Always on the lookout for something different, I was DE-LIGHT-ED to find a brief (1.40) video, mainly outside, but a few glimpses at the interior, of ROEHAMPTON GROVE. The Gosling estate from mid-1790s to the 1850s (it sold out of the family following Bennett Gosling’s death), Roehampton lies at the very CENTER of my research. One day I’ll visit it…
Although not quite two minutes’ long, the history of the house is nice — so if you watch, do turn on the sound!
Of course, interiorly, the house the Goslings knew – especially NOW that the building belongs to Roehampton University and is used as an “academic building” – is maybe present, maybe gone in any given room. Still, this once was Mary’s HOME!
Reading through the first chapter of my book (those purchasing Two Teens in the Time of Austen: Random Jottings, 2008-2013 get a slightly-stale taste of that opening chapter) I was submerged into Mary’s world via her 1814 trip to Oxford when I read aloud the following:
“Two of Mr. Gosling’s four sons resided in college in 1814: William Ellis, the eldest of the seven Gosling children, only weeks beyond his twentieth birthday; and Robert, one year younger. William had entered Brasenose College on 10 July 1812, and seems to have taken no degree. Robert was fairly new to college, having matriculated on 27 January 1814. He stayed through 1822, leaving with a Master’s degree.”
January 27th?! I long have had Monday in mind as “Mozart’s birthday” (you can always tell when the anniversary of that day approaches: the local radio station plays a LOT of Mozart!). But reading my little history, I found myself whispering to myself: two hundred years ago to the day…
I have been lucky enough (thank you Mark & Emma!!) to see a portrait of all three Gosling boys – William, Robert and Bennett – painted some few years later. What a handsome trio! Though, in some ways, the most “pleasing” countenance can be said to belong to Robert. As a toddler he was compared to Falstaff for his roundness; as an old man in a long-exposed photograph he reminded this American of Abraham Lincoln: long, lean, and wearing a stove-pipe hat!
But two-hundred years ago TODAY, on 27 January 1814, Robert Gosling, a young man, had matriculated at Christ College, Oxford — and that summer his sister Mary wrote down the trip her family (“Mama, Papa, my Sister and myself”) took in order to visit the boys. That wasn’t the first diary of hers that I read, but ultimately it has so-far become the earliest of her writings that I have found.
- Did the “Great Hall” of Christ Church College really serve as inspiration for HOGWARTS HALL? Mary was there… and left her thoughts: “The Hall is one of the most magnificent in Oxford.” (and I remember that scene in the first film, vividly)
Smith&GoslingThe biography A Memoir of Jane Austen, compiled by her nephew James Edward Austen Leigh, was first published in 1870 (2nd edition on google.books). In 1911, daughter Mary Augusta Austen Leigh wrote down Edward’s own life history. Two Teens in the Time of Austen dramatizes events in the lives of Edward’s beloved wife Emma Smith (1801-1876) and her friend and sister-in-law Mary Gosling (1800-1842).
It is Emma’s eventual connection to the Austens of Steventon which gives this project its very name! (The fact that the diaries of both girls begin in the period that saw Austen’s publications, doesn’t hurt either.) Celebrate with me five years of uncovering the lives of the Smiths & Goslings. You can even “click to Look Inside“. Lightly edited, and highly rearranged, “Random Jottings” (estimated at 170 pages) serves as an introduction to the world of my Two Teens from posts published since the start of their blog.
For a limited time, “Random Jottings“ also includes the opening pages of their biography (volume 1, Two Teens in the Time of Austen) and *all new* images of Mary and Emma. Available only at Amazon [Amazon.co.uk; Amazon.ca; Amazon.de (alas, not auf deutsch)]
UPDATE: since Kindles don’t (yet) allow for image zooming, the two pedigrees:
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:
And yet note the elaborate background of these two solitary figures:
and silhouette groupings, such as this one:
Or, this well-populated room:
WHAT might the Smiths & Goslings and their intendeds and new husbands
have picked for their silhouettes???
I’m dying to know!
