Beechey’s Decolletage

May 26, 2013 at 11:17 am (fashion, history, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , )

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.

Beechey-MaryAnd yet…

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!

beechey_portrait girl

Portrait of a Girl, c1790

beechey_MissHarrietBeechey

Harriet Beechey (undated)

beechey_ElizabethBeresford

Miss Elizabeth Beresford (undated)

Beechey-LadyClintonWalters

Lady Clinton Walters (c1810)

beechey_lady_elizabeth_cole

Lady Elizabeth Cole (undated)

beechey_portrait lady

Portrait of a Lady (1825)

beechey_frances addington

Frances Addington (c1805)

beechey-AnnLee

Miss Ann Lee (undated)

beechey_Miss Abernathy

this last might have made Victorian-era Elizabeth Christie blush:
Miss Abernathy (undated)

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What if you threw a PARTY – and everyone came?!

April 3, 2011 at 1:01 pm (entertainment, news, people, places) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

My first clue was Emma’s 1816 diary, in which she writes:

May 2, Thursday,  Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper

This ball made headlines! From the Morning Post for 4 May 1816:

Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball.
A very splendid Ball and Supper were given by that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world, on Thursday night, in Portland-place. The superb mansion put on all its attractions. The outer and inner hall were decorated with flowers and exotic plants.

The magnificent staircase was lighted up with crystal lamps; the Ball-room illuminated by costly chandeliers and lustres. The latter apartment was of great extent, in consequence of the whole suit [sic: suite] of rooms being thrown into one, through the medium of the folding doors, acting upon a retiring principle. The floor was admirably decorated by that skilful artist, Mr. ELMSMORE; it represented flowers in wreaths, and figures.

Dancing commenced at eleven o’clock, led off by Mr. PAULET and the accomplished Miss GOSLING {Elizabeth Gosling, Mary’s eldest sister; the future Mrs Langham Christie}. About fifteen couples followed. Waltzing was also introduced. At two o’clock, the company adjourned to the supper-room. Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.

Every decorative ornament was used to give zest to a most excellent banquet consisting of every delicacy. Covers were laid in three rooms on the ground floor, for two hundred and ten persons. The party exceeding that number, an apartment on the first floor was set apart for the supernumeraries, exceeding fifty. [so, in reality, 260+ people attended!]

The dancing recommenced at three o’clock, and was kept up with proper spirit until six; after this a dejeune was served up in the best possible style. At seven in the morning the company separated.

An even-more-splendid write-up appears the following year (again in the Morning Post), 23 April 1817:
Mrs. Gosling’s Ball.
 A Waltz and Quadrille Ball was given in Portland-place, on Monday evening, to a circle of fashionables, exceeding 300 in number. As the mansion is one of the best built, and the best furnished, in that quarter of the town, it appeared, of course, when brilliantly lighted up, and filled with an assemblage of beautiful women, elegantly dressed, to great advantage. There were three drawing-rooms thrown open, pannelled with mirrors, from the ceiling to the floor; the fourth room attracted its share of admiration; it was one of the prettiest boudoirs in the town, fitted up with extraordinary taste. This room was appropriated for cards. Dancing commenced at a quarter past eleven, led off by the accomplished Miss GOSLING and a Military Gentleman, whose name we could not learn. Several sets danced in the saloon. On the ground floor, the library and great eating-room were thrown open; they are highly enriched by the most rare productions in nature and art; the pictures are particularly deserving of praise, being all chefs d’oeuvre of the old master. At half-past four this delightful treat concluded. A sandwich supper was given. There were present the following leaders in gay life, viz.:—
 
Well, that lengthy paragraph my tired little fingers will let your tired little eyes peruse! And now a gallop to the finish: 
 
The outer and inner halls, and the grand staircase were illuminated in a nouvelle and pleasing style. A prodigious quantity of flowering shrubs decorated the recesses.. In short, nothing was wanting to give effect to the scene.
Whew…
Maybe next I should mention a few little details about Mrs. William Gosling, née the Hon. Charlotte de Grey.
***
The above illustration is from Ackermann’s Repository for May 1816.
Read Charlotte Gosling’s guest list:

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