Charlotte Bridgeman’s Journals

August 13, 2013 at 11:47 pm (diaries, news, people, research) (, , , , , )

The link “OUR TEAM” tells how the journals — three of them, from the years 1848 to the beginning of 1857 — came into the hands of the transcribers. Philip and Marianne van Dael even located an earlier journal at the Birmingham University!

To give a slice of Lady Charlotte’s life, this is from the entry for 3 June 1848:

“The Fremantle’s also played & sang. Enjoyed it much & stayed till about 12. When we came home we were much alarmed to hear that Grandmama had set herself on fire & was much burnt. We drove immediately to her lodgings & learnt then the particulars from Lucy & Miss Baker who had gone there immediately on hearing it. She did it about 9 ock. while arranging some flowers in a glass, she set fire to her cap & collar, & the curtains of the room. Her neck & hands are dreadfully burnt & the side of her face….”

Poor Grandmama lived until the 17th; one of her doctors was Benjamin Brodie! Small world.

Indeed, it’s the smallness that brought me to this website.

I’m DYING to see if there are more mentions of Lady Elizabeth, or her family — but the “search” must still be “under construction”, of even this entry wasn’t called up:

Weston   1850, November 9

George came again to luncheon on his way back to Willey for Sunday. He had walked all the way from Newport, as the letter had never come in to which he asked for some pony to meet him at the station. Miss Brook called. Lord John Manners came & Mr. & Lady Elizabeth Dickens & a son, Mr. W. Dickens. Music.

1850 is a bit late for me, but this CHARMING scene of Lady Elizabeth makes the *find* precious to me:

Weston 1850, November 14

A cold fine frosty day. In the morning Mary & I went to call on Mrs. Wakefield & were accompanied in our walk by Edmund & Mr. W. Dickens. In the afternoon Lucy & Mary rode with Edmund & Mr. W. Dickens & Mr. & Lady E. Dickens, Lady B., Letty & I drove to Lilleshall Abbey again, for Lady Elizabeth to take the sketch of it….

The “Mr W. Dickens” is their son, William-Drummond, born in 1832

Find more on Lady Elizabeth on this site by clicking the link(s) above [or, the WordCloud at right); read Lady Charlotte’s Journal by clicking on the photo below.

lady charlotte bridgeman

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the Shades of Pemberley…

June 8, 2013 at 11:37 am (books, entertainment, fashion, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Among the preeminent cutters of silhouettes stands Auguste Edouart; and it was while searching for something completely different that I came across this wonderful little book from 1921, Ancestors in Silhouette, cut by August [sic] Edouart. Illustrative Notes and Biographical Sketches by Mrs F. Nevill Jackson. Mrs F. Nevill Jackson, as you can see, being ID’ed as Emily Jackson.

Mrs Jackson had her hands on the “duplicate” books of Edouart; it seems that when he cut a silhouette, he kept a duplicate, and ID’ed it in his sitters’ books! I was *THRILLED* to find the New York Historical Society’s “finding guide” for the Emily Jackson Photograph Collection of Édouart’s American Silhouette Portraits… until I mentally-backed-up and re-read the title: AMERICAN silhouette portraits. Oh, dear… So what has happened to her collection of Edouart’s ENGLISH Silhouette Portraits?

Why, you might ask, do I care?

While I am still combing through the list at the back of the book (I’m up to “N”), look at what I’ve uncovered:

Silhouettes by Auguste Edouart (arranged by date):

Rev. Henry Wilder, Purley Hall, Reading (London, 21 Mar 1829)

Mrs Austen, 6, Portland Place (London, 3 Apr 1829)
Rev. J.E Austen, 6, Portland Place (London, 3 Apr 1829)

Sir Charles Smith, 6, Portland Place (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Lady Smith (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Baby Miss Smith (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Miss Smith, Portland Place (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Langham Christie, Esq. No. 2, Cumberland St, Portman Sq (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Chas. Dickins, Esq. (London, 4 Apr 1829)
Lady Eliz. Dickins (London, 4 Apr 1829)

Chas. Cunliffe Smith (London, 9 Apr 1829)
Drummond Smith, Esq. (London, 9 Apr 1829)

Spencer Smith, Esq. (London, 10 Apr 1829)
Miss Gosling, 6, Portland Place (London, 10 Apr 1829) [sic: 5, Portland Place]