Images are EVERYTHING in a project of this sort. The stress of KNOWING items were painted, drawn, sketched… But “Where are they NOW?” is THE question. On Memoirture, Calista asked me if I had an image of Mary. Maybe? was the best answer I could give. For the famous Beechey portrait of Mary and Margaret Elizabeth Gosling seems found – and, yet, how can it be so?
The dilemma stems from the 1958 sale at auction (sold to “Leger”) of the Suttons portrait, and the acquisition of the known-Beechey by the Huntington Museum (West Virginia) occurred prior to that date.
The Gosling girls are said to be 3/4-length, seated at a piano, with music in the hand of the elder and a frill painted (for modesty, it was painted years later by that same elder sister!) along the neckline of the younger sister. All those elements are there. You can view the Early Music magazine cover here. (It’s a PDF).
Read my two earlier posts about this Beechey, “The Sisters,” Portrait:
Calista’s inquiry, however, had me looking at other Beechey female portraits; were their decolletage all that ‘on view’? I’ll leave it to you to judge for yourself that Elizabeth Christie could have had more to cover up on other Beechey portraits!
Portrait of a Girl, c1790
Harriet Beechey (undated)
Miss Elizabeth Beresford (undated)
Lady Clinton Walters (c1810)
Lady Elizabeth Cole (undated)
Portrait of a Lady (1825)
Frances Addington (c1805)
Miss Ann Lee (undated)
this last might have made Victorian-era Elizabeth Christie blush:
Miss Abernathy (undated)
Readers of TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN will know my debt to the wonderful microfilm series published by Adam Mathew Publications: they had microfilmed my Mary’s diaries!
While looking for girl’s schools in Ireland in the 18th century, up came this notification of the microfilm series Women’s Autobiographies from Cambridge University. What caught my attention was the biography of Dorothea Herbert: I’ve read this book!
So, of course, I had to click and investigate the other ladies on their list.
Some are so “famous” they need no introduction: Laetitia Pilkington, Mrs Papendiek, Sydney Lady Morgan (pictured below), Elizabeth Grant (the ‘Highland Lady’), Hester Thrale Piozzi (whom I’ve discussed elsewhere). To name a few.
A couple REALLY grab my attention:
- Hannah Robertson, The Life of Mrs Robertson, Grand-Daughter of Charles II (1791) The description of her life’s disappointments sound heart-rending!
- Mary Anne Talbot, The Life and Surprising Adventures of Mary Anne Talbot in the name John Taylor (1809). Yes, she passed as a young man! The description places her biography among the “18th century genre of sensational memoirs”, but there are numerous histories (typically later) of women passing as men. The description also makes a good point: “Whether fictional or true Talbot’s account raises the 18th century social issue about how women, without traditional male protection, survived in a patriarchal society”.
I’d like to locate the following:
- Baroness Craven, Memoirs of the Margravine of Anspach (1826), for Emma’s Great Aunt visited the Margravine when on a trip through Italy & Germany!
- Catharine Carey, Memoirs of Miss C.E. Cary (1825). Described as a roman a clef, and based on the writer’s life with Queen Caroline, the memoir may be “‘one of the few first-hand records of the Regency era’s covert power struggles‘.”
This one I must find, simply because of its title:
- Anna Brownell Jameson, Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad by Mrs Jameson including Diary of an Ennuyée (1834) – but she also knew (and presumably writes about) Fanny Kemble, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, Jane Welsh Carlyle, and Barbara Bodichon.
The Publisher’s note gives food for thought: “Women’s autobiographies provide a rich and diverse source of information for social historians, literary scholars, and students studying women and gender issues.
We may wonder what compelled women to write their life histories. ….From these first-hand accounts much information can be learned. For example, recollections of a family history can reveal differing regional cultures….private thoughts relating to marriage, spinsterhood and romance. These autobiographies also reveal women’s aspirations in life: socially what was
expected of them, and privately what they felt they should aspire to.”
