Desperately Seeking “addressed to Lady Seymour”

May 23, 2016 at 8:56 am (history, news, people, research) (, , )

An internet search brought up the following for a former eBay auction – trouble is I have NO CLUE as to the date of the auction — recent? really old? The date of the letter is less in question, 1861 – though no day or month.

ebay auction

The original description read:

“Addressed to Lady Seymour. Stamp has been cut out leaving part Southampton cancel with Botley & part Berkhamsted CDS’s on back. 4 page partly cross hatched letter.”

Would LOVE images of the letter (so I can transcribe the contents) – in exchange for information on the recipient and/or writer. The “Lady Seymour” in question undoubtedly is Maria Culme Seymour (née Smith), Emma Austen’s youngest sister.

Maria L Seymour

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Early Photography: Chasing images

March 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm (history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

How do you identify an image of a person – one painted or photographed long, long ago?

By what’s written on the back! if you’re lucky.

This miniature of Maria Smith, aka Lady Culme Seymour, was ID’ed as her; I take it to have been her mainly because the provenance claims a family descent.

It sold, at auction, with her mother-in-law’s miniature — Jane, Lady Seymour.

My task lately — and a daunting one it has been — is to ID a couple of photographs. Are they Maria? are they a sister? or (worse thought) have they been mis-identified????

Time WILL tell.

But that brings into the mix, several early photographers. Yes, these were certainly the types of people, with money enough, who would have been interested in having their portraits done. Interested, too, in pursuing photography for themselves, in the end. A photo album connected to the Gosling family resides at a Surrey archive; among portraits are also what can only be described as travel photographs! Imagine what you had to tote around to photograph your adventures away from home back in the 1870s!

One portrait of Maria is by the famed photographer Camille Silvy (1834-1910). The National Portrait Gallery’s website about him calls Silvy “a pioneer of early photography and one of the greatest French photographers of the nineteenth century. Maria seems to have been photographed in 1860. (She was born in 1814. You do the math.) Silvy moved to London in 1859. Her nephew, Mary and Charles Smith’s son, Charles Cunliffe Smith — along with his wife Agnes, Lady Smith — are represented in Silvy’s books, but far later in number. How fascinating to go through these book NPG has and see all the people photographed by Silvy!

But there are other family photos, but other photographers. One that has surfaced is a family group, plus some individual photographs, by William Claridge (1797-1876). He began photographing in the Berkhamsted area in the 1850s.

A third photographer, one with ties — at the very least — with the Comptons and Dickens families, is William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877). The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an online article entitled “William Henry Fox Talbot and the Invention of Phography“. I’ve come across mention of Dickens family pictures, and online have found Fox Talbot’s letters, which have him giving several wonderful descriptions of Lord and Lady Compton, while they lived in Italy.

Such valuable resources — in images and words.

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Cadlington Found!

January 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm (estates, people, places, research) (, , , , , , , , )

If you’ve ever wondered about the extended family and how “well off” they might have been, consider this: When Dora Knighton married her cousin Capt. Michael Seymour (following in the footsteps of his father, Sir Michael Seymour, Capt. Seymour was in the Royal Navy), their wedding present was … a home: Cadlington, in the county of Hampshire.

Mrs Augusta Smith writes Emma from Cadlington in 1838; this was, after all, the home of the brother & wife of both her son-in-law (Richard Seymour) AND daughter-in-law (Frances Seymour).

Not only were there two Frances Seymours* for a while, Richard Seymour also had a sister Dora (Dorothea, in both cases). To differentiate them, he always referred to his sister-in-law as Dora K.

[*Richard Seymour and Fanny Smith married prior to Frances Seymour and Spencer Smith. To Richard — and to her own family, Frances Smith Seymour was always Fanny; Frances Seymour Smith was always known as Frances. Little distinctions mean a lot when working with diaries, letters, and similarly-named family members!]

Dora Knighton was the daughter of Sir William Knighton. In 1838, Lady Knighton caused to be published two volumes of his memoirs (and you can find much information about their children): vol. 1, vol. II. The portrait of Sir William included on this website comes from this series of memoirs.

Dora’s wedding is the subject of ch. XXI in vol. 2:

“June 22nd, 1829.

On this day my beloved Dora was married, at eight o’clock in the morning, by the Bishop of Winchester, at Bendworth [sic] Church.

The feelings excited by resigning the care of one’s child to another, no one can express. It seems as if you were called upon to part with the best feelings of your nature. The ceremony to me was most melancholy. I wept bitterly; but the inward feelings were still greater. I proceeded to London at one the same day…”

An early 20th-century photo of Cadlington, where its dining room is called “opulent and impressive,” can be viewed here.

Cadlington has undergone some changes — turned into luxury flats (rather like Hassobury, the Gosling’s old estate in Essex). And the agent posted (long ago) an interesting flyer: cadlington house.

READ “Cadlington” Headlines:

By the way, Michael Seymour (contrary to the brochure’s claim) was a captain in 1829. See his biography.

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