Gouveneur Morris meets Lady Cunliffe & Daughters

May 7, 2013 at 8:35 am (books, diaries, history, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

Thank you, Charlotte Frost (meet the author yourself, Dear Reader, on Twitter), for reminding me about a meeting that took place in 1790 in which Gouverneur Morris (famous to Americans) noted in his diary a meeting with my Lady Cundliffe (as he calls her) and her daughters, Mary (Mrs Drummond Smith) and Eliza (later: Mrs William Gosling).

morrisI typically put such comments into my “letters” files now; but this was a comment found so early on in the research (it began 7 years ago) that I remembered it having happened — but NOT what the man had written about them (that’s why I BUY books: to have them on the shelf to take down when I want them). In searching out the online book links for Charlotte Frost, I re-read the entry.

WOW!

“To-day [April 23d (1790)] I dine with my brother, General Morris. The company are a Lady Cundliffe, with her daughters, Mrs. Drummond Smith and Miss Cundliffe; the Marquis of Huntly, Lord Eglinton, General Murry, Mr. Drummond Smith (who, they tell me, is one of the richest commoners in England), and Colonel Morrison of the Guards. After dinner there is a great deal of company collected in the drawing-room, to some of whom I am presented; the Ladies Hays, who are very handsome, Lady Tancred and her sister, and Miss Byron are here, Mr. and Mrs. Montresor. I am particularly presented to Colonel Morrison, who is the quartermaster-general of this kingdom, and whose daughter also is here. She has a fine, expressive countenance, and is, they tell me, of such a romantic turn of mind as to have refused many good offers of marriage because she did not like the men. I have some little conversation with Mrs. Smith after dinner. She appears to have good dispositions for making a friendly connection, as far as one may venture to judge by the glance of the eye. Visit Mrs. Cosway, and find here Lady Townsend, with her daughter-in-law and daughter. The conversation here (as, indeed, everywhere else) turns on the man (or rather monster) who for several days past has amused himself with cutting and wounding women in the streets. One unhappy victim of his inhuman rage is dead. Go from hence to Drury Lane Theatre. The pieces we went to see were not acted, but instead, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Spoiled Child.’ This last is said to have been written by Mrs. Jordan. She plays excellently in it, and so, indeed she does in the principle piece.  Two tickets have been given me for the trial of Warren Hastings….” [pp 317-18]

Morris, from just this passage, seems to have had an eye for the ladies, don’t you think?

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My two Cunliffe girls have short histories. Mary, who married Drummond Smith (brother to Joshua Smith – father of Maria, Eliza, Augusta, and Emma Smith – the girls of Erle Stoke Park, Wiltshire), was a new-ish bride. She had married in July 1786. Without a definitive birth date she was born circa 1762; her husband, born in July 1740, was about twenty-two years her senior! At this point in time, I have no real idea how the families met, why Mary Cunliffe and Drummond Smith married. I do know that Mary’s sister, Eliza Cunliffe, became a great friend to all the Smiths at Erle Stoke, though perhaps especially to second daughter Eliza (the future Mrs William Chute, of The Vyne).

It breaks my heart to think of Eliza Gosling, who married banker William soon after friend Eliza married her William (September 1793). She either was or came to be in fragile health. Eliza Chute worried about her having more children, writing that FIVE were enough in her nursery. The fifth Gosling child was my Mary Gosling (born February 1800) – obviously named for her Aunt and Grandmother.

But: Did Mary remember either her mother or her Aunt Mary? In December 1803, Eliza Gosling died. And by the end of February 1804 so had her sister! So it is with awe that I re-read Morris’ comments. This prior Mary Smith was destined never to become LADY SMITH; Drummond received his baronetcy months after her death. (Mary Gosling’s future husband would inherit the title from his great-uncle in 1816.) Simply WONDERFUL to hear that this Mary Smith seemed to have “good dispositions for making a friendly connection”.

morris2

NB: I am quite intrigued by his comment about the ‘monster’ on the loose.
I must find out more.

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Hmmm… whatever happened to ‘choosy’ Miss Morrison?

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Prior post on Lady Cunliffe

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Hear a letter from Augusta Smith to Eliza Gosling, 1797
(YouTube)

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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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Frost Tweets: Regency Clothes on Pinterest

July 18, 2012 at 9:35 pm (europe, fashion, history) (, , , , , , , )

click to tweet with Charlotte Frost

Charlotte Frost, whose “tweets” are consistently informative, notified readers of this Pinterest board on LOVELY GOWNS pinned by Lady TranbyCroft.

The photos of vintage clothing are truly lovely.

The bulk of the gowns range in date from late 18th century well into the late 19th century, but it’s the simpler gowns from the Rengecy – when my girls were young, unmarried teenagers, that really grab my attention.

Among my favorites: the amber-colored gown with the lower skirt embroidery (beadwork?), pinned from the Republic of Pemberley. Also, the white gown “close-up” from the V&A, which really shows off the gown’s workmanship. And who wouldn’t notice a Union Jack gown if that walked into the room?!?

Don’t miss Lady TranbyCroft’s other boards, including one for Regency Men’s Fashions.

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Elusive Eliza Smith (Sarah Eliza, Lady Le Marchant)

March 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm (news, people, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

GROAN!

The ever-so-obliging Charlotte Frost, author of the new biography on Sir William Knighton, a Regency-era physician (include among his patrons, the Prince of Wales), consented to do a little research for me while she was consulting the Parliamentary Archives on her own behalf. What she turned up, however, was not quite what I had expected…

In the papers of Denis Le Marchant (at the archives) is a line item entitled “Photographs of Le Marchant family members“. The description reads: Four photographs entitled “Ewhurst, 1874, early photos of Le Marchant family”: Eliza Le Marchant, W G Le Marchant, H C Le Marchant and E T Le Marchant.

