Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Historic Publications’ Category

In 1838, John Tallis, mapmaker, created a series of street views of central London that are breathtaking. His images showed detailed views of the streets using the facades of the buildings. These street views are much like we use Google street view today, giving us a sense of what the city looked like in the early Victorian era.

TALLIS, JOHN. TALLIS'S LONDON STREET VIEWS, EXHIBITING UPWARDS OF ONE HUNDRED BUILDINGS IN EACH NUMBER, ELEGANTLY ENGRAVED ON STEEL, WITH A COMMERCIAL DIRECTORY CORRECTED EVERY MONTH, THE WHOLE FORMING A COMPLETE STRANGER'S GUIDE THROUGH LONDON... THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS, PLACES OF AMUSEMENT, TRADESMEN'S SHOPS, NAME AND TRADE OF EVERY OCCUPANT. LONDON, N.D. [CA. 1840].

John Tallis’s view of Fleet Street, ca. 1840 Image @Christie’s.

This detail of a Tallis street view comes from the informative London Street Views blog.

This detailed view of a Tannis street view is the header of the of London Street Views blog.

This street view is the header of the of London Street Views blog.

This YouTube video clip of “London Low Life: (published by the Adam Matthew Group) uses a variety of maps to bring early Victorian London back to life. It includes a series of Tallis Street Views, which have been computer enhanced. The website, which is not free, is designed for students and scholars to explore 19th century London in great detail. The video was produced by Axis Maps (www.axismaps.com)

The blog, The Consecrated Eminence, gives you an idea of the size of Tallis’s  street views, which were modest when compared to the Grand architectural panorama of London: Regent Street to Westminster Abbey: from original drawings made expressly for the work by R. Sandeman, architect, and executed on wood by G.C. Leighton. Published by I. Whitelaw in 1849, which reached up to 22 feet in length. See the image at right and click here for more views.

grand2

Image of a street view based on Tallis’s maps at The Consecrated Eminence

More on the topic:

Image of John Tallis

Image of John Tallis

Read Full Post »

The Emporium at JASNA’s 2012 AGM in NYC provided several delightful surprises, among which was meeting the staff of Jane Austen’s World Magazine and Chawton House Library a their respective booths. Jane Austen’s Regency World editor, Tim Bullamore, was selling a variety of magazines and books. The music you hear in the background of the first video is William Herschel’s Sonata in D Op4 No4, which came with the March/April 2010 edition of the magazine. Tim also spoke about Sex, Money and Power in Death Obituaries in the Time of Jane Austen, which I will discuss in more detail in a later post. (Music: With permission from Tim Bullamore, CD from Mar/Apr issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World.)

The staff of Chawton House Library, shown behind the second booth, were  the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Stephen Lawrence, Director of Research, Dr. Gillian Dow, and Director of Development, Ms. Eleanor Marsden (in the last scene with Mr. Lawrence) were also at their stations during various times throughout the conference. It was a pleasure to meet them. Janeites will know Dr. Dow, who also lectures at the University of Southampton in England, from her articles and books on Jane Austen and women’ studies. I have had the pleasure in the past to email Stephen Lawrence about permissions from Chawton House, most particularly in reproducing images of Edward Austen Knight’s suit, which required extensive restoration. Read my article here.

Edward Austen Knight’s Frock coat with lining. Image @Chawton House

Some of the items I purchased from both booths are shown in the video below. I was most particularly pleased to purchase The Compleat Housewife by Elizabeth Smith, reissued by Chawton House. I also purchased four back issues of Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine. You will also see the lovely Sense and Sensibility the Musical booklets, which I used to take notes, the Conference workshop guide, and a tin of tea distributed by the Minneapolis MN JASNA group, where the 2013 AGM meeting will be held. Topic? Pride and Prejudice, of course.

Sandy Lerner, shown left below, one of the keynote speakers, is the driving force behind the resurrection of Chawton House, Edward Austen Knight’s second grand house, and Chawton House library.

Sandy Lerner, author of Second Impressions, and Rachel Brownstein, author of Why Jane Austen? at the author’s book signing at JASNA AGM

Second Impressions is written by Ava Farmer, Sandra Lerner’s nome de plume. Profits from the sale of this book go to the Chawton House library.

