Being CHEST-DEEP in portraits this week, I was so excited to find two Janine Barchas-related websites. One, a 2012 “work-in-progress” page on the Aphra Behn.Org “interactive journal” (see also ABO’s new website); the other, her up-and-running “WHAT JANE SAW” website.
Readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen will realize (quickly!) that my interest in Austen is only outstripped by my fascination with my SMITH & GOSLING families. What JANE AUSTEN SAW is surely also WHAT THE SMITHS & GOSLINGS SAW!
Emma’s youthful diaries are filled with references to exhibitions; alas, no 1813 diary written by Emma exists (that I know of….). BUT: An 1813 diary exists for Eliza Chute.
Unfortunately, Eliza was less likely to be in London than her sister Augusta Smith, and nothing exists at HRO (Hampshire Record Office) for Mamma for any of the years comprising the decade of the 1810s. Mary Lloyd Austen also has a diary for 1813, but, like Eliza Chute, was even less likely to be in London during “the season”.
If I had been given the nod by JASNA to visit England this summer, my project would have centered around these very diaries! Alas, again, it was not to be. So if anyone in England, near Winchester, wants to pop in, take a look, and tell readers what is or is not listed in these diaries — feel free to comment.
Lady Cunliffe was still alive (died in fall, 1814); and she knew Sir Joshua Reynolds — was painted by him even. She probably visited the exhibition, but so far very little written by her is known to exist. The Gosling/Cunliffe family was well-known to Mrs Piozzi (Hester Thrale); and she lent paintings to this exhibition! Small world…
For now, though, let’s take a viritual tour, circa 1813, in the company of Jane Austen!
Thank you, Charlotte Frost (meet the author yourself, Dear Reader, on Twitter), for reminding me about a meeting that took place in 1790 in which Gouverneur Morris (famous to Americans) noted in his diary a meeting with my Lady Cundliffe (as he calls her) and her daughters, Mary (Mrs Drummond Smith) and Eliza (later: Mrs William Gosling).
I typically put such comments into my “letters” files now; but this was a comment found so early on in the research (it began 7 years ago) that I remembered it having happened — but NOT what the man had written about them (that’s why I BUY books: to have them on the shelf to take down when I want them). In searching out the online book links for Charlotte Frost, I re-read the entry.
“To-day [April 23d (1790)] I dine with my brother, General Morris. The company are a Lady Cundliffe, with her daughters, Mrs. Drummond Smith and Miss Cundliffe; the Marquis of Huntly, Lord Eglinton, General Murry, Mr. Drummond Smith (who, they tell me, is one of the richest commoners in England), and Colonel Morrison of the Guards. After dinner there is a great deal of company collected in the drawing-room, to some of whom I am presented; the Ladies Hays, who are very handsome, Lady Tancred and her sister, and Miss Byron are here, Mr. and Mrs. Montresor. I am particularly presented to Colonel Morrison, who is the quartermaster-general of this kingdom, and whose daughter also is here. She has a fine, expressive countenance, and is, they tell me, of such a romantic turn of mind as to have refused many good offers of marriage because she did not like the men. I have some little conversation with Mrs. Smith after dinner. She appears to have good dispositions for making a friendly connection, as far as one may venture to judge by the glance of the eye. Visit Mrs. Cosway, and find here Lady Townsend, with her daughter-in-law and daughter. The conversation here (as, indeed, everywhere else) turns on the man (or rather monster) who for several days past has amused himself with cutting and wounding women in the streets. One unhappy victim of his inhuman rage is dead. Go from hence to Drury Lane Theatre. The pieces we went to see were not acted, but instead, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Spoiled Child.’ This last is said to have been written by Mrs. Jordan. She plays excellently in it, and so, indeed she does in the principle piece. Two tickets have been given me for the trial of Warren Hastings….” [pp 317-18]
Morris, from just this passage, seems to have had an eye for the ladies, don’t you think?
