Everything’s Comin’ up GEORGIAN

April 8, 2014 at 6:49 pm (british royalty, entertainment, history, news) (, , , , , , , , , )

In anticipation of the 300th anniversary of the accession of the first Hanoverian King (1 August) British television is beginning to present a lot of things “Georgian”.

A friend watched the first among this series  — and recommends the collaborative BBC2/BBC4/Radio3 EIGHTEENTH CENTURY BRITAIN: MAJESTY, MUSIC, AND MISCHIEF.

Being in the US, I can only look on, and drool. The BBC website has teasers that include:

  • Explore the story behind the Charity Concert “The Messiah” at the Foundling Hospital (1750)
  • The “mass consumption” of music
  • A look at “the first Georgians”
  • An examination of the World Premier, in Prague, of Mozart’s Don Giovanni

mozart_ye

And SO much more!

It’s a RICH era, and lucky will be those who can watch/listen, or find items online. READ more at The Telegraph.

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Robert Gosling: 200 Years ago TODAY

January 27, 2014 at 6:09 am (a day in the life, diaries, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , )

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 Church 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.

christ church college

    • 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)

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Letter to Mamma

April 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm (entertainment, history, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Last week I bid on this little snippet from the Smith & Gosling past:

mrs smith free front 1838

I suspect it once contained a letter written to Mamma by Eliza (and/or her husband Denis Le Marchant). The “frank” is described as the signature of Mr. Labouchere; it’s a REAL guess, because the Smiths obtained franks from so many quarters. Given the date and Denis’ position in the late 1830s, it’s a guess that makes me salivate for the letter it once contained!

My father rather scoffed when he saw the tiny scrap. I must admit to my own disappointment – but I simply had to have it. Something once addressed to Mamma Smith! It was the shock, genuine shock, of seeing MAPLEDURHAM as I looked through tons of letters online. Pity this one contained no actual letter… What might have been written in 1838 to Mamma?? Is the letter somewhere, waiting to be ‘reunited’ with its (partial) envelope?

I held the paper up to the window and spotted a fabulous watermark: a large fleur de lys and below this, J & M, written in script. The cartouche around the fleur de lys has been cropped — for this is only a Free Front: what you see in the image (above) is what I got.

It’s early days; my information on watermarks comes from a book (quite wonderful; called Mozart: Studies of the Autograph Scores) that out of necessity does not comment on English writing paper. IF anyone can ID the paper for me, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, have a look at this terrific set of watermarks from England and Continental papers.

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In with new / Out with old

January 13, 2013 at 12:22 am (entertainment, history, jane austen, news, people, portraits and paintings, travel) (, , , , , , )

In The Burlington Free Press a TINY notice from Vienna that the Salzburg Mozarteum authenticated a new portrait of MOZART. I don’t mention it often here, but I became a Mozart-fan after seeing (and seeing again) Amadeus. I’ve tons of books – even bought the German edition (four volumes; no commentary) of Mozart’s Correspondence AKA Mozarts Briefe – a magnificent set. I used to take the commentary out of the library (my set didn’t come complete: seven volumes). To me, this “standard” is what Austen studies needs to emulate: all the extant letters, scraps &c — ie, for the entire family; extensive commentary and indexing. Simply fabulous.

mozartwoche

Mozartwoche 2013: Coming Soon!

Looking, I found only the most shallow (repetitive) stories. There are so many questions! How do “they” know? If it’s been “centuries”, where was this portrait, who painted it? when? So much nothingness, that I link up this Washington Post story just for the curious. Still hoping to find some in-depth piece…

Part of the head-scratching for me is that another portrait has been discredited, the so-called Boy with Bird Nest. Similar questions pop into my head: why no longer thought to “be” Mozart? This question may be more easily answered. An interesting site called, what else?!, Mozart Portraits, talks about this portrait as possibly by Zoffany, and possibly a portrait of one of the three sons of Lord Bute (a theory being that Zoffany painted Bute’s boys and the nest was an ongoing motif for them). Nice collection of portraits — authentic, spurious, under consideration, and also fantasy & caricature!

Here’s my own little collection:

The Old: Boy with Nestmozart_old

mozart_newThe New: Detail

The Cute: by Liu Yemozart_ye
For a cartoon that had me LAUGHING OUT LOUD, see Pinterest.

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Mrs William Gosling’s Concert

October 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm (a day in the life, british royalty, entertainment, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Anyone reading Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know that I LOVE classical music. Mrs William Gosling, Mary’s stepmother was an inveterate “party, ball, concert” giver during the London season.

Thanks to Craig in Australia, I found the following newspaper announcement of a tremendous party given in 1821. It was reported in The Morning Post, Wednesday 6 June 1821:

“In Portland-place, on Monday evening, was attended by 300 fashionables. The music commenced at half-past ten, with an instrumental Septetto, the composition of HAYDN. An Aria, by Madame CAMPORESE, from Don Giovanni, accompanied by Mr. LINLEY, on the violoncello [sic], was a delightful treat. A duetto, by Madam CAMPORESE and Signor AMBROGETTI, from Il Turco in Italia, was followed by an air by Miss STEPHENS. ‘Hush, ye pretty warbling choir.’ Selections from HANDEL, ROSSINI, ROMBERG, MAYER, BISHOP, and BEETHOVEN. Leader of the Band, Mr KIESEWETTER; at the pianoforte, Sir George SMART.

Among the audience were —-
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess de Frias and suite, Bavarian Envoy, Marchioness of Salisbury and Lady Georgiana Wellesley, Sir William Abdy, Mr. and Lady Drummond, Miss Nugent, Lady Elizabeth Talbot, Mrs. Malcolm and Miss Macleod, Lady Robert and Miss Fitzgerald, Marchioness of Winchester and Lady Mary Paulet, Sir Eyre Coote, Mrs. and Misses Blackshaw, Earl and Countess Verulam, Countess of Westmeath, Mrs. Hope.”