Chas. Wm. Christie, Esq., No. 2 Cumberland St, Portman Sq (London, 20 May 1829)

Rev. Sir John Seymour, Bart., St Peter’s Cathedral (2 ports.) (Gloucester, 1 Nov 1836)
Lady John Seymour (Gloucester, 1 Nov 1836)
Master Michael Seymour (Gloucester, 1 Nov 1836)

Henry Wilder, soon to be wed to Augusta Smith (“Miss Smith” of Portland place who sits on the 4th; they married on April 8, 1829), leads the pack, visiting Edouart in March. Mrs Austen and the Rev. J.E. Austen (id’ed incorrectly by Jackson, or else a printer’s error, as I.E. Austen), then appeared — and Emma actually notes this visit!

Just look how many visited Edouart on the following day: Charles and Mary, their baby Mimi — little Charles (“Chas. Cunliffe”) visits a few days later with his uncle Drummond; Augusta, Langham Christie, and the Dickins, another newly-married couple (February, 1829).

Charles, of all people, mentions this visit; Mary is silent about it, commenting only on the health of “baby” (Mimi) — and the acceptance of her sister Elizabeth Gosling of Langham Christie’s proposal of marriage! Yes, Langham visited Edouart on the very day he proposed! That may be why she then visits Edouart – in company with Spencer Smith, six days later.

Then, pulling up the rear, is Langham’s brother, Charles Christie.

A big gap of time, and a little activity that I simply must mention, in 1836: the family of the Rev. Sir John Seymour, bart: husband, wife and young son.

  • But WHERE are these silhouettes — I’d even settle for (if such ever existed) Emily Jackson’s photographic supplements! So a brief plea here; anyone with ANY knowledge of a stash of Edouart silhouettes, please let me know. Keeping fingers crossed that I can track these images down.

What might these Edouart Silhouettes look like? _I_ presumed the typical “head”-shot…. I’ve found a few online examples:

Edouart produced silhouettes as simple as this full figure:

edouart_boy

And yet note the elaborate background of these two solitary figures:

 edouart_garden  edouart_library

and silhouette groupings, such as this one:

edouart_couple

Or, this well-populated room:

edouart_family

WHAT might the Smiths & Goslings and their intendeds and new husbands
have picked for their silhouettes???

I’m dying to know!

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The Missing, The Mysteries, The Marvels

December 31, 2011 at 10:45 am (history, jane austen, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

On this last day of 2011, I reflect upon how something “turning up” can cause a flurry of thoughts — and how some earlier “flurries” have affected this Smith & Gosling research.

At left is a “seal” of a letter written nearly two hundred years ago by Augusta Smith, on the cusp of her marriage to Henry Wilder. A vibrant girl, her life-story has been lost to the greater world, but she is a large part of what drew me to this family. And why I want their histories told.

The letter was written to her youngest sister Maria, and just happened to be found among a cache of letters by Jacky in Maidstone. This particular letter — quite sweet as it spoke, Eldest Sister to Youngest Sister, of their relationship at the moment it is about to change — was not the bombshell another letter, also written to Maria Smith, Jacky had for me! That letter was from Mrs Odell, whose son had accompanied Drummond Smith, the youngest Smith brother, on his fateful trip to Italy. Seems Young Odell was interested in Maria! Alas, did Maria reject him because she didn’t care for him, or… did she somewhat hold him responsible for her dear brother’s death???

You can find an earlier Drummond Smith blog post here: Drummond Erased?

So there is one mystery yet to be solved. Only more letters, or diaries, will shed light on that one.

Another mystery, surprisingly uncovered, came with the letter Angela from Alberta has transcribed: Lady Elizabeth Compton‘s love for a near constant companion: Charles Scrace Dickins! What Angela didn’t know, as she wove an Austenian story around the clues laid out in her letter, was that nearly five years later the pair marry! But: What brought them to the altar?? Again: some more puzzle pieces are required to flesh out the story.

Paula Byrne has now come across a small picture:

And speculates that it was perhaps drawn by Eliza Chute, of The Vyne, and portrays Jane Austen! Not sure which excites me more: the idea of Jane Austen portrayed, or that a drawing potentially done by dear Eliza has been discovered…

A possible Wiggett-Chute connection to this picture has brought me back to Miss Le Faye‘s excellent Biographical Index in her Jane Austen Letters. So many familiar names, in conjunction with the Chutes, the Smiths, even the earlier generation of Goslings. Was just this morning reading about Alethea Bigg of Manydown.