* * *
My two Cunliffe girls have short histories. Mary, who married Drummond Smith (brother to Joshua Smith – father of Maria, Eliza, Augusta, and Emma Smith – the girls of Erle Stoke Park, Wiltshire), was a new-ish bride. She had married in July 1786. Without a definitive birth date she was born circa 1762; her husband, born in July 1740, was about twenty-two years her senior! At this point in time, I have no real idea how the families met, why Mary Cunliffe and Drummond Smith married. I do know that Mary’s sister, Eliza Cunliffe, became a great friend to all the Smiths at Erle Stoke, though perhaps especially to second daughter Eliza (the future Mrs William Chute, of The Vyne).
It breaks my heart to think of Eliza Gosling, who married banker William soon after friend Eliza married her William (September 1793). She either was or came to be in fragile health. Eliza Chute worried about her having more children, writing that FIVE were enough in her nursery. The fifth Gosling child was my Mary Gosling (born February 1800) – obviously named for her Aunt and Grandmother.
But: Did Mary remember either her mother or her Aunt Mary? In December 1803, Eliza Gosling died. And by the end of February 1804 so had her sister! So it is with awe that I re-read Morris’ comments. This prior Mary Smith was destined never to become LADY SMITH; Drummond received his baronetcy months after her death. (Mary Gosling’s future husband would inherit the title from his great-uncle in 1816.) Simply WONDERFUL to hear that this Mary Smith seemed to have “good dispositions for making a friendly connection”.
NB: I am quite intrigued by his comment about the ‘monster’ on the loose.
I must find out more.
Hmmm… whatever happened to ‘choosy’ Miss Morrison?
Thought I’d share this wonderful website, pointing out the clothing information — but mention that visitors should look more fully at ALL the items on offer at Colonial Williamsburg’s history.org website:
This shows the array of items you can investigate: from portraits through materials. I dressed a young lady of the gentry! from stockings to pocket to cap and dress. It was fun – you can find it by clicking on “Dressing the Part“.
Now, you might be thinking “What does colonial-era clothing have to do with Two Teens in the Time of Austen?” Certainly, neither Mary nor Emma would have worn a gown like that above — but Lady Cunliffe certainly would have been familiar with the dress of this young lady. For those who wonder about Lady Cunliffe, Mary’s maternal grandmother, you can read a prior post by clicking on her portrait:
Lady Cunliffe in her portrait of 1761, painted by Joshua Reynolds.
* * *
two book recommendation:
The Dress of the People, John Styles (Yale U Press)
What Clothes Reveal, Linda Baumgarten (Yale U Press)
read my review of Styles’ book at JASNA
read about Styles’ upcoming Williamsburg 2013 Exhibit & Symposium:
Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens
Some days — after spending all day on the computer at work — I spend all evening on the computer. A research project, such as Smith&Gosling, is exceptionally dependent on FINDING sources. One way is to wait for people to contact me; and I am GRATEFUL for those who have done so. The other way is to search-search-search. Selling sites for letters; library catalogues; published books and their invaluable bibliographies. It was a published book that set me on scent of the letters of young Drummond Smith (Emma’s third brother); the author had cited them and I tracked down the owner. That was four years ago.
So last night I was searching and searching. And somehow turned up the holdings for Mary Hamilton (1756-1816) at the John Rylands University Library.
Mary Hamilton (married in June 1785 to John Dickenson) was a royal governess; friend to Fanny Burney, Joshua Reynolds, the ladies of the Bluestocking circle. How I long to hear more about the content of her sixteen diaries and thousands of letters. Why? Lady Cunliffe (Mary Gosling’s maternal grandmother, who lived until 1814) was in company with many of these same people.
Did Mary Hamilton encounter Lady Cunliffe, her daughters Mary and Eliza?
Although there are internet stories about the sale (via Sotheby’s) and the denial of export to the US (I’m not sure which Library had purchased the archive; I rather suspect the Houghton at Harvard) and the subsequent matching price by John Rylands University Library, I find only veiled hints that scholars are doing research among Mary’s papers, but no hint that there is any plan afoot for the PUBLICATION of her papers. Ah! that would be news! I *love* full printings, big books, multiple volumes. But perhaps that is too much to hope for in this day and age… Especially when academic presses charge so much for the slimmest of books.