Autobiographies cover the stage, royalty, the workhouse, emigration (for instance, Rebecca Burland relocates to Illinois in her A True Picture of Emigration ), and even evangelical transformation.
Neither Mary nor Emma left a true “autobiography”, but the threads of their lives, left behind in diaries and letters, also gives a “true picture” of their lives and times. So my ladies are among an excellent crowd.
Mapledurham House (near Reading) was the last home Mamma (Mrs Augusta Smith) would inhabit. She and her unmarried children moved here in 1834. The first family event was to be a wedding uniting Fanny Smith with the Rev. Richard Seymour. The night before the wedding was spent, however, fanning the flames of a fire!
Mary, Lady Smith, saved the house by alerting everyone to smoke. Emma Austen‘s diary relates the story.
Working on my Pinterest boards (you can find us by searching Emma Austen, if you’d like!), and responding to a comment about my little Mapledurham House thimble, I searched once again for pictures to post – and found this article from The Telegraph, published in 2011.
According to Damien Thompson, Mapledurham was a “safe house for fugitive priests”. “Mapledurham House kept a genuine secret during the Tudor persecution and … its current owners, John and Lady Anne Eyston, are still making discoveries. The most recent priest hole, for example, lay undiscovered until 2002 — though it’s in such an inaccessible upper bedroom that it can’t accommodate crowds of tourists. The hole is hidden underneath a sliding hearth, and it might better be described as an elaborate escape shaft. ‘Family legend had it that there was a priest hole in the bedroom fireplace – but we didn’t realise that for years we were looking at the wrong fireplace, not the hidden original…’.”
Now if only I knew which bedroom Mary shared with Eliza. It was next door to a “large sitting room up stairs”. A crack in the hearth, and smoldering embers, caused the “insufferable smoke,” which woke Mary at four in the morning. Emma ends the diary entry, “The floor of the room & a picture were much burnt & the wall & ceiling smoked the house a good deal injured by fire. Sir John Seymour arrived.” Richard Seymour’s diary recounts that his “beloved” Fanny woke him at “4 1/2 AM the house being on fire Two hours of the deepest anxiety followed…” Surely not the start to their wedding day the couple had envisioned!
Maybe it was a Priest Hole rather than a “crack in the hearth”….
* * *
I first encountered Queen Luise in the delightful little portrait by Elisabeth Vigée Lebrun (see her oeuvre at Batguano). So it was wonderful to see a book dedicated to her clothing mentioned on Kleidung um 1800 – Sabine always finds the most fascinating books! I only wish my German language skills weren’t so rusty…
The book is Luise – Die Kleider der Königin. The television “short” I found about the exhibition which was the basis for the book is also in German: but it is a FEAST for the eyes. Take a look:
Aren’t these DETAILS simply gorgeous?
Such well-preserved gowns are so wonderful to see.
And here is the Queen herself:
Some links which will tell you about the royal residence and the exhibition:
- The Führer (PDF)
- The Ausstellung (31 Juli 2010 bis 31 Oktober 2010)
- Prussian (Berlin) Castles and Gardens (PDF)
The woman German World magazine called “the ‘Lady Diana’ of the 19th century“, was born Duchess Luise Auguste Wilhelmine Amalie of Mecklenburg-Strelitz — niece to Britain’s Queen Charlotte.
Queen Luise would not live to see the end of the Napoleonic Wars; she died in July 1810 – aged only 35. Her husband, Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia Mary Gosling would mention in her earliest (1814) diary.
Read more and See more Königin Luise via google.
Listening to this, it caught my imagination that so many of the words could (perhaps?) describe the feelings that might have run through Mary Gosling’s mind when it was announced that Charles Smith was to marry Belinda Colebrooke.
Charles proposed, witnessed by Caroline Wiggett, in Paris, near the end of the family’s year abroad (1822-1823). Charles and Belinda married in October, 1823.
I heard … that you found a girl and you’re married now… Old friend, why are you so shy?
For me, it isn’t over.
Who would have known, how bittersweet…?
Mary’s “someone like you” turned out to be Charles himself…
They married in July, 1826.