A Visit to Aynhoe

January 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm (estates) (, , , , , , , )

Having spent the weekend with Calista from Montreal, I heard MUCH about the travels she and her husband have undertaken in order to visit English estates.

Aynho, pictured at left, is a place few may have heard of; I know of it because of a BOOK!

Lili at Aynhoe: Victorian Life in an English Country House, was published some years ago; written by Elizabeth Cartwright-Hignett (a great-great-grand-daughter, who lived a time at Aynhoe — it sold in 1960), the book presents Lili Cartwright’s drawings of the house, but also it allows glimpses into Lili’s diaries. Oh! for more…

But why this discussion of Aynho (or Aynhoe, I’ve seen it spelled both ways)?

Cathy Kawalek, who kindly visited the New York Public Library to “dust off” History of the Comptons of Compton Wynyates for me, emailed a large section covering the life of the 1st Marquess of Northampton, uncle of Emma Smith; brother-in-law of Eliza Chute of The Vyne.

Imagine my SURPRISE when I read that the Comptons visited Aynhoe! Well, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since the estates are both in Northamptonshire; but a “blast from the past” — since I had owned Lili at Aynhoe for quite some time — always comes as a surprise, doesn’t it?

  • For those wanting more information, check out the Aynho History Society’s website for publications.
  • An interesting little book “find” is an 1892 title called A Descriptive List of The Deer Parks and Paddocks of England, by Joseph Whitaker. Among the parks mentioned is not only Aynhoe (with 100 deer), but also Tring Park (owned then by Lord Rothschild; with 60 deer — and also 25 kangaroos, 14 emus, and more!).
  • Cathy Kawalek has mentioned that she is open to helping other non-NY researchers; contact can be made with Cathy via ArtsResearchNYC [at] yahoo [dot] com. I highly recommend her services, for her knowledge, helpfulness and resourcefulness! It is through such wonderful people that much of my little researches become possible.
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Mozart’s Birthday / Jane Austen Weekend

January 27, 2012 at 11:13 am (books, entertainment, jane austen) (, , , , , , , , , )

Something out of the ordinary this 27 January — while I listen to a lovely Mozart piano concerto, I’m also thinking of this evening’s “treat”: a Hyde Park bed & breakfast weekend centered around the Theme of Emma.

Just last night (thanks to Cathy Kawalek — more on Cathy later!) I was reading Clive Caplan’s biography on Henry Austen as “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother”; and came across a notation that Jane must have used her knowledge of Henry’s thoughts and desires for his military career when it came to the writing of Emma. How so, you may ask… Because Austen put Mr Weston in a certain regiment that was then posted to Yorkshire — where he met his wife and begat his son, Frank Churchill.

Must admit I never really thought about Mr Weston’s earlier exploits much and through what means he might have met his wife. But how fortuitous to read Clive’s comment now, right before our Emma weekend!

More later, for my computer travels with me…

 

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Henry Austen, Banker

January 7, 2012 at 10:06 am (books, history, jane austen, jasna, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Henry Austen, seen in this portrait later in life, after he took holy orders, was once a banker.

In the late 1990s, Clive Caplan wrote two biographical articles for Persuasions on Henry:

          • “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother: The Military Career of Captain Henry Thomas Austen of the Oxfordshire Regiment of Militia, 1793-1801,” Persuasions, 18 (1996): 122-43.
          • “Jane Austen’s Banker Brother: Henry Thomas Austen of Austen & Co., 1801-1816,” Persuasions, 20 (1999): 68-90.

I am especially interested in obtaining information from the later publication:

In the Fall, Iris Lutz, JASNA president, spoke to our JASNA Vermont group Iris was speaking about the estates and homes in Austen’s life. Surprisingly, COTTESBROOKE came up. This was the property of the Langham family. (the link will take you to the Two Teens blog post about that talk and Henry Austen.)

The Langhams’ property figure in my research because of Langham Christie, who married Margaret Elizabeth Gosling; he eventually inherited Glyndebourne (yes, that Christie family…).

Of course all these bankers must have “known” each other — but I’ve never yet come up with definitive evidence of Henry Austen interacting in any way with the Goslings (Goslings & Sharpe) or the Curries (Currie & Co). I once posed the question to Maggie Lane, but the Gosling name was totally unfamiliar to her.

I joined JASNA only a handful of years ago; online databases that include Persuasions go back to 2000 — so just after all those juicy articles about Henry Austen. It is the online versions that the large library I have access to, the Bailey-Howe at UVM (the University of Vermont), has in its “collection.”

What’s a girl to do?

  • If any reader out there — a member of JASNA or just near a big library — can put a finger on the 1999 article, can you peruse it for me, or get me a copy (I know: it IS a lot of pages). {contact information is found on “the author” page}

FEB2012 update: Many thanks to Cathy Kawalek (of ArtsResearchNYC) and Kerri S. for helping to track down “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother”.

MAR2012 update: Thanks — yet again! — to Cathy Kawalek of Arts Research NYC for the second part of Clive Caplan’s wonderful study of Henry Austen.

Reading about Henry’s life-struggles makes me realize yet again that what the Austen literature desparately needs is an all-encompassing AUSTEN FAMILY biography. Alas: no mention of other banking firms, which had been one slim hope I had held. Can’t wait for the Louisville AGM in a few years… for its focus is Living in Jane Austen’s World. I’d love to see some biographical studies – Yeah!

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