The Daily Record.

* * *

Jane Austen had some thoughts about Mary, Queen of Scots! See it here — along with Cassandra’s illustration.

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