Two Views of Lady Frances Compton

February 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm (british royalty, entertainment, fashion, history, news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , )

Today I was backtracking, re-reading some correspondence of Sir Walter Scott. In 1815 he was meeting for the first time some of the family of Lord Compton — future husband to Margaret Maclean Clephane.

It was his description of Lady Frances Compton that made me seek out some more information. And unearthed this lovely little miniature of her!

In the Smith letters, Lady Frances hovers around the edges. She is often abroad (sometimes in company with Aunt Emma, I dare say). The siblings call her ‘Aunt Frances’. Funnily enough, Walter Scott seems to write of her as “Lady Francis Compton”. Maybe not an inappropriate spelling, given his story….

First, here is a glimpse of Lady Frances, at “Her Majesty’s Drawing-Room“, reported in La Belle Assemblée (1816):

Lady Frances Compton.

    A petticoat of white satin, with draperies of embroidered silver net; train of Saxon blue satin, trimmed with silver lama lace.

The occasion celebrated the marriage of HRH the Princess Charlotte.

Walter Scott’s comment on the lady is rather remarkable; he is writing a year earlier, in April 1815:

Compton_Lady FrancesI have missed the post and cannot help myself till Monday there being none tomorrow in this God fearing and religious capital. I will see Lord G. after breakfast tomorrow perhaps before for I thought it necessary to accustom Lady Francis [sic] Compton to the voracity of a Scotchman at breakfast that she may not be surprised at the cousins whom the Isle of Mull may send upon an occasional visit and at breakfast you know I can match any highland man of them all. She is a spirited old lady fond of dogs and horses and had a pair of loaded pistols to defend her house in person when it was threatened in the corn bill riots.

(the miniature, left, sold at Sotheby’s in 2006)

Lady Frances died in February 1832, aged 74 – making her about 57 when Scott found her “a spirited old lady”. I like the fact that she could wield a brace of pistols!

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Princess Charlotte’s Dresses – Royal Wedding, 1816

April 30, 2011 at 11:57 am (british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , )

The day after the wedding of the Princess Charlotte of Wales to Prince Leopold, the following ran in The Morning Post:

“According to our promise yesterday, we submit the following description of the elegant Wedding Suits, &c. of her Royal Highness the Princess Charlotte, executed by Mrs. Triaud, of Bolton-street, Milliner, Dress, and Court Dress Maker, by appointment, to her Royal Highness: —

1. The Wedding Dress, composed of a most magnificent silver lama, on net, over a rich silver tissue slip, with a superb border of silver lama embroidery at the bottom, forming shells and bouquets; above the border a most elegant fulling, tastefully designed, in festoons of rich silver lama, and finished with a very brilliant row of lama. The body and sleeves to correspond, trimmed with most beautiful Brussels point lace, in a peculiarly elegant style, &c. The manteau of rich silver tissue, lined with white satin, trimmed round with a most superb silver lama border, in shells, to correspond with the dress, and fastened in front with a most brilliant and tasteful ornament of diamonds. The whole of the dress surpassed all conception, particularly in the brilliancy and richness of its effect. Head dress, a wreath of rose-buds and leaves, composed of the most superb brilliants.”

The newspaper then goes on to describe eleven other dresses! They then pronounce, “Our limits will not permit us to proceed farther; but it suffices to say, that several other dresses, equally rich and beautiful in effect, but too numberous to be described, complete this part of her Royal Highness’s marriage suits.” Those curious to see the entire list: email me, or post a comment here with your email address.

“The three following were among the other numerous and splendid dresses for the occasion, particularly admired, which were also executed by Mrs. Triaud [my! she was one busy lady]:

Lady Emily Murray [a description follows]
Lady Elizabeth Montague [ditto]
Mrs. Campbell [ditto]

The reader is then treated with a run down of the costumes of some luminaries present: Princess Augusta, Princess Mary, Princess Sophia of Gloucester. The Marchioness of Winchester, the Dowager Countess of Pembroke, Lady Radstock, Lady Isabella Thynne; Lady Mary Paulett, The Hon. Mrs. Courtny [sic] Boyle, Mrs. Courtnay Boyle, Mrs. Adams.

Now, Lady Mary Paulett is of interest: this young lady was the daughter of Earl Paulett (also found it spelled Poulett) — he would quite soon wed the widowed Lady Smith Burgess! It must be remembered, that the Duke of Clarence would give that bride away. Oh…, what family members (whom I do not know attended) might have attended the wedding of the Princess Charlotte then?!

