Glimpse a Household (1839)

January 8, 2019 at 3:25 pm (history, london's landscape, people) (, , )

Sometimes I come across the same item. That happened today when looking at a report of a court case.

When I went to put in JOHN WALKER as servant to the Christie household in 1839, I found the exact same story. But it had certainly been quite a while since reading this recounting of an incident of theft, boldly perpetrated during the day.

George Fountain was brought before the court for stealing – a spoon, valued at 1 pound; and 2 forks, also valued at 1 pound. It is the summation by John Walker that this time caught my eye.

I am servant to Mr. Langham Christie, of Cumberland-street, St. Marylebone.”

The Christies were Elizabeth Gosling (Mary’s elder sister) and her husband Langham Christie. By this time they had been married about ten years. They had a London residence, but also a small country estate at Preston Deanery (Northamptonshire). Langham had been battling for the inheritance of another estate, Glyndebourne (which you can read about here; opera-lovers will realize that his bid for the estate was successful).

But the morning of April 19th, a Friday, must have begun like any other.

The maid had washed the passage way, which left a connecting door open in order “to dry the passage”. Walker had been in the pantry, and, upon exiting, had “heard the street-door bell ring”. The time was “half-past twelve o’clock at noon.” Walker remembers closing the pantry door – which latched; but going up to answer the street door, he did not lock the pantry door.

The ring of the door evidently announced the arrival of the household’s newspaper (sharing was not unknown; so it could have come from a family member or a friend; as well as a true delivery): “There was a person there with a newspaper.” Walker “took it up to the drawing-room — mistress sent me into the dining-room with it.” MISTRESS would have been Elizabeth Christie, who, sitting in the drawing room, probably was finishing up a day’s correspondence, although she might also have been attentive to the arrival of any callers — unless she was NOT AT HOME (the standard phrase of the period, to denote both absence as well as not accepting callers).

Was Langham in the dining-room? Or was it merely placed at his plate? We are not told; Walker merely states the fact, and was quickly back at the pantry, “in less than five minutes.”

The time away is crucial (one almost wonders if the newspaper delivery was a ruse, but presumably not – for no more is mentioned about the paper).

The shock awaiting Walker was the sight of a man INSIDE the pantry (which, of course, stood with its door now open).

Walker called out, asking “what he wanted there”. George Fountain replied, asking if Walker “wanted any black lead.” But no one peddling their wares would be inside the house, at the bottom of stairs that led into the pantry. The game was up. Walker knew the clinking “blue bag” contained pieces of the family plate. Not much, you will say, citing three pieces of silverware – but being caught in the act obviously stopped the robbery in its tracks.

Walker sent for Langham, “my master,” who himself went for the police. No mention is made of whether Elizabeth already knew of the infiltration into the lower regions of her household, just as things were being readied for lunch.

Little further examination took place in court, a few follow-up questions with Walker. Then the policeman, Thomas Gane, gave testimony.

In parentheses comes the statement that “(The prisoner received a good character.)” – surely sworn testimony about the thirty-year-old prisoner. Fountain, found guilty, was “Strongly recommended to mercy.” and received a sentence of six months incarceration. The trial had taken place at the Old Bailey, London, on 13 May 1839. In the Proceedings of the Old Bailey, this is the only instance of George Fountain’s appearance.

Garrows_Law

keep in mind: You can visit the Old Bailey by booking a place

 

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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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Lady Morgan’s Memoirs

September 29, 2012 at 11:25 am (books, history, people) (, , , , , , , )

I first came across Lady Morgan through John Waldie. Waldie has a connect with Langham Christie and the online items from his diaries give a fascinating glimpse of the theatrical and musical world during the long nineteenth century.

Today I was pulling books off shelves and out of their floor piles to augment my much-neglected online bibliography. Found a few forgotten print-outs, and finally located some I’d been searching the house for: they are always in the LAST place you look, huh?!

So while trying to find the URL for one of my “is this where that had gotten to” items, I found online the two volumes of Lady Morgan’s Memoirs

Sydney Owenson lived a glittering life (c1776-1859); two of her travel book volumes are online as well.

  • Lady Morgan’s Memoirs: Autobiography, Diaries and Correspondence (1862): vol. I; vol. II
  • France in 1829-30 (1830) vol. I; vol. II {dedicated to General Lafayette!}
  • Lady Morgan’s fiction and other writings at Internet Archive

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Elizabeth and Langham Christie: a relic of Preston Deanery

August 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm (history, news, people, research) (, , , , , )

A stroll through google brought this unusual “find”:

I must admit that – lookswise – this is not my favorite piece at this 2007 Christie’s auction, but if it once held the clothing of Elizabeth (née Gosling) or Langham Christie, then it holds special place in my heart.

