Where the Duke of York Lived

May 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm (estates) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As mentioned in an early post <fit for a queen> the family of the Duke of York (the future George VI, his wife Elizabeth and daughters Elizabeth and Margaret Rose) inhabited No 145 Piccadilly. The release of THE KING’S SPEECH (with Colin Firth as the Duke and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue) on DVD gives the opportunity of “revisiting” this house (although it no longer exists). Here it is, as depicted in the film:

While the Drummond Smiths lived at No 144 Piccadilly, Drummond’s brother and sister-in-law, the Smith-Burgesses, lived at No 145!

Here are a couple images I’ve managed to unearth of the real “royal residence” at No 145. This first is young little Princess Elizabeth: 

This link is to news reel footage, where the King and Queen are entering then exiting the premises.

Obviously, though, the film crew used some building. And guess which they happened to choose? No. 33 PORTLAND PLACE! The Very Street upon which the Smiths & Goslings once lived! The film has more to show than JUST in the exterior: the Georgian interior AS WELL AS the fabulous consultation rooms of Lionel Logue were filmed at No. 33!


When you see a shot like this, looking down all levels of the staircase, you no longer have to imagine how Charlotte Gosling could fit hundreds of people in for an evening’s party (see this post).

Kate in Norfolk forwarded me a couple of highly interesting links: This first one, an interview with production designer Eve Stewart, discusses the film THE KING’S SPEECH. The second also discusses Logue’s consultation room — and obsesses on that wall (I love the windows!). It also links up the Guardian’s article.

Just search for “33 Portland Place” I had already come across the website for the building. Just marvel at the interiors, as you read about the history of the place. A 2nd website provides a few more photos and info.

Have to wonder: Did anyone realize the 19th century inhabitants of 145 Piccadilly may have visited No. 33 Portland Place??

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An Invitation

March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm (people, places, research) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Just a short note to say “thank you” to those visitors who take the time to read this blog.

I reserve *special thanks* to those with items — diaries, letters, book sources — who’ve contacted me and shared their thoughts, and especially, their items. I’ve also met some people who always manage to bring smiles to my face whenever I hear from them. Such interaction and friendship are more meaningly than I can express.

Seeing search terms on the site statistics, today made me think to tell readers that I have more information than many a time does not hit the blog. These extended families are HUGE – and my main interest covers what is a large chunk of time (1800-1842), but at the same time extends in both directions: children lived into the late Victorian times (and sometimes beyond), as well parents and grandparents bring the research span into the mid-18th century.  A lot of people, a lot of family “lines”, a number of generations… Whew!

But I’m always happy to hear from people, and help in any way that I can. So write if you’re interested in specific people, even if you don’t see them often on the blog.

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Eine kleine “Antient Music”

January 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm (entertainment) (, , , , , , )

In Emma Smith’s diaries, which begin (as far as what is extant) in 1815, she time and again mentions a series of concerts which came under the general heading The Antient Music. Her sister Augusta was an especial fan. So imagine my surprise to see two volumes – one for 1829 and an earlier one from 1791 – dedicated to the programs and participants of these Antient Music concerts!!

Some very familiar names, thanks to the Smiths and Goslings seeing these artists perform — or hiring them for their own soirees:

* Mr W. Knyvett
* Mrs W. Knyvett
* Mr Vaughan
* Miss Stephens

Then there are the very well known, such as “Madame Malibran”!

These concerts were given under the “patronage of His Majesty,” and, in 1829, performed at the New Rooms, Hanover Square. Lists, such as these of performers and subscribers, as always most welcome; for what other printed matter can allow the researcher to look into a world two hundred years in the past? And maybe, just maybe, you find a correct spelling for a name, or a first name for someone’s last name.

For 1829, the year of Mary’s (Lady Smith) earliest diary and the year Emma’s little Cholmeley was born, we see the following familiar names among the subscribers:

* Mr. Gosling
* Miss Charlotte Gosling
* Mrs F. Gregg
* Miss Emily Gregg
* Miss Jessy Gregg
* Miss Harriet Gregg
* Mr. Richard Gosling
* Mrs. Richard Gosling
* Miss Smith

* Miss Jelfe
* Hon. Thomas Kenyon
* Hon. Mrs. Thomas Kenyon
* Miss Charlotte Kenyon
* Miss Kinnaird
* Rev. James Brownlow
* Sir Astley Cooper, Bt.
* Lady Astley Cooper
* Mr. William Courtenay
* Mr. W. Reginald Courtenay
* Mr. T.P. Courtenay
* Miss E. Courtenay
* Mr Capel
* Mrs Capel
* Miss Capel
* Lord Bishop of London
* Miss Neave
* Lord Nepean
* Dowager Countess Poulett
* Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart.
* Lady Pepys
* Mr Pepys
* Mrs Pepys
* Lady Sykes

See the whole list for yourself here; and don’t forget to take a look at the concerts being given that year! For instance, the concert which opened the season (Thursday, 5 March 1829)  under the “direction of His Grace The Archbishop of York, for His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland”. It featured music of Handel, Mozart, Graun, Handel, Geminiani, more Mozart, and a lot more Handel. Included with the words are detailed listings of who sang. It is possible that those programs which generated this book were among those seen in Augusta Smith’s sole sketchbook; Augusta used them as scrap paper! If so, the originals were a heavier card stock. She either used them because of a lack of anything else when the mood to draw struck her, or else she saved them in order to have some scrap. What a wonderful souvenir to unearth online!

As to the 1791 edition, again we see some of the family in attendance; these concerts were performed at the “New Rooms, Tottenham-street”:

* Mr Smith Burges
* Mr. R. Gosling
* Mr. W. Gosling
* Mrs. Gosling
* Mr. F. Gosling
* Mrs. F. Gosling
* Mr D. Smith
* Lady Sykes
* Miss Smith
* Bishop of Winchester

* Mr Houghton
* Mrs Houghton
* Mr. Bramstone
* Mrs. Bramstone
* Mr. Bosanquet
* Mrs Bosanquet
* Lord Brownlow
* Lord Bulkeley
* Lady Hotham
* Miss Hotham
* Sir Lucas Pepys
* The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

An absolute THRILL is to see listed among the performers a certain “Miss Storace” and “Mr. Kelly” — they can only be Nancy Storace and Michael Kelly — two performers who premiered (1784) Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro!!! Madame Mara gets a mention or two in the letters of Mrs Lefroy (Jane Austen’s friend) and Mr Knyvett (presumably the father, Charles Knyvett senior) was among the soloists that year too.

NB: Poor Mozart would of course not see the end of 1791…

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Paint me a picture

June 21, 2008 at 10:49 am (portraits and paintings) (, , )

In corresponding with Kate from Norfolk, the comment came up about a famous artist who reportedly painted the eldest Gosling son. Pity the artist died a couple years before the boy was born… (This artist, however, does have a connection to earlier family members; but that is a story for later).

So I mentioned to Kate that there is one portrait of William-Ellis I did know of, and had actually seen an online image of: Sir William Beechey’s “Master Gosling,” painted c1800 and exhibited in that year.

Beechey had a lengthy connection with the William Gosling family. An old biography (published 1907) of the artist places the Goslings in his studio, sitting for several portraits – parents and children. The diaries of Emma Austen puts her there, visiting the studio in company with them, in 1820. So where are these portraits??

According to the biography by William Roberts, “Master Gosling” was ‘the first of a number of members to sit to Beechey; the other Gosling portraits will be found in the Account Books of 1817, 1820, and 1823.’ According to those account-book pages, the Goslings paid the following:

In 1817 –
Apr. 11  Of Mrs. Gosling (as half), for a half-length of her two daughters and three-quarter of her own     105£  0s.   0d.
Aug. 8   Of Mrs. Gosling (as last payment), for the Miss Goslings, and three-quarter of Mr. W. Gosling       105£  0s.   0d.

1818 –
Apr. 21  Of Mr. Gosling (first half)   26£  5s.  0d.

1820 –
Mar. 26  Of Mrs. Gosling, for Mr. Robert Gosling (last half)   26£  5s.  0d.

1823 –
Feb. 24  Of Mrs. Gosling (as half), for Mr. Bennett Gosling   31£  10s.  0d.

A three-quarter portrait would be one not showing hands (so, head and upper torso); a half-length length – a more costly portrait – would include that much more of the body (typically, everything but the feet!); a full-length, of course, would mean head to foot – as in the portrait of Master Gosling (and was the most expensive to commission).

Therefore, all SEVEN members of the family seem to have sat!

Here is how I read the account books:  A portrait of Mrs Gosling’s two daughters must preclude her own biological daughter, Charlotte (born c1810 and still a child); so the two painted were Mary and her elder sister Elizabeth. If Mrs Gosling paid for a three-quarter portrait of herself, then the three-quarter of the Mr W. Gosling, matching hers as to size, purchased in August was of William Gosling, esq., the father. Oldest children, sons and daughters, were designated Mr or Miss. Thus the eldest son would be Mr Gosling, a younger son Mr Robert or Mr Bennett; the same for the daughters – Miss Gosling would indicate Elizabeth, Miss Mary or Miss Charlotte the younger sisters.

(When the eldest sister married, however, the next eldest took her title. There is an amusing little anecdote about Maria Smith, the baby of the Smith of Suttons family, who obviously had taken umbrage at her sister for writing and addressing the letter MARIA SMITH rather than the now correct MISS SMITH; these little courtesies mattered!!)

It would seem that William-Ellis paid for his own (it is the only one designated ‘of Mr Gosling’).

It is interesting that all three of the boys get portraits of their own; but the two girls share one together. Yet, in this instance, it seems appropriate – and here’s why. In her diaries (and Mary has left a travel diary and seven diaries after her marriage) she never once refers to her sister Elizabeth by name, always she is ‘my sister’. Speaks volumes about the close ties these two shared, doesn’t it?

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