For a couple of years I’ve had dreams of seeing Eliza, Miss Sarah Eliza Smith, Lady Le Marchant.

Alas, alas… be careful what you wish for!

The foursome photographed individually are … all … CHILDREN! Not one “older” lady among them!

Charlotte kindly photographed the backside of them as well, and indeed they are ID’ed with the initials seen above. Maddeningly, someone seems to have “shrink wrapped” the pictures, along with the “envelope” they had once been kept in, which is attached to the backside. The writing on the back of the photos seems to read: W. Le M [this one cut off by the envelope; all you see is W L and part of the upper tail of the M]; H C Le M; and E.T. Le M — the fourth, a robust little boy — is entirely hidden by the envelope. He certainly is not “Eliza”!

The envelope reads:

Ewherst 1874 [looks more like Ervhist!]
Early Photoes [sic]
        of
[sth crossed out] E Le M
                                WG   ”   ”
                                H  C  ”    ”

So who even came up with the idea that any represented an Eliza?? And who is that fourth child?

Searching (for I had known all along the others were probably children, for the initials did not fit Eliza and Denis’ own immediate family), I find the following people:

  • Sir Edward Thomas Le Marchant, 4th bart (b 1871)
  • William Gaspard Le Marchant (b 1873)
  • Herbert Carey Le Marchant (b 1875) [which makes no sense with Ewhurst 1874… so somebody’s incorrect!]
  • and no mention of their daughter

These being children of the son of Denis and Eliza, Henry Denis Le Marchant (b 1839) and the hon. Sophia Strutt.

The Debrett’s of 1879 describes “Widow living of 1st Baront — SARAH ELIZA (Lady Le Marchant), da. of Charles Smith, Esq., formerly M.P. for Westbury; m. 1835 Sir Denis Le Marchant, 1st baronet, who d. 1874. Residence, 2, Easton Place West, S.W.”

Eliza, Lady Le Marchant, died in 1894.

Needless to say, I’m still on the HUNT for a photograph of the Elusive Eliza.

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Charlotte Frost: Sir William Knighton giveaway (contest)

January 8, 2012 at 5:04 am (books, news, people) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

 

Click on the above image to read more about entering this EXCITING giveaway: friend to Two Teens in the Time of Austen, author Charlotte Frost has written a wonderful guest post about her book Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician. Charlotte’s willing to answer questions, and commentors have an opportunity to win one of three copies of her Knighton biography! Jane Austen readers will recognize the world William Knighton inhabited: the court of the Prince Regent/King George IV. (Granted, the prince was not Austen’s favorite Royal…)

Be QUICK: The contest closes on 14th January. Open to “contestants” around the globe.

Charlotte Frost was lucky enough to do research in the Royal Archives, and Charlotte was twice “in conversation” here on this blog. Two Teens is indebted to her for a research trip she took to the Bodleian to photograph Fanny Smith’s sketchbooks. My “eyes” in Oxford! Charlotte’s biography on Knighton is a nice summation of a life few know about. Sir William Knighton was uncle-in-law to Fanny, and is mentioned several times in Richard Seymour’s diaries.

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Sunday morning update: I’ve had a look at the comments that are coming in – some great “dialogue” going on. Readers interested in the Regency era might appreciate the books being recommended. And, of course, I encourage people to comment & enter. Buy the book, if you don’t win (paperback or ebook formats available). I’ve read it!

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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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Sir William Knighton – New Biography!

January 21, 2011 at 10:54 am (books, news, people, places) (, , , , , , , )

Announcing…

from the publisher’s website:
“William Knighton is remembered as the indispensable confidant whom George IV trusted to act with efficiency and discretion in matters personal and constitutional, great and small. Between 1822 and 1830 Knighton was a national figure, the intermediary between George and most of the world, but his life at Court was a second career undertaken in early middle age. He was born a farmer’s son, came of age in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and for most of his working life earned his living as a doctor. As a physician Knighton was tied to the eighteenth century, skilled at diagnosis and prognosis but with only limited remedies to hand. As a courtier in the 1820s he served a monarch whose subjects feared revolution but favoured religious tolerance and the reform of public life, and in both careers he moved among larger-than-life characters. During his working life he witnessed the indiscretions of an age in which courtesans and mistresses held power, while retirement gave him leisure to despair of an England that had enacted the Great Electoral Reform Bill. He has much to offer historians. A confirmed landlubber who fled Plymouth to become obstetrician to London society, he was also the Everyman of maritime England who accepted ships and the sea as part of everyday life. His mother was a triumphant example of the advantages of business sense over gentility for Georgian women, while his discriminate exercise of patronage shows its acceptable use in the absence of alternatives.

Yet a study of Knighton’s life is more than a reflection of late Georgian England. He was not defined by the age in which he lived. The victories at Trafalgar and Waterloo, the insanity of one king and the extravagance of another, hard harvests, religious dissent and electoral reform were merely context. Knighton’s life was shaped by family secrets, a good marriage, a child’s death and a capricious employer – common experiences in every society and every age. His life was also shaped by his abilities. A fine intellect and capacity for hard work ensured success at whatever he attempted, but he lacked the spark of genius that would take him to the top of any one career or make it inevitable that he would follow one calling rather than another. With ambition and ability but no vocation, Knighton’s life was a series of choices. Some he made wisely. Others he was honest enough to regret.”

You can find more about Charlotte Frost and her new biography Sir William Knighton: The Strange Career of a Regency Physician on authorsonline.co.uk

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