Mary Hamilton is being described as a “courtier and diarist” and many headlines call her The Female Pepys! (So doesn’t she deserve the Pepys treatment: to have her full writings published?!)
A quotation writes of Mary’s “keen zest for life, and her intense interest in everything pertaining to it — books, languages, art, travel, politics, people.” Ah! for a Mary Hamilton in my social circle!
Mary was niece to Sir William Hamilton and his wife, Lady Hamilton (the former Emma Hart); she “inadvertently ensnared the heart of the teenage Prince of Wales” while sub-governess to his sisters; and in January 1783 she settled in at 27 Clarges St, off Piccadilly. London, in the 1780s, was the scene for many in the generation prior to Mary and Emma — the grandparent generation, as I often call them.
The biggest “hint” I have about Lady Cunliffe’s social movements is the book Sir Joshua Reynolds: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings (Yale 2000). David Mannings has taken note of Sir Joshua’s notebooks: “Lady Cunliffe’s name appears almost every year in Reynolds Pocket Books 1777-89 [yes, I AM assuming this is the correct Lady Cunliffe, and not one of her relatives], usually at eight or nine o’clock, apparently in the evening, on one occasion with a note: ‘Cards & supper.’ Sometimes she arrives with Mrs Vesey, Mrs Shipley or Mrs Boscowen and it is clear these are social calls.” [p156]
I do have evidence that she and the girls knew Sir Joshua, and had run into James Boswell — a letter exists between the two men!
There are sixteen diaries (beginning mid-1776 to 1797; not fully consecutive; the bulk covers 1784); thousands of letters; other manuscripts.
It is in the letters from the Royal Princesses that we see Mary Hamilton addressed as “Dear Hammy”. Those “love letters” from the Prince of Wales are also extant. How exciting! Mary Hamilton also has ties to another Mary: Mary Delany, of The Paper Garden fame! Small-small world.
Vanessa Thorpe, in a 2006 article in The Observer, wrote:
“Fortunately when Hamilton began writing her diary she followed the good advice of her friend Lady Charlotte Finch, the head royal governess, who urged: ‘In your journal pray do not forget particulars about yourself.’ As a result her entries give ‘a remarkably complete picture of the day-to-day lives and preoccupations of fashionable and cultivated 18th-century Londoners,’ said the Museum, Libraries and Archives Council’s government adviser, Dr Harris. Especially interesting to social historians is an unpublished 10-page entry detailing a theft in Hamilton’s household and a quarrel between two servants.”
There is SO MUCH here, that I can only skim the surface in a short blog post. I will end with a BBC radio interview (a short listen: only nine minutes), discussing the importance of the Mary Hamilton Papers.
Is THIS the face of Mary Hamilton?
This certainly points up the need to check, double-check, and even triple-check information.
Yesterday, I devoured Hester: The Remarkable Life of Dr Johnson’s ‘Dear Mistress’, a new acquisition. Imagine my surprise to see Mrs Thrale in Brighton (not the surprising part), seeking help from her friend and attorney, Charles Scrase.
Now the Scrase Dickins have a long history, according to the Smith&Gosling letters and diaries I’ve seen, of residing in Brighton. Surely this Charles Scrase was a relation!
I’ve many volumes relating to the biography and papers of Hester Thrale / Hester Piozzi, as you may read in this post on my Ladies of Llangollen site. Her letter describing Lady Cunliffe’s anguish over the deaths of her two daughters (Eliza Gosling, my Mary’s mother, in December 1803; and Mary Smith, wife of Drummond Smith, in February 1804) is included in the Piozzi Letters. Thraliana mentions Mrs Drummond Smith, but so little else about the family. Yet it couldn’t simply be “gossip” that Hester passed on, she seemed to know Lady Cunliffe. Yet another straggling thread, to be taken up and sewn into the fabric of this family….
