I Spy: Lady M

October 4, 2018 at 8:39 pm (books, Uncategorized) (, , )

Always I am intrigued by a new book, and when this one popped onto my screen I was very interested:

Lady M

It’s not a book I’ve ordered yet, but the subject – Viscountess Melbourne (thus, the Lady M. of the title!), and the time period covered (1751 to 1818) are too tempting to stay away long. Must admit, I’m always hopeful (and usually disappointed) that I will find it locally and get to have it NOW rather than waiting for the mail.

And what a fetching cover portrait!

The subject is Elizabeth Milbanke (she was aunt to Byron’s wife Annabella Milbanke), later Lady Melbourne; watchers of the TV series Victoria will recall the young Queen Victoria calling Elizabeth’s son “Lord M.”

Read some REVIEWS:

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Brighton Pavilion

September 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm (british royalty, entertainment, history, travel) (, , , )

I invite you to watch an informative video (little over 6-minutes long) on an Evening at the Brighton Pavilion in 1823 at Rachel Knowles‘ site “Regency History”: A Litter of Cupolas

brighton pavilion

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Sir William Knighton now appearing on Weebly

June 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm (books, british royalty, history) (, , , , , )

Frost_Knighton

Author Charlotte Frost recently announced that her book on Sir William Knighton, entitled Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician, now has its own website! Read reviews, buy the book. I wait with great anticipation for her “outtakes” section. Sir William being Uncle to my slew of Seymour siblings: Richard Seymour, Sir John Culme Seymour, Frances Seymour, Dora Seymour.

You can read about Charlotte Frost on this two-part interview (links below) conducted with her not long after she informed TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN that her Knighton biography existed. It was then, and continues to be, thrilling to hear about all aspects of this author’s historical investigations.

You, too, can be immersed in the world of Prinny / George, The Prince of Wales / George IV that Charlotte Frost has been uncovering.

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Prinny’s Tailor

April 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm (books, british royalty, fashion, history, news, people) (, , , , , , )

Charlotte Frost (you will find fascinating items via her Twitter feed!) mentioned to me a wonderful WordPress blog on Louis Bazalgette (1750-1830), tailor to George The Prince of Wales.

additional items to peruse on the same subject:

Author Charles Bazalgette has been researching his ancestor for over fifteen years – turning up (among other items) original bank records — alas: with Coutts, rather than Goslings & Sharpe.

prinnys_taylor

as a P.S., you can read Charles Bazalgette’s review of Charlotte Frost’s biography of Sir William Knighton — who was uncle to Smith&Gosling in-laws Richard Seymour (husband to Fanny Smith) and Frances Seymour (wife to Spencer Smith).

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Regency with Worsley

December 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm (british royalty, fashion, history, jane austen, london's landscape, people, places, travel) (, , , , , , , )

Worsley_EleganceLucy Worsley in a three-part BBC production.

The series is Elegance & Decadence: The Age of the Regency.

*Warts and All: Portrait of A Prince

*Developing the Regency Brand

*The Many and the Few: A Divided Decade

Join Worsley at Kew – Devizes – the Dulwich Picture Gallery – Beau Brummel’s dressing room – Brighton – Waterloo. A real “look” at Regency people, places, and things.

Including, a bird’s eye view of All Souls, Langham Place — extremely important to the history of the Smiths & Goslings:

all souls_langham place

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In Conversation with Charlotte Frost

April 16, 2011 at 9:59 am (books, estates, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Writer Charlotte Frost, whose biography of Sir William Knighton, bart will be of interest to those desiring a good read about Regency-era England, is our guest. She’s talking about her book, her research experiences, and her interest in Knighton and his family. Join us!

Q: Is there a tale behind your interest in Sir William Knighton?

Charlotte Frost: Yes, but I’m afraid it’s not especially worthy or uplifting. I had never heard of Knighton until the then owners of his Blendworth home commissioned a new garden, and I was asked to help with research. We discovered that it was Knighton’s son who laid out the grounds but, in the process, I realised that much of what had been written about his father (‘my’ Knighton) was flawed. With just average care and attention I could do better. And, although Knighton had almost fallen out of history, in late Georgian England he was a man to be reckoned with. He was overdue for a new biography, and I wasn’t going to let him slip through my fingers.

Q: Have you a favorite “find” — something unusual, or satisfying — that you uncovered; something you wish you had uncovered?

CF: It was especially pleasing to find documents created before Knighton became famous, when no one had a motive to distort the information. As for information I wished I’d uncovered, we need to know more about Knighton’s wife, Dorothea. How did Knighton meet her? Did her family have reservations about him? Did she secretly yearn to be recognised as an artist? Do any more of her paintings survive?