The more I think about the VAST correspondence circle Jane Austen — and Cassandra too, we mustn’t forget her — would have been a part of, the more I have to wonder what cache of letters might still exist, somewhere, all dusty and locked away. As with the letter Angela from Alberta saw, even ONE letter can make a difference. As can one drawing.

Eliza in England sent me a watercolor image of Mimi Smith — daughter of Mary and Charles; wife of Gaspard Le Marchant Tupper — if I remember correctly, Eliza saved the little book of drawings containing it from certain destruction! Now to find the photograph the drawing was based upon…

Mark Woodford’s father obtained the 1798 diary of Augusta Smith (Mamma), possibly at Auction. Who owned the diary that it got separated from everything else?? Who else — living in Chicago, like Mark; or anywhere around the world — might have purchased a letter or a diary and have no idea WHOSE property they own, for few ever put their names to their diaries, and some sign their letters with their last name, but how common a name is Smith.

I could say, who would NOT know the name Jane Austen — but I can offer this anecdote: A few years ago I was interviewed for a job at a local pharmaceutical college. Had, I think, five people in succession interviewing me. One man (yes, note the sex of the person) looked at me, quiet serious, and as he asked for more comments about my volunteer work with JASNA [Jane Austen Society of North America], asked: Who’s Jane Austen??

I didn’t get that job and now I see the same position is advertised again. I won’t be applying. Their loss! for they missed the boat in hiring a really terrific person.

My New Year’s Resolution is to work harder at this project, and get Smith&Gosling the attention it deserves. The first task is to do a little updating to some of the pages on the blog — so stay tuned! And I’ve not forgotten that I owe readers my Boswell connection story.

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Lady Elizabeth Dickins sighted!

March 27, 2011 at 8:58 am (people, places, research) (, , , , , )

Ah, just gotta love these 19th century published memoirs! Here is one, entitled Further Recollections of a Diplomatist  where the biographer has gone “on to Castle Ashby…” Sir Horace Rumbold describes being “at first much bewildered by the size of the beautiful old Jacobean pile, with its intricate passages and long, creepy galleries. But although a thoroughly haunted-looking house, no uncomfortable traditions appear to attach to Castle Ashby.”

He goes on to talk of the inhabitants: “We spent upwards of a fortnight here, our host taking a great fancy to the boy, and to the quaint German patois songs they had been taught to sing in parts by one of their nurses. Lord Northampton [the 3rd marquess; son of Spencer and Margaret] was already then in the very last stage of decline, but his conversation was still delightful, and, like his gifted sister, Lady Marian Alford, he was an admirable draughtsman, and worked with pencil and brush to the very last. Artistic gifts are indeed hereditary in the family, for staying in the house was old Lady Elizabeth Dickins [or Dickens, I see the name spelled BOTH ways…], Lord Northampton’s aunt, who used to amuse the children with very clever pen-and-ink sketches which she did, for choice, kneeling by the table, although then considerably past eighty.”

One letter, written in 1824, from Augusta (Emma’s sister) to Lady Elizabeth discusses her “scratches” and “sketches”. What precious items these would be to locate — but I am on the trail…

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Judge a Letter by its Cover

January 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm (people, places, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When Craig from Australia — a most helpful Smith&Gosling “fan”! — wrote about a letter he found, the tell-tale tidbit that attracted me was hearing that it was addressed to the Marquess of Northampton. Its dating, to 1824, meant to the first Marquess — husband of Mamma Smith’s sister Maria, father to Lord Compton (the 2nd Marquess) and his sister Lady Elizabeth Compton (later married to Charles Scrase Dickins).

The idea that came into my brain while corresponding with Craig was that, although his find might be addressed TO Lord Northampton — the enclosed LETTER might very well be addressed to someone else!

My evidence?

At the Essex Record Office, there is a small set of letters, written by “the children” — as Emma referred to her two youngest sisters (her younger brothers were in school), Charlotte and Maria — but the girls, while addressing their letters to eldest sister Augusta and to Mamma, addressed their envelopes to “Le Chevalier Charles Smith“!

Obviously, therefore, the “head of the household” was the letter recipient whenever letters were sent Poste Restante or to be called for at, say, the offices of the family’s foreign banker.

Just one exceptionally interesting “find” while delving back in time nearly 200 years. Stay tuned for more!

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