So when I read that Hester had sought out help — and achieved it — from Mr Charles Scrase, I was ballyhooing!
Taking up Mary’s Hyde’s excellent book The Thrales of Streatham Park, which, in publishing Hester’s “Children’s Book,” touches on the era of Mr Thrale’s business problems and Hester’s seeking out Mr Scrase’s help and advice, I read the following:
“The transaction was handled by Charles Scrase, who had been Ralph Thrale’s lawyer, a family friend whom Thrale had known all his life, and whom Mrs. Thrale had come to like very much. He was a single man of sixty…”
A single man??! So not a forebear to Charles Scrase Dickins.
But the Brighton connection…; the very name ‘Scrase’…
I kept reading into the evening, but dug no more into the life of Mr Scrase — until this morning.
It IS the same man – maternal grandfather to Charles Dickins (my Charles Scrase Dickins’ father), who bequeathed his estate, and the name of Scrase.
You can read about the family in the Sussex Archeological Collections (1855). Charles Scrase was an attorney at law, baptised in 1709 (Hyde confuses his brother’s baptism in 1707 for his own). He married Sarah Turner in 1742, and had two daughters: Sarah and Elizabeth. Elizabeth married William Smith, but died without issue. Sarah Scrase married Anthony Dickins. Among their children: Charles Dickins, husband to Elizabeth Devall (a name also spelled several ways) and father to Charles Scrase Dickins.
The Dickins married in 1792, the year grandfather Scrase died. But look what the editors of Fanny Burney’s Journals and Letters has to say in reference to Elizabeth Dickins: “daughter of Mrs. Thrale’s friend and adviser Charles Scrase (1709-92) of Brighton and wife of Anthony Dickins (c1729-94)”. Fanny Burney — close friend in the late 1770s and early 1780s to Mrs Thrale has made mention of Elizabeth Dickins! Alas, my only copy of Burney’s diaries and letters is a paperback selection, with no mention of Mr Scrase or Mrs Dickins.
Now I wonder a little less about how Hester Thrale / Hester Piozzi came to know the Cunliffe family. Yes, the Cunliffes knew Joshua Reynolds; yes, they’d met James Boswell; yes, Lady Cunliffe moved in the circle of the Bluestockings – but now the Scrase thread is weaving through their fabric slightly more boldly. More to come!
* * *
You can read about Fanny Burney’s comments regarding Mrs Dickens (sorry, Charlie!) at Project Gutenberg (1891 edition):
and the 1840s/1850s edition at Internet Archive:
- volume 1 (1778-80)
- volume 2 (1781-86)
- volume 3 (1786-87)
- volume 4 (1788-89)
- volume 5 (1789-93)
- volume 6 (1793-1812)
- volume 7 (1813-1840)
all Internet Archives Burney listings
photo of Streatham Park, at Thrale.com
I have been thinking of letters and diaries these last couple of weeks. Some diaries are in the 1810s; others propel me forward to the 1840s; and the letters have been as early as the 1790s!
Today I want to make a special appeal to anyone who might have knowledge of letters written by or to Susannah Smith, the wife of Thomas Smith of Bersted Lodge.
Susannah and Thomas married in 1800; Thomas was a brother of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park, so he was Augusta (Mamma) Smith’s Uncle and therefore a great-uncle to my Emma.
This close-up is from a miniature that recently sold at auction. How can you resist this face?!?
Susannah had a twin-sister: Arabella, Countess of Mayo. She became a lady-in-waiting.
Knowing well that LETTERS were the bread-and-butter of life then, I suspect Susannah’s letters, at the very least to and from her sister, but probably also to others in the Smith’s extended family, must exist. Mrs Thomas Smith was of the generation who visited Tring Park to stay with Mr and Mrs Drummond Smith – and also visit Roehampton, where resided Eliza Gosling (Mrs William Gosling), sister to Mary, Mrs Drummond Smith. How wonderful it would be to read comments – even slightly negative ones! – about my Smiths & Goslings.