Read Full Post »

Dr. Syntax Visits a Boarding School for Young Ladies

One of the most unexpected (and wonderful) finds in the Emporium at the 2012 JASNA meeting in NYC were the four Rowlandson prints that I purchased. One, entitled “Dr. Syntax Visits a Boarding School for Young Ladies” is charming. I included a number of images I found online to accompany this post. Except for the composition, t is remarkable how strikingly different each looks. My print resembles none of the ones displayed here – it is slightly yellowed and delicately colored, but the colors are neither bright nor faded. I can’t wait to frame it.

Dr syntax visits a boarding school for young ladies,1821. This image from the Yale Center of British Art is much paler than mine, in which the headmistress’s skirt is colored red and the young ladies in the foreground wear colored dresses.

This 190+ year old hand-colored aquatint came from The Tour of Doctor Syntax, published by Ackermann’s Repository in London from 1812-1821. Dr. Syntax, a British clergyman, sits under a tree next to a stern looking Lady Governess, who addresses the young pupils arrayed around them. The scene accompanies text in The Second Tour of Dr. Syntax, In Search of Consolation. The illustration reveals how Rowlandson works, outlining the figures with a reed pen and then delicately washing certain areas of the print with color. His pen and inks were then etched by a professional engraver, an artist in his own right. The impressions were then hand colored.

Rowlandson’s Prints

Rowlandson was prolific. Art historians deem his earlier works to be more artistic and carefully observed. As his reputation spread, he began to produce his designs in haste and the quality of his art began to suffer. His caricatures became predictable and in some instances overly exaggerated, but he never lost the facility with which he handled his pen.

In this series, Rowlandson created the illustrations first. Writer James Combe then wrote the narrative that accompanies the images. “This series is one of the best parodies of the more traditional narratives on journeys to different parts of England featuring more “serious” landscape illustrations and prose.” ( Prints from The Tours of Dr. Syntax, Prints With a Past.)

This print is similar to the one I purchased, but slightly more colorful. Image from Dr. Syntax’s Three Tours at Internet Archive, Cornell University Library

Doctor Syntax talks to the Young Ladies at Boarding School

Below sits the text (in verse) that accompanied this image, in which Dr. Syntax expounds on his listeners’ youth and character, and how they can learn from good example:

In the following page, Dr. Syntax exhorts his young charges to never swerve from virtue’s path and to take care of their good looks, for “flowing looks display’d to view, of black or brown or auburn hue, and well combin’d in various ways, a certain admiration raise…”:

Dr. Syntax does not want for words. In fact, he is a bit of a windbag. How those girls could sit enraptured during this speech is a marvel to me. In this section the rich graces of the mind hold the beauty of the whole, the mortal form, th’ immortal soul.

I wonder if Dr. Syntax even drew breath! In this section the good doctor reinforces the concept that a woman’s place is in the home, overseeing the family and household.

The Doctor says his goodbye, admonishing the listeners to pay attention the kind preceptress, who “will explain what of this subject doth remain, and bring the whole before your view, to prove my solemn doctrine true.”

Sources: 

Books:

  • Dr. Syntax’s Three Tours Doctor Syntax’s three tours in search of the picturesque, consolation, and a wife. By William Combe. The original ed., complete and unabridged, with the life and adventures of the author, now first written, by John Camden Hotten. Eighty full page illustrations drawn and coloured after the originals by T. Rowlandson. Published 1868 by J. C. Hotten in London . Library of Congress, PR3359.C5 D6 1868

Other posts about the JASNA NYC 2012

Read Full Post »

Gentle readers, some months back Lucy Warriner expressed an interest in writing about Mary Darby Robinson. This past week she submitted this wonderful post about a fascinating and successful woman who embodied the Georgian Era – wife, mother, actress, mistress, and writer. Enjoy. Mary Darby Robinson (1758–1800) was a woman of considerable talent. She was one of the leading English actresses of her day, and she also published several volumes of poetry and prose. Yet Robinson’s tumultuous love life often rivaled her professional accomplishments. She was unhappily married, and the press maligned her for her affairs with the Prince of Wales and Revolutionary War veteran Banastre Tarleton. Mary Robinson’s autobiography, first published in 1801 as Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson, Written by Herself,sheds light on her fascination with the stage, which started at an early age and continued even after she became a full-time writer.

Bristol in the 18th century

Mary Darby, daughter of John Darby and Mary Seys Darby