The lot description gives why its provenance dates back to Langham Christie: “the back of the base section with fabric label inscribed ‘Christie Esq.‘ and depository label for (T)ilbury’s, Marylebone, inscribed ‘Langham Christie, Esq. Preston Deanery No 3 Northampton Per Worcester & Stubb Boat‘(?).”

It’s a large piece: 93 1/2 high x 55 1/2 wide x 22 3/4 deep.

* * *

Mary’s elder sister, Elizabeth Gosling was born in 1798. In Mary’s diaries Elizabeth is NEVER named; she is only ever “My Sister“. Mrs Smith confesses in a letter that she had seen the romance blossoming, and she for one wasn’t surprised when Langham  Christie proposed! The couple married in the summer of 1829.

Although Langham eventually inherited Glyndebourne, the couple made their home at Preston Deanery. Their son, William Langham Christie, began the Christie inhabitation of the future “opera-loving” estate.

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Henry Austen, Banker

January 7, 2012 at 10:06 am (books, history, jane austen, jasna, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Henry Austen, seen in this portrait later in life, after he took holy orders, was once a banker.

In the late 1990s, Clive Caplan wrote two biographical articles for Persuasions on Henry:

          • “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother: The Military Career of Captain Henry Thomas Austen of the Oxfordshire Regiment of Militia, 1793-1801,” Persuasions, 18 (1996): 122-43.
          • “Jane Austen’s Banker Brother: Henry Thomas Austen of Austen & Co., 1801-1816,” Persuasions, 20 (1999): 68-90.

I am especially interested in obtaining information from the later publication:

In the Fall, Iris Lutz, JASNA president, spoke to our JASNA Vermont group Iris was speaking about the estates and homes in Austen’s life. Surprisingly, COTTESBROOKE came up. This was the property of the Langham family. (the link will take you to the Two Teens blog post about that talk and Henry Austen.)

The Langhams’ property figure in my research because of Langham Christie, who married Margaret Elizabeth Gosling; he eventually inherited Glyndebourne (yes, that Christie family…).

Of course all these bankers must have “known” each other — but I’ve never yet come up with definitive evidence of Henry Austen interacting in any way with the Goslings (Goslings & Sharpe) or the Curries (Currie & Co). I once posed the question to Maggie Lane, but the Gosling name was totally unfamiliar to her.

I joined JASNA only a handful of years ago; online databases that include Persuasions go back to 2000 — so just after all those juicy articles about Henry Austen. It is the online versions that the large library I have access to, the Bailey-Howe at UVM (the University of Vermont), has in its “collection.”

What’s a girl to do?

  • If any reader out there — a member of JASNA or just near a big library — can put a finger on the 1999 article, can you peruse it for me, or get me a copy (I know: it IS a lot of pages). {contact information is found on “the author” page}

FEB2012 update: Many thanks to Cathy Kawalek (of ArtsResearchNYC) and Kerri S. for helping to track down “Jane Austen’s Soldier Brother”.

MAR2012 update: Thanks — yet again! — to Cathy Kawalek of Arts Research NYC for the second part of Clive Caplan’s wonderful study of Henry Austen.

Reading about Henry’s life-struggles makes me realize yet again that what the Austen literature desparately needs is an all-encompassing AUSTEN FAMILY biography. Alas: no mention of other banking firms, which had been one slim hope I had held. Can’t wait for the Louisville AGM in a few years… for its focus is Living in Jane Austen’s World. I’d love to see some biographical studies – Yeah!

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Henry Austen & Cottesbrooke

September 27, 2011 at 8:40 am (estates, history, jane austen, jasna, people, places) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I am not one to speculate on Jane Austen’s novels — certainly not on what estates (IF any were in mind) might have served as prototypes for estates in her novels.

But Sunday (25 Sept 2011) our local JASNA-Vermont chapter hosted a talk given by incoming JASNA president, Iris Lutz. I first corresponded with Iris about five years ago when starting to think about getting up a chapter in the state — Iris was VP for Regions then. She put me in contact with Carol from Montpelier — who had had a similar idea and that was how JASNA-VT got off the ground.

Iris’ illustrated talk centered on the houses — in life and fiction — she had researched and/or seen in her travels. No mention of The Vyne, which was a bit of a surprise, seeing as it is highly accessible (it’s a National Trust property); but there were wonderful photos of the likes of Godmersham (the Knight estate in Kent) and Ibthorpe (home way back when to the Lloyd family; recently sold so it’s up in the air whether subsequent JASNA tours will be able to go visit the home). I thought a great talk could be made on Godmersham alone — the fabulous interior decoration in conjunction with Austen’s comments from her letters about the house or her stay(s) there.

Then an image flashed on that looked oh-so-familiar: It was Cottesbrooke! An estate that is a bit related to this blog’s research as it once was in the Langham family. And — as you might guess from the name — Langham Christie was  related to the Langhams of Cottesbrooke.