Even hints to possible whereabouts of some correspondence would be welcome! Published sources as much as manuscript sources.
* * *
UPDATE: it was stupid of me not to include more information on Susannah’s sister and brother-in-law. The Earl of Mayo had the familial name of BOURKE. Some places associated with the family include Naas and Palmerstown. The Praed family were also related to the Shore family, which produced the delightful publication The Journal of Emily Shore.
No, not Eliza Chute and Jane Austen (although, it definitely is the case, as well). My “degrees of separation” are with a totally different “author” — one who never would have thought of herself as being in print.
One of the slim profferings (only three! my apologies for being so slack) on my little book blog GEORGIAN GEMS, REGENCY READS & VICTORIAN VOICES is a book entitled The Complete Diaries of a Cotswold Parson — these being the diaries of Francis Edward Witts.
I was reviewing a letter, written in August 1800, from Eliza Chute to her best friend Eliza Gosling, when a desire to read through the (heavily-edited) transcription of Eliza Chute’s 1800 diary overtook me.
Gosh! what lives these people lead — especially when they came up to Town (ie, London). I paid more attention to Eliza’s writings while in London than while back at The Vyne. Why? She visited all the other people in London — her sister Augusta Smith; Maria’s sister-in-law Lady Frances Compton, just removing to Chelsea; her parents Joshua and Sarah Smith at Great George Street — where that notorious view of St Margaret’s abutting Westminster Abbey may be viewed:
(Until seeing this photo, I never quite realized the “scene” behind Jane Austin was two towers of two buildings: now it made sense!)
Thrilling for me are Eliza’s visits to Eliza and William Gosling, as well as Lady Cunliffe (Eliza’s mother) — and her other daughter Mary. Mary was Mrs Drummond Smith — and therefore aunt to Eliza Chute!
- view portraits of Eliza Chute, Lady Cunliffe, and Mrs Drummond Smith on this blog’s Portraits page
On 20 April 1800, Eliza noted a visit to a woman I transcribed as “Ly Elehos” – a name that, during a later reread (ie, without the original diary as reference), I flagged as fairly improbable. This reading it dawned on me that I KNEW who this woman was, not Lady Elehos but correctly transcribed as a possessive (though the original is probably without the apostrophe): “went out admitted to Ly Elcho’s”
Now here was a familiar name, from the Witts diaries! Susan Tracy Keck, related to Francis Witts’ mother (who has her own diaries – more about that momentarily), married and now named Lady Elcho, is mentioned again and again. And Eliza Chute knew them well enough to visit! She should: the Kecks and Chutes were related –> see the Chute family website at Ancestry.
Gosh! small world.
But BIG opportunity.
The “Complete” Cotswold series is (when completed) TEN volumes for Francis Witts and five volumes for Mrs Witts. The tenth volume for Francis is a volume of Notes, IDs, Index, &c. The publisher, Amberley Books, is on volume 8 (I have vols. 1 and 5); but poor Mrs Witts is in a holding pattern: her series is still only ONE volume. Groan…
Eliza, later in the year, then mentions this interesting phrase: “Paid a long visit to Ld Elcho’s who was going to Scotland in a few days”
Undoubtedly the couple were departing London for Scotland to visit the Witts family — for the Witts, in debt, were at the beginning of their “nomadic” years. [UPDATE: with further reading I find my assumption is incorrect: the Witts left Edinburgh in 1798; they were abroad in 1800.]
So the big question — without the Index: Did the Witts ever mention Eliza and/or William Chute? And: Did the Witts at all know Eliza and William Gosling, especially when they were installed in Cheltenham, where the Witts too could be found.
New reasons for perusing “old” (sitting on my self) books. Hurry up, Amberley, we need more Agnes Witts!!
