Belated Birthday Greetings: Hugh Laurie

June 12, 2015 at 2:12 pm (british royalty, entertainment) (, , )

Missed it by one day (June 11th):

blackadder

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Lady Jersey: “Setting her Cap”

March 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm (diaries, entertainment, fashion, history, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Have been inhabiting the “Beau Monde” world of the 1790s, and am thoroughly enjoying myself! After having my internet connect down for a week (severe withdrawal symptoms…), I’m now able to cast about for information on one name that turned up: Lady Jersey.

lady jersey

There are several ‘depictions’ of the notorious lover of the Prince of Wales, who evidently honored the lady with his attentions for nearly a decade (1793-1799), at the National Portrait Gallery – by Gillray. “A Lady putting on her cap” (detail above) was published in June 1795. The British Museum gives a nicely-minute description of the scene and some of the “symbolism”. A (short) discussion of the print occurs in the 1848 book England Under the House of Hanover (vol 2).

MY interest in Lady Jersey (née Frances Twysden; AKA Frances Villiers) comes from a letter, which indicates that the Prince of Wales pressed to have Mrs Drummond Smith invite Lady Jersey to one of her soirées in 1797. The hostess was not interested. Oh! for more Smith & Gosling tales along that line!

For inquiring minds, I include two blogs that make mention of Lady Jersey:

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Sir William Knighton now appearing on Weebly

June 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm (books, british royalty, history) (, , , , , )

Frost_Knighton

Author Charlotte Frost recently announced that her book on Sir William Knighton, entitled Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician, now has its own website! Read reviews, buy the book. I wait with great anticipation for her “outtakes” section. Sir William being Uncle to my slew of Seymour siblings: Richard Seymour, Sir John Culme Seymour, Frances Seymour, Dora Seymour.

You can read about Charlotte Frost on this two-part interview (links below) conducted with her not long after she informed TWO TEENS IN THE TIME OF AUSTEN that her Knighton biography existed. It was then, and continues to be, thrilling to hear about all aspects of this author’s historical investigations.

You, too, can be immersed in the world of Prinny / George, The Prince of Wales / George IV that Charlotte Frost has been uncovering.

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Prinny’s Tailor

April 22, 2013 at 11:59 pm (books, british royalty, fashion, history, news, people) (, , , , , , )

Charlotte Frost (you will find fascinating items via her Twitter feed!) mentioned to me a wonderful WordPress blog on Louis Bazalgette (1750-1830), tailor to George The Prince of Wales.

additional items to peruse on the same subject:

Author Charles Bazalgette has been researching his ancestor for over fifteen years – turning up (among other items) original bank records — alas: with Coutts, rather than Goslings & Sharpe.

prinnys_taylor

as a P.S., you can read Charles Bazalgette’s review of Charlotte Frost’s biography of Sir William Knighton — who was uncle to Smith&Gosling in-laws Richard Seymour (husband to Fanny Smith) and Frances Seymour (wife to Spencer Smith).

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Enter Stage Right: Sir William Knighton

April 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm (books, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , )

We are in conversation (part II) with biographer Charlotte Frost, about her new book Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician:

[NB: read part 1]

Q: Did you hope to find a certain story in Knighton’s life? Did what you uncover answer that initial thought, or were you constantly uncovering new and different twists?

Charlotte Frost: More a matter of what I hoped not to find. Had I discovered that Knighton had done something truly shameful I would have had to include it. That’s why I hesitated about contacting Knighton’s descendants. I didn’t want to be welcomed into their homes or be given copies of private family documents, only to publish a damning account of their forebear. And finding a dark, sinister side to Knighton would have wrecked my wonderful Word master plan for a sympathetic biography!

Q: In researching the career of Knighton, was there a particular question or historical conundrum you hoped to answer? Did the answer appear?

CF: I failed to identify why Knighton was sceptical about some of the medical education he received in London. New medical ideas were evolving in France, but I don’t know whether he was exposed to them.

Q: Was there any surprise in what you found out about Knighton, his career, his biography, his family?

CF: I was taken aback by discrepancies between the Memoir’s account of Knighton’s early years and the account suggested in primary sources. The explanation perhaps died with those who knew it, or it may survive in oblique references yet to be discovered.

Q: What about the period interested you the most?

CF: It was a gentler era than those that preceded it. When Knighton was accused of corruption he was satirised in a cartoon, not put on the rack. The cruellest forms of execution became unacceptable, and were abolished. Injustices still thrived, but they began to be seen for what they were.

Q: Where there other characters — those people whom Knighton knew or encountered — whom you wished to spend more time on?