A friend to the Langhams of Cottesbrooke turns out to have been Henry Austen, Jane’s soldier-banker-clergyman brother.

Now, I always imagined some “knowledge” of Henry Austen by the Goslings — seeing as both were in banking. In Philadelphia, at the 2009 JASNA AGM, I had asked Maggie Lane, a writer on the Austens, if she had ever come across the Gosling name (or Goslings & Sharpe) when researching Henry; she had no recollection of the name.

Working on some separating writing (an Austen book chapter), I dug out my Le Faye copy of a bio on Austen cousin (and later Henry’s wife), Eliza de Feuillaide, I spotted Clive Caplan‘s 1998 article on Henry Austen as banker. So the hunt is on for this issue of the journal. Does Caplan find any Gosling & Sharpe? Does he mention the Langhams of Cottsbrooke? Time will tell.

Iris’ talk intimated that someone somewhere had the idea that Cottesbrooke might have served as a basis for Austen’s depiction of Mansfield Park. I personally doubt she “based” too heavily, although aspects might certainly have been used about ANY estate for any of her fictional places, but the idea is intriguing. Lots out there on the subject, I now find:

Facebook and AustenOnly are the main sources. Cottesbrooke Gardens get a nod from the Telegraph. You can find more mentions of the possible Mansfield Park-Cottesbrooke connection by searching for the two together.

* * *

 27 September 1801

on this day was born Emma Smith

who married James Edward Austen, later Austen Leigh

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Garrow in Essex (1829)

September 18, 2011 at 9:09 am (diaries, history, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This past weekend I’ve given myself a “filler” job – to read through the diaries of Charles and Mary Smith which overlap each other, namely, the years 1829 and 1830.

Charles Joshua Smith began his (extant) diaries July 1826 — on his wedding day to Mary Gosling, although you’d NEVER know it from his matter-of-fact comment about driving Mary to Suttons.

Mary’s (extant) diaries begin January 1829, following the birth of her second child, Mary Charlotte (called Mimi). That other diaries exist — or at least existed — I have no doubt. Charles may have destroyed his former diaries; a loss if the case – as they would have contained comments of his Continental and Russian travels (if going back to the early 1820s), his marriage to Belinda Colebrooke, her death, his engagement (about which I’d KILL to know more) to Mary Gosling in the spring of 1826. Mary’s diaries surely began far earlier than 1829, and given the “holes” in the series, her diaries must have been dispursed between her children – maybe even were resident at Suttons (sold mid-20th century) until the estate was sold out of the family. A couple mysteries still awaiting solution.

So only two years exist in which husband AND wife comment on their daily lives. A lot of illness — and more to come with the decline of Charles’ health (he died in January 1831); some visits to Suttons by Emma and Edward Austen. The marriage of Margaret Elizabeth Gosling, Mary’s elder sister, with Langham Christie, and visits to Suttons by the Smiths and Goslings; and visits to ‘Town’ by Mary, Charles and the children. Charles attends some agricultural courses; obtains new livestock and looks after farm matters; and does his duty at the Law Sessions.

It is March 1829, and Charles writes of travelling to CHELMSFORD (Essex):

“Judges, Chief Baron Alexander & Sir William Garrow; a heavy calendar  about 150 Prisoners, not many very heavy offences”

Sir William Garrow (died 1840), now judge at Assizes, would not retire until 1832.

Charles arrived at Chelmsford on 9 March (a Monday); the following day he writes of the Grand Jury being charged and that he “Dined with the Judges who seemed anxious to have another {unreadable} Sessions established”.

Wednesday, the 11th, was “all the morning” on the Grand Jury; he noted “A very full attendance”. Court was “dismissed” the next day (Thursday, the 12th) at noon.

Garrow first appears in Charles’s 1828 diary, when he is one of the Judges at the Chelmsford Assizes in July. Again the session ran Monday through Thursday. One prisoner (whose case Garrow did not preside over), John Williams, was sent for execution.

Garrow appears by name for the last time in December 1829, when Charles notes his Grand Jury work on Wednesday the 10th. By this time, Garrow, born in 1760, would have been 69-years-old.

Can’t wait for the third season of Garrow’s Law — in December 2011, I heard; will now relish it for yet another different reason: Sir William Garrow and Sir Charles Joshua Smith of Suttons actually met!

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Where are these items?

November 10, 2010 at 5:14 pm (people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

One of the glories — and frustrations — of this project is the amount of material that has been saved, found, and ultimately consulted. But what about items that once existed, may exist still, and may be hidden away in a cellar, closet or attic??

Fortunate for me, the first diary I found — that belonging to Mary Gosling (aka Lady Smith) and now ‘living’ at Duke University — young Mary had emblazoned her name at the front of the note book! More typically, NO ONE puts their name in a diary (Charles did once  put ‘C. Smith Suttons’ in a pocket book journal!); though they often write out names, either in full or with first initial last name, on letters.

