New Portraits!

July 11, 2013 at 9:43 pm (news, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , , , )

While looking at the BBC “Your Paintings” website, I’ve unearthed a couple of new images, including this one of the Smiths’ cousin Spencer, Marquess of Northampton, by Thomas Phillips.

Phillips is of interest because he reportedly painted a portrait of Mrs Drummond Smith (the former Mary Cunliffe); and “the circle of Thomas Phillips” is credited with the portrait of Joshua Smith of Erle Stoke Park, which is also found on the BBC site.

Spencer’s portrait was presented to the Royal Society c1849, and was painted c1845. Other images of Spencer Compton is presented in the “portraits” page.

The other portrait find is of Thomas Gardiner Bramston, of Skreens, the father of John Bramston – who evidently proposed to Charlotte Smith, but ultimately married Clarissa Trant.

Emma’s 1831 diary mentions the death of Mr Bramston of Skreens – but offers up no details; maybe she didn’t know them. If you read the above link, you’ll learn about Mr Bramston’s parliamentary career as well as some details of his death.

*NEW* and a little more digging at the BBC unearthed four portraits — two hitherto unseen! — of Spencer Compton’s daughter, Lady Marian Alford. My favorite has been added to the “portraits” page.

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Brothers & Sisters: Clarissa Trant speaks

June 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm (books, diaries, people) (, , , , , )

So many books; so little time! (Working for a living is a curse…)

While flipping through the delightful Journal of Clarissa Trant, 1800-1832, I came across this most telling description of what made for an attractive man in the eyes of a young lady of taste, distinction, and wide travelling-experience.

“What a desert Brighton, gay and brilliant as it is, would have been to me but for them {the Boyles}. Was introduced to their handsome brother Charles, who is just arrived from the Continent. Caddy{Caroline Boyle} may well be proud of her Brother — he is so kind to his sisters and so very prepossessing both in appearance and manner.” [4 Jan 1829]

and then: “To my great annoyance Mr. Charles Boyle called three times whilst I was out.” [7 Jan]

He returns the following day: “At four o’clock Mr. C. Boyle… paid me a visit… He is indeed singularly handsome, but his great merit in my eyes is his devoted affection to his sister.”

Although I have yet to find much interaction between Clarissa and the Smiths of Suttons, the Smiths certainly knew of her — for she married John Bramston of Skreens. Some tense feelings prevailed: John had proposed to Emma’s younger sister Charlotte and not been accepted. Had Charlotte expected John to propose a second time? Or had she already had her eye on Arthur Currie? The family was, I can say, perturbed that John Bramston would involve himself with Miss Trant a while later… Such convoluted little mysteries keep me digging!

Mamma could write Emma the following year: “I have some news to announce… It destroyed the romance of real life, & proves the inconstancy of man. John Bramston has forgot his first love; and taken a second; he writes to Spencer a very chearful & lover like letter… — not a word of his Sister Elizabeth, he is too full of his own happiness. But he desires it may be a secret at present within our own Family, including you & Edward, … so pray be discreet; you may tell Augusta, & do write me all your comments.” Oh! for that letter of Emma’s

As always, a plea: if you have ANY correspondence (diaries count too!) relating to these people, do drop me a line!

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Bramston of Skreens

July 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm (books, estates, news, people, places, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , )

Happy are the days when you pull out an old book and find a new “find”! Years ago I got the Journal of Clarissa Trant. I had long known she married John Bramston, the young son of the Bramstons of Skreens who came and went with such frequency through the diaries of the Smiths of Suttons. Last night, I pulled out the Journal once again, to see what Clarissa had to say about her upbringing — though done mainly on the Continent, it was far different from anything the young Smiths knew.

Looking at the list of illustrations today I was surprised to be “reminded” that the Journal ends with words about her marriage — and a portrait of young John Bramston!

So here a new portrait enters our little blog family:

The Journal puts the portrait as c1826, and assumes it was done during a trip to the Continent.

John Bramston is an interesting figure in the Smiths history because he seems at one point to have been attached to Emma’s younger sister, Charlotte. He seems to have withdrawn, causing the Smiths a bit of… hmm… how shall I put this? to be a bit peeved at him…

Four years ago, when at Duke University, I looked at the unpublished diaries of Clarissa Trant Bramston, hoping for SOME comments about the Smiths; I found nothing. Did the junior branch of the Bramstons fall out of favor with the Smiths? Did John’s wife not associate with his old friends, and their neighbors? Some questions are still yet to be answered.

To see other portraits, gathered mainly from online sources, see PORTRAITS.

A nice little web history of Clarissa Trant can be found here.

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