A kind friend sent a screen shot of the backside of the Byrne Portrait:
The “M” is curious: almost looks like a “tail” was added to the beginning stroke. Miss is not written as I might have expected: with the double-s written as an Esszet (as I call it after having had German lessons). Here is Mary Gosling / Lady Smith’s diary from 1829, citing the name Miss de Grey (her step-mother’s sister), with the double-s I expected:
Is is possible that the Miss was added? The one thing against that notion is that Eliza Chute (for instance) would have referred to her formally: Miss Austin would have been Cassandra; Miss Jane (or J.) Austin would have indicated the younger unmarried daughter. Eliza’s capital “M” typically began at the top of the left side, with a slight curl before the decent of the downstroke.
Eliza Chute’s capital “J” typically were shorter on the top, longer on the bottom (the opposite of the letter seen above). Her word-ending “e” typically was closed, as in Mary’s “de” above.
AUSTEN, on the other hand, could be akin to the way Eliza noted the name in her 1799 diary, reproduced in Tomalin’s biography Jane Austen: A Life.
My first thought was a shaky hand (possibly because of infirmity?).
Inconclusive conclusion, for I’ve no one about whom I would say, “This is so-and-so’s hand.”
* * *
Charlotte Frost, author of Sir William Knighton: Regency Physician, has sent me an informative series of “thoughts & reactions” on viewing the program (thanks, Charlotte!), so there will be more to come.
Because the Chutes of The Vyne (or Vine) are so well-known, I’ve made little mention of them in this blog. Obviously, there are diaries missing in the Hampshire Record Office series, including the one which Paula Byrne thinks the “crucial” year: 1814.
Dear Blog Reader: If you’ve a diary, quite probably kept in a pocket book (typically red in color, but I remember one green-covered book) entitled THE DAILY JOURNAL, OR, Gentleman’s, Merchants’s and Tradesman’s Complete Annual Accompt Book — these were a series of pre-printed diaries, with left-side available for memoranda and the right-side kept for accounts (debits and credits), but sometimes not used for that purpose — and you recognize some of these names, please-please-please contact me! (see Author, at right, for contact info.)
I make no claim to “world authority,” as Paula Byrne’s tweet claims, but I certainly have a deep interest in Eliza and all the family. So allow me to lay out a few words about Miss Eliza Smith of Erle Stoke Park and Mrs William Chute of The Vyne:
Gwyneth Dunstan, a former steward connected to The Vyne, was someone I contacted after finding notice of her talk, on 16 July 2009, at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke. Her talk was entitled, “Eliza Chute: A Gentlewoman in local society in Jane Austen’s Day”. It is from her talk’s poster that this silhouette of Eliza Chute was posted on this site, on the Portraits page:
The same appears in A Day in the Country; as companion silhouette for William Chute exists, the set must have been made prior to 1824 (when William died).
I bring up Lady Cunliffe — mother to Eliza Cunliffe, who, only a few days after Eliza Smith married William Chute, married William Gosling (she eventually gave birth to my diarist, Mary Gosling) — because so much of Eliza Chute’s early “history” is tied up with her BFF Eliza Gosling. Lady Cunliffe and her daughters were known to James Boswell, who was a friend to the likes of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mrs Thrale, and Samuel Johnson. Boswell wrote to Reynolds about Lady C and her daughters…
I hate to leave readers dangling, but it’s been a long day, I’m tired…. So more tomorrow!
In 1793, young Eliza Smith (Eliza Chute as she would become in October) is writing in her diary. She is in Great George St, London, her father’s residence:
27 January “…Out in the morning. Admitted at L:y Arden’s Mrs Jelfe & L:y Cunliffe… Farquhar came to Fanny We read together 2 vol. of the Benevolent Quixote a novel Alone I began Mad:e de Sévigné’s letters & read Pope’s Moral essays”
My favorite mentions in this entry are Lady Cunliffe — who was mother to Eliza and Mary Cunliffe, the future mother and aunt of my Mary Gosling; and of Madame de Sévigné — whose letters I have read with great interest. Madame’s old Paris home is now the Musee Carnavalet, which, alas, I appreciated more for her past presence than for its value as a history of Paris museum. (The Wikipedia entry has a link to some evocative photos!)