CF: Knighton’s dealings with the poets and radicals in the 1810s needs more attention. Timely journal article seeks author!

Q: You list many books in your bibliography; was there any one or two books that you particularly would recommend to students of the period?

CF: For all its difficulties, I recommend the Memoir. The universal financial insecurity of the age is reflected in pleas for Knighton’s intervention from educated men too ill or old to continue their professions. His Seymour in-laws experienced the same difficulties as every naval family. Knighton was not the only man of his era to examine his soul in the light of Evangelical preaching. And his contempt for and alarm at popular protest is that of a generation that grew up in fear of revolution.

Q: The nature of primary research means that we find what still exists; is there any item(s) you wanted to find, or had hoped still existed?

CF: An unfinished portrait of Knighton’s wife, Dorothea, by Sir Thomas Lawrence. And miniatures of Knighton, Dorothea and their daughter that Knighton commissioned before he went to Spain.

Q: Have you any stories to pass along about doing primary research? (Gaining access to archives? transcriptions? old and fragile items? etc)

CF: I have some wonderful memories of research, but I’m haunted by the time, money and energy I’ve wasted. Reading a London street directory on microfilm, I mistook Knighton’s first London address for No 23 Argyll Street. Only after several years in search of corroborative evidence did I discover from a printed directory that he lived at No 28, which I was immediately able to confirm. I made numerous visits to The National Archives for information that was held at the Royal College of Surgeons, and I pestered the British Library for a copy of a print held at the British Museum.

Q: How did your family handle “living with the Knightons”?

CF: My significant other refers to Knighton as ‘the other man’, and is relieved to see him in print.

Q: Please describe for our readers former projects; future projects.

A: I have been a late learner, not taking my first degree until I was thirty, and not rediscovering a childhood love of history until I was in my forties. Until now my historical output has been researching and reporting in response to community history requests, giving occasional talks and submitting work for academic assessment. If I had to put a label on myself, I’d say ‘independent researcher’ but not ‘independent scholar’. My biography of Knighton marks my transition to author — someone who has found her voice. I don’t rule out further academically assessed study, but at present I feel ‘essayed out’. I want to do my own work, not what other people think I should do. But to stay fresh and sharp I need to keep in touch with academic life. I can’t bask in a post-publication comfort bubble.

I’ve started investigating loans that the Prince of Wales and his brothers incurred in a few short years in the late 1780s-early 1790s. Not biography, but the story behind each loan – who were the lenders, did they get their money back and, if not, how did they cope? I don’t yet know whether I’m revealing a gripping tale of suicide, assassination and missing diamonds, or wasting my time with two-hundred-year-old allegations that can be neither proved or disproved.

Find Sir William Knighton online:

 Charlotte Frost, Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician
info & purchase through Authors OnLine
the book’s page at Amazon.co.uk
Charlotte Frost’s author page at Amazon.co.uk

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Sir William Knighton at Carlton House

April 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In “conversation” with author CHARLOTTE FROST, whose biography on Sir William Knighton is on bookstore shelves now, she wrote the following comment about Mrs Gosling’s ball:

“No Sir William and Lady Knighton at Mrs Gosling’s Ball! Knighton was once spotted at the Children’s Ball at Carlton House, but unaccompanied by any of his children.”

The one caveat I might have — given that the guests numbered over 200 persons and the newspaper reported so few of those guests — is, if Sir William and Lady Knighton were in town that May of 1816 I wouldn’t wonder that they were present. Why? The Goslings had their own “royal” connections. But, for now, we can only surmise…

To get back to Charlotte Frost—

Searching for Sir William information, I came across this little tidbit:

9th December Friends of Havant Museum

5 months ago on The Mayor of Havant
Tonight I had been invited to the Friends of Havant Museum Christmas Meeting at The Spring. As the Mayor of Havant I automatically become a Patron for my Mayoral Year. There was a very interesting speaker Miss Charlotte Frost who gave a talk entitled A courtier’s virtuous retirement; Sir William Knighton at Blendworth 1820-1836.
 
Lucky were those in the audience that evening!
 
And lucky will be readers of Two Teens in the Time of Austen: We’ll be “in conversation” with Ms. Frost in my next posting! In the meantime, take a look at her new biography: Sir William Knighton: The strange Career of a Regency Physician.
 
You can obtain a copy through authorsonline (1) e-book or (2) paperback; also available via Amazon.co.uk. If you like to support independent booksellers, why not order through my favorite in Nantwich, England: Nantwich Bookshop!

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