Q: Readers tend to think books just happen; how long did your research take? how long the writing phase? the publishing phase?

CF: It was one thing to accumulate research but quite another to impose order on it, so I took an MA to acquire some academic backbone. After that I knew exactly what I wanted. I set out the whole book in note form in a Word table and just worked through it. As the manuscript neared completion I started submitting proposals and sample chapters, but after a few months I realised that if I wanted the book published, I would have to self publish. At first I was disappointed not to be accepted by a mainstream publisher, but now I’m delighted that things worked out as they did. My publishers, Authors OnLine, have treated me like royalty. Nothing has been too much trouble for them.

Q: Did you find the Knighton Memoir a help, a hindrance, a bit of both?

CF: The Memoir‘s chronology is misleading because the author — Dorothea, by then Knighton’s widow — was more interested in the contents of the letters she selected for publication than the dates on which they were written. And the Memoir is easy to criticise because it contains what Dorothea wanted us to know, not what we’d like to know. But once I realised that each letter was there for a reason, the Memoir became my invaluable friend.

Q: As a biographer, did you make a conscious choice to present Knighton’s story without resorting to a great deal of letter quotes (ie, from the Memoir)?

CF: Yes. This is a good read, not an academic text where I need to present evidence as though my life depended on it. On a very few occasions I have used Knighton’s own words because I could add nothing useful to them, but otherwise my job was to analyse the letters, not repeat them.

Q: As fellow writers, we both know you sometimes sacrifice sections for the good of the narrative; was there any story, observation, account that you wish you could have kept?

CF: I applied a ‘two strikes and you’re in’ rule. This meant that I omitted several deaths among Knighton’s extended family that had no bearing on the narrative, but included trivial items that had later consequences. Knighton and his family would rightly have considered my omissions a distortion, and been upset by them. I also omitted the Blendworth earthquake of 1834 which came at an especially bad time for Knighton and his family and troubled everyone in the vicinity, but which was irrelevant to the narrative. On a lighter note, I was sad to lose the tea kettle that Knighton received from his former tutor, the surgeon Astley Cooper.

Q: Were illustrations easy to track down?

CF: The illustrations in the book are mostly ones that I came across by chance, and which struck me as more succinct than any written descriptions I could come up with. I’m not good at working with images. I get sidetracked by notes on the back, and miss vital information in the image itself.

Q: What was it like to do research at the Royal Archives?

CF: A privilege, and unlike any other archive. Researchers have to be accompanied at all times — yes, even to the loo — which I envisaged would feel regimented, but in practice it meant that we joined the archivists for lunch and were included in their routine. We were all made welcome. I wonder who’s sitting at my little table now, and what they’re researching?

* * *

We’ll leave Ms. Frost in the Royal Archives for now…

Part II will appear shortly. In the meantime, I invite you to read about her book, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician. Also, search this blog for more on the book, Sir William, and how he relates to the Smiths & Goslings.

We invite reader participation! Feel free to post your own questions or comments for Charlotte Frost here.

NB: this was part 1; click here for part 2

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Sir William Knighton at Carlton House

April 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In “conversation” with author CHARLOTTE FROST, whose biography on Sir William Knighton is on bookstore shelves now, she wrote the following comment about Mrs Gosling’s ball:

“No Sir William and Lady Knighton at Mrs Gosling’s Ball! Knighton was once spotted at the Children’s Ball at Carlton House, but unaccompanied by any of his children.”

The one caveat I might have — given that the guests numbered over 200 persons and the newspaper reported so few of those guests — is, if Sir William and Lady Knighton were in town that May of 1816 I wouldn’t wonder that they were present. Why? The Goslings had their own “royal” connections. But, for now, we can only surmise…

To get back to Charlotte Frost—

Searching for Sir William information, I came across this little tidbit:

9th December Friends of Havant Museum

5 months ago on The Mayor of Havant
Tonight I had been invited to the Friends of Havant Museum Christmas Meeting at The Spring. As the Mayor of Havant I automatically become a Patron for my Mayoral Year. There was a very interesting speaker Miss Charlotte Frost who gave a talk entitled A courtier’s virtuous retirement; Sir William Knighton at Blendworth 1820-1836.
 
Lucky were those in the audience that evening!
 
And lucky will be readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen: We’ll be “in conversation” with Ms. Frost in my next posting! In the meantime, take a look at her new biography: Sir William Knighton: The strange Career of a Regency Physician.
 
You can obtain a copy through authorsonline (1) e-book or (2) paperback; also available via Amazon.co.uk. If you like to support independent booksellers, why not order through my favorite in Nantwich, England: Nantwich Bookshop!

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