So what do I KNOW to be missing?? What precious relics of the Smiths & Goslings might be out there, but unidentified because there are few searchable names? They are mentioned in oh-so-many-sources:

Regarding Drummond Smith (Emma’s brother):

  • Tour (Italy) Journal of Drummond Smith; mentioned in his sister Emma’s (January) 1833 diary.
  • The beginning of anotherDrummond Smith travel narrative was copied into Jeremy Catto’s Letterbook: a journal of the tour Drummond took with Mary and Charles Smith, Fall 1829.
  • Manuscript book outlining Drummond’s life, from babyhood to young man; mentioned by Mary Augusta Austen Leigh, in the biography of her father James Edward Austen Leigh [see post on a similar book for Maria Smith / Lady Culme Seymour]

Regarding Emma Smith / Emma Austen Leigh:

  • Tour Journal of Emma Smith, begun and either abridged or abandoned (see letter 1822).

Regarding Augusta Smith / Augusta Wilder:

  • “Foreign Journal” of Augusta Smith (aka Augusta Wilder); presumably covers the same tour (1822-23) as Emma’s begun/abandoned journal (see Mrs Smith’s letter dated December 1826).

Regarding Charles Joshua Smith:

  • Sir Charles Joshua Smith, letters from abroad during his Continental Tour, 1820-21 (surely retained in the family; originally addressed to Emma Smith).

Regarding the Gosling family:

  • William-Ellis Gosling, “MS Volume of his reflections and notes”; mentioned by Charlotte Brookes (c1919) as being in her possession – Christie of Glyndebourne (privately-printed book).
  • Elizabeth (Gosling) Christie’s “Honeymoon Diary” (c1829); mentioned by Charlotte Brookes (c1919; see above) as being in the possession of Mrs F.L. Wilder (presume the widow of Francis Langham Wilder, the former Beatrice Hibbert, who died in 1955).

Regarding the Compton / Northampton / Dickins family:

  • Letters and/or Travel Journal of Lady Elizabeth Compton (later, the wife of Charles Scrase Dickins or Dickens); mentioned in a letter from Augusta Smith (Wilder), 1824 (as the recipient), while the Comptons were in Italy: “I received, last week, your journal written after the ascent of Vesuvius and I thank you very much…”. Augusta also mentions wanting to see Lady Elizabeth’s drawings from this trip.

Regarding the Seymour family:

  • “Journals, Letterbooks &c” of Sir Michael Seymour, cited as sources for the DNB biography (1897 edition) of Sir Michael Seymour, son of Sir Michael and brother of the Revd. Richard Seymour.
  • Diaries of the Rev. Richard Seymour; extracts published by A. Tindal Hart (see, for instance, The Curate’s Lot and The Nineteenth Century Country Parson) in the 1950s. The Warwickshire Record Office has microfilm of these diaries, but they are unable to copy the film without permission of the present owner; whereabouts of the actual diaries or their owner is currently unknown.

Books:

  • Scenes from Life at Suttons, 1825 & 1827. This was published by Spottiswoode in 1926. The authors are Eliza and Drummond Smith; artwork by Augusta Smith. UPDATE: June 2011 — FOUND on eBay!

If you know the whereabouts of any of these items, if they sound familiar to you, please contact me.

* * *

Here’s a list of those items that have been located! Grateful thanks to those who have helped, allowed me access to, or contacted me about their items:

DIARY

  • Augusta Smith née Smith (Mrs Charles Smith of Suttons), 1798 diary; property of Mark Woodford (Chicago, IL)

TRAVEL JOURNALS

  • Emma Smith, 1792 and 1794; property of Jacky (Maidstone, Kent, England)

“BABY BOOK”

  • Maria Smith, from infancy to age 17, written by her mother Augusta Smith; property of Jacky (Maidstone, Kent, England); see the post about the existence of a similar book for brother Drummond Smith

LETTERS

  • Kinwarton letters; property of Alan Godfrey (Alcester, Warks, England)
  • Drummond’s Letterbook; property of Dr. Jeremy Catto (Oxford University)
  • Augusta Smith (Augusta Wilder), 1824 Letter; property of Angela (Alberta, Canada)
  • various letters, to and from Maria (Smith) Culme-Seymour; property of Jacky (Maidstone, Kent, England)

BOOK

  • Charlotte Brookes, Christie of Glyndebourne (privately printed, 1919). This book is referenced in the biography ‘John Christie of Glyndebourne’ by Wilfred Blunt (1968). FOUND! at the Lewes Library in Sussex.

* * *

See also the “portraits” page, for there are pieces of artwork I’m actively searching for — especially portraits of the Goslings (known to have been painted by Sir William Beechey).

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