Eliza Chute’s own London home, in Great George Street, was a former home of another national museum: the “infant” National Portrait Gallery. See details (and some wonderful pictures of this demolished residence) at British History Online.
Surfing, I found mention of a Sotheby’s sale — 7 June 2006 — which had this miniature (by George Engleheart) of the 1st Marquess of Northampton:
[Note how much it looks like the miniature held in Philadelphia!]
The truly s-a-d part: the Sotheby’s catalogue has only THIS image although the reverse of this miniature is also of interest to this blog; as well, a SECOND miniature was sold as part of this lot (#304). [I can also say, take a look at lot 307 — which is a gorgeous miniature of the two Compton children, cousins to the Smith of Suttons children; but I say little about that one here because I had found that piece long ago…]
Anyway, the catalogue has this to say of the Marquess’ miniature:
“DESCRIPTION he with powdered hair en queue , wearing a blue coat, yellow waistcoat and a pleated jabot, sky background, within a plaited hair border, the reverse a portrait of his mother-in-law: Mrs Joshua Smith by Mrs Anne Mee circa 1795, with powdered and curled hair, wearing a white gown, sky background, gold frame.”
ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!! to see the description and NOT the portrait just kills me!
The amazing thing (the more I think about this piece) is that the two miniatures are done by two different artists. At some point I can only imagine that Maria (the Marchioness), set two portraits – one of her husband and one of her mother – in one “frame”. The HAIR seems to be two different colors (which must have been something to plait…) and must be from two different people: husband and wife? daughter and mother? I include below the Philadelphia miniature of the Marquess, so the hair might be compared:
EXCEPTIONALLY blond here; and obviously NOT the exact same picture (although also by Engleheart).
Sotheby’s gave a reference, and I’ve found the book on books.google – George Engleheart, 1750-1829: miniature painter to George III. Check out some of the other sitters: I see LADY CUNLIFFE, surely Mary, the “relict” of Sir Ellis (the year painted 1782, so without a first name, it’s impossible to know for sure from this one source, but my find of Mary being sold in a 1980 auction it MUST be the same piece). And there is mega-mention of the GOSLING family! Oh my gosh, look at them all:
under 1785: Miss Gosling [could this be William’s sister, the future Mrs Gregg?]
under 1787: Mr Gosling
under 1788: Mrs Gosling
under 1790: Mrs Gosling, Sen.
under 1793: Mr Gosling
under 1805: Mr Gosling
Oh! this is maddening! no first names, only dates of marriages to guess who “Mrs Gosling Senior” might have been. Another KILLER!
At the back of the book, there is an index of miniatures and their owners (in 1902!), and there we see SOME of the first names: a Mrs RODWELL, of Eaton Square possessed those of FRANCIS and BARBARA GOSLING. But that only accounts for TWO out of SIX miniatures! Because of the dates one might guess this pair to be those painted in 1787 and 1788 (Francis Gosling II married Barbara Baker in 1777).
Mrs Gosling, Sen. I would all along guess to be William’s mother, the former Miss Houghton; but that might just be a “hopeful” guess…
Either of the other two could be William — or some other Gosling. Maddening! Maddening…
There are various Christie’s (though I cannot claim the Rev. Mr Christie to be of this family), various Colebrookes (ditto the idea that probably not all are relatives to Sir George Colebrooke).
Also maddening is that the Anne Mee miniature of Sarah Smith gets so little attention! If anyone has any picture of this work (yes, someday I will contact Sotheby’s to see what THEY have), do contact me.
Mrs Mee has several “little biographies” in this link (a Notes & Queries), and includes comments by none other than Algernon Graves!
To finish this post, I just comment on the second “missing” portrait, part of Lot 304:
“and another miniature of his wife Maria, Marchioness of Northampton, circa 1795, with powered and piled hair, wearing a white dress, cloud and sky background, cracked, gold frame, glazed hair reverse”
This last is also (I believe; swear I saw it somewhere) by Mrs Mee.