The gentlemen take up far less room in the article (of course!) – their costume consisting of many military uniforms or velvet suits. Among those mentioned: The Prince Regent (how could he not be?!), The Dukes of York and Clarence, the Prince Coburg; the Marquis of Hertford; Edward Disbrowe; Viscount Lord Lake, Robert Chester, the Rt Hon. Charles Arbuthnot, the Marquis of Cholmondeley, and the Hon. C. Percy.

There are Disbrowes who show up in my research; who could this particular Edward be? He is described here as the Vice Chamberlain to the Queen, and (though it sounds so funny) is described as in “A suit nearly the same as the Marquis of Hertford.” No one would dare write such about two ladies!

NB: I received today a curious little email, dated April 29th, sent from the Blackberry of a British acquaintance who claimed to have “been at a certain wedding”. Really? More details, if I get them!

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“Dearly Beloved” – Royal Wedding circa 1816

April 29, 2011 at 7:46 am (british royalty, fashion, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , )

In the papers, in January 1816, this announcement:

“It is rumoured among the Court Circles that a marriage is agreed on between the Princess Charlotte of Wales and Prince De Cobourg.”

Come May the papers could say, “The Royal marriage continues fixed for Thursday, at Carlton House — the ceremony to take place in the evening, after a grand entertainment, to which 140 are invited.

Mr. Satterfield, linen-draper to their Majesties, is said to have presented the Princess Charlotte with a dress of Manchester manufacture; and Miss Harrison, confectioner to the Princess, has also presented her with a large bride cake, beautifully ornamented with arms, &c. — both were graciously accepted.

No less than three artists at one time were taking likenesses of the Princess Caroline on Thursday, as her Royal Highness sat at Cranbourne Lodge, viz. Rosenberg, sen. and jun. taking her profile and miniature, and Turnerelli modelling her bust.

Prince Leopold arrived at Windsor on the 22d, and continued there the whole week in close attention to the Queen, Princesses, and more particularly to his intended bridge. –Prince Leopold left Windsor Castle on Monday, and was met at Turnham Green by several carriages and officers of the Regent’s household, who conducted him to Clarence House, in the Stable Yard, where he was received in state by the Ministers, &c. &c. who were invited to dine with him the following day.”

On the same page as some Royal news, this insert about the Hon. Charlotte Gosling: “We have authority to state, that Mrs. William Gosling’s Ball in Portland-place, which was to have been on Friday, the 3d of May, is to take place on Thursday, the 2d.” Surely, then, this was some ball related to the royal wedding!

In Emma’s diary is this snippet: “Mama & Augusta went to Mrs Goslings ball & supper”.

Of this “very splendid Ball and Supper” The Morning Post called Charlotte “that distinguished luminary in the fashionable world” and termed No. 5 Portland Place a “superb mansion decorated with flowers and exotic plants.” “Here was a matchless specimen of taste and elegance.”

The day before the wedding “Prince Leopold returned to Clarence House, where after partaking of some refreshment, he went out in a private carriage attended by Sir Robert Gardner, and rode in the Parks. His Serene Highness got out of the carriage and walked in Hyde Park, without being recognized by any person except the Marquis of Anglesea, who was driving in his curricle, and stopped and spoke to his Serene Highness. On his return to Clarence House he was received with acclamations by a crowd collected round the house; he afterwards continued to appear frequently at the window of the balcony on the first floor, to gratify the curiosity of the spectators, till seven o’lock, when he retired to dinner, at which he entertained the Foreign Ambassadors and Ministers.”

“The dinner was served up in the dining parlour, in a very elegant and splendid manner. The table was decorated with a very brilliant plateau, and delicately white ornaments. The illumination of the room continued to attract the multitude, but they behaved very orderly. Great part of the populace were drawn away at four o’clock to Cumberland House, in consequence of the arrival of the Prince Regent… The Regent remained there till near six, when he was received with loud cheering by the populace.

Great numbers of Noblemen and Gentlemen resorted to Clarence House during the day, to make their respectful inquiries. A large assemblage of rank and fashion, to the amount of several hundreds, also paid their respects to the Princess Charlotte at Warwick House.”

The dress comes up for mention next:

“Tuesday last was the day appointed for the inspection of her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte’s wedding suits, &c. which were executed by Mrs. Triaud, Bolton-street, in a style, peculiarly elegant, and appropriately splendid for the occasion, when her Majesty, his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, the Princesses, and all the Illustrious Personages present, were pleased to express their highest approbation of the exquisite taste and magnificence display in the various designs. We shall to-morrow, present to our readers a full description of this truly elegant portion of the Royal marriage preparations.–”

from the BBC: read about today’s wedding
watch: Five Royal Wedding Dresses

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