What fun! though could _I_ ever envision a party for three hundred people?! Yow! Love the term “fashionables”! In a letter I have, from the Two Augustas (Mamma and her eldest daughter), they speak of Rossini being in London: did Mrs Gosling open her purse (as Augusta intimated would NOT be the case with another grand lady) and invite him to her home?

Do you think they served any Syllabub??

Because this 1824 article describes the layout of the house, I include this brief notice about Mrs Gosling’s “excellent quadrille Party” :

“The three drawing rooms were appropriated to dancing.

The supper was set out in the large bow banquetting-room, on the ground floor. There was an abundance of sparkling champaigne [sic], and fruits peculiar to the season…”

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In Memoriam

October 13, 2010 at 8:40 am (news) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Donna Anna…, Turandot…, Marie…, Violetta…

Just a few of the recordings I have, gathered in the early days of collecting and opera-going, that feature Dame Joan Sutherland.

Truly an “end of an era”, now that she is no longer with us. I never saw her in person, but if Mary and Emma had been alive in the 20th century, they undoubtedly would have experienced many of her performances — they loved music, and saw London performances of many “big names”. (I hate to confess it, but the girls rarely commented on how well they liked a singer or a performance; when they do, the comments are wonderful to read and interpret!)

Among the many articles on Dame Joan’s career came out, I found this one from Gainesville to be among the most in-depth.

Her own website might be of interest to opera fans, so I include a link to that here.

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Eine kleine “Antient Music”

January 20, 2009 at 5:50 pm (entertainment) (, , , , , , )

In Emma Smith’s diaries, which begin (as far as what is extant) in 1815, she time and again mentions a series of concerts which came under the general heading The Antient Music. Her sister Augusta was an especial fan. So imagine my surprise to see two volumes – one for 1829 and an earlier one from 1791 – dedicated to the programs and participants of these Antient Music concerts!!

Some very familiar names, thanks to the Smiths and Goslings seeing these artists perform — or hiring them for their own soirees:

* Mr W. Knyvett
* Mrs W. Knyvett
* Mr Vaughan
* Miss Stephens

Then there are the very well known, such as “Madame Malibran”!

These concerts were given under the “patronage of His Majesty,” and, in 1829, performed at the New Rooms, Hanover Square. Lists, such as these of performers and subscribers, as always most welcome; for what other printed matter can allow the researcher to look into a world two hundred years in the past? And maybe, just maybe, you find a correct spelling for a name, or a first name for someone’s last name.

For 1829, the year of Mary’s (Lady Smith) earliest diary and the year Emma’s little Cholmeley was born, we see the following familiar names among the subscribers:

* Mr. Gosling
* Miss Charlotte Gosling
* Mrs F. Gregg
* Miss Emily Gregg
* Miss Jessy Gregg
* Miss Harriet Gregg
* Mr. Richard Gosling
* Mrs. Richard Gosling
* Miss Smith

* Miss Jelfe
* Hon. Thomas Kenyon
* Hon. Mrs. Thomas Kenyon
* Miss Charlotte Kenyon
* Miss Kinnaird
* Rev. James Brownlow
* Sir Astley Cooper, Bt.
* Lady Astley Cooper
* Mr. William Courtenay
* Mr. W. Reginald Courtenay
* Mr. T.P. Courtenay
* Miss E. Courtenay
* Mr Capel
* Mrs Capel
* Miss Capel
* Lord Bishop of London
* Miss Neave
* Lord Nepean
* Dowager Countess Poulett
* Sir Lucas Pepys, Bart.
* Lady Pepys
* Mr Pepys
* Mrs Pepys
* Lady Sykes

See the whole list for yourself here; and don’t forget to take a look at the concerts being given that year! For instance, the concert which opened the season (Thursday, 5 March 1829)  under the “direction of His Grace The Archbishop of York, for His Royal Highness The Duke of Cumberland”. It featured music of Handel, Mozart, Graun, Handel, Geminiani, more Mozart, and a lot more Handel. Included with the words are detailed listings of who sang. It is possible that those programs which generated this book were among those seen in Augusta Smith’s sole sketchbook; Augusta used them as scrap paper! If so, the originals were a heavier card stock. She either used them because of a lack of anything else when the mood to draw struck her, or else she saved them in order to have some scrap. What a wonderful souvenir to unearth online!

As to the 1791 edition, again we see some of the family in attendance; these concerts were performed at the “New Rooms, Tottenham-street”:

* Mr Smith Burges
* Mr. R. Gosling
* Mr. W. Gosling
* Mrs. Gosling
* Mr. F. Gosling
* Mrs. F. Gosling
* Mr D. Smith
* Lady Sykes
* Miss Smith
* Bishop of Winchester

* Mr Houghton
* Mrs Houghton
* Mr. Bramstone
* Mrs. Bramstone
* Mr. Bosanquet
* Mrs Bosanquet
* Lord Brownlow
* Lord Bulkeley
* Lady Hotham
* Miss Hotham
* Sir Lucas Pepys
* The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire

An absolute THRILL is to see listed among the performers a certain “Miss Storace” and “Mr. Kelly” — they can only be Nancy Storace and Michael Kelly — two performers who premiered (1784) Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro!!! Madame Mara gets a mention or two in the letters of Mrs Lefroy (Jane Austen’s friend) and Mr Knyvett (presumably the father, Charles Knyvett senior) was among the soloists that year too.

NB: Poor Mozart would of course not see the end of 1791…

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