Miss Meen hits “Jane Austen’s Regency World”

June 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm (books, chutes of the vyne, history, jane austen, research) (, , , , , , , , )

Just thrilled to bits to see the release of the July/August issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine: my article on Margaret Meen is included:

Jane Austen Regency World_8-14

Margaret Meen – believed by some to have been governess to the four Smith sisters of Erle Stoke Park – AKA, Lady Northampton, Mrs Chute, Mrs Smith and Miss Smith – was definitely a painter (on vellum and paper) of botanicals, and a teacher. Including, as the JARW line suggests: to the Royal family of Queen Charlotte and her girls. I truly hope that I’ve uncovered a bit of “life” for this somewhat undiscovered artist — and invite you to seek out a copy of the full-color publication that promises to deliver “EVERYTHING that is happening in the world of Jane Austen“, including this tidbit of Smith & Gosling history.

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Mrs Adams Hears Handel

May 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm (entertainment) (, , , , , )

In putting finishing touches on a talk that links correspondence of Abigail Adams and Jane Austen, I came across this paragraph that now means so much more than it would have a year or so ago, before investigating the lives of the Knyvett family musicians: Abigail Adams attended the 1785 Handel celebrations at Westminster Abbey.

In 1784, the celebrations had as one of its chief singers Charles Knyvett – the musician who young Emma Smith mentions in her diary decades later (10/21/1820):

Mamma Augusta & I left the Vine to go to Heckfield. We found only Mr & Mrs Shaw Lefevre & Mr & Mrs C. Lefevre there – Old Mr Knyvett was asked to meet us, but did not come

In a letter dated 2 Sept 1785, Mrs Adams writes:

“The most powerful effect of music I every experienced, was at Westminster Abbey. The place itself is well calculated to excite solemnity, not only from its ancient and venerable appearance, but from the dignified dust, marble and monuments which it contains. Last year it was filled up with seats, and an organ loft sufficiently large to contain six hundred musicians, which were collected from this and other countries. This year the music was repeated. It is called the celebration of Handel’s music; the sums collected are deposited, and the income is appropriated to the support of decayed musicians. [I just love her word choice here: decayed…] There were five days set apart for the different performances. I was at the piece called the Messiah, and though a guinea a ticket, I am sure I never spent one with more satisfaction. It is impossible to describe to you the solemnity and dignity of the scene…. I was one continued shudder from the beginning to the end of the performance. Nine thousand pounds were collected, by which you may judge of the rage that prevailed for the entertainment.”

And Charles Knvyett? He would be remembered forever and always as “one of the chief singers”. But: Did he also appear in 1785? I’ll have to revisit notes taken for my Regency World article, dig a bit deeper — and keep my fingers crossed.

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La Bella Voce II

March 8, 2010 at 9:39 pm (books, entertainment, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , )

With the publication of Jane Austen’s Regency World Magzine’s article on the Knyvetts, readers with an abiding interest in the family might like to consult some of the sources used in the article — which the magazine had no room to publish. This comes from the original, uncut version of the article ‘There Once Was a Golden Time’: The Knyvett Family Musicians.

In addition to Dictionary of National Biography (1892), Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1906) and New Grove Dictionary (2002), Brown and Stratton, British Musical Biography (1897):

Charles Knyvett, senior: Burke’s Extinct Baronetage (1841); Park, Musical Memoirs (1830); Gentleman’s Magazine (1802, 1808, 1822, 1832).

Charles Knyvett, junior: Smart, Leaves from the Journals (1907); Sainsbury, A Dictionary of Musicians (1824; rep. 1966).

William Knyvett: London Magazine (July-Dec, 1822); An Authentic History of the Coronation of His Majesty (1821); Annual Register (1856).

Deborah Knyvett: Victoria Magazine (1876); Matthew, ‘The Antient Concerts, 1776-1848,’ in Proceedings of the Musical Association (1907); London Magazine (Sept-Dec, 1825); The Quarterly Music Magazine (1818); The Manchester Iris: A Literary and Scientific Miscellany (19 Oct 1822).

Many of these sources are available online at books.google.com. The single most wonderful find of a source is the 1907 article on The Antient Concerts. Reading that I found out why young Belinda had to be smuggled in!

The first part of this post can be found here; anyone wishing to see pictures of the Knyvett quartet, visit the New York Public Library website; the three Knyvett men can also be found at the National Portrait Gallery. Anyone wishing to read the longer version of this article, email me (contact information found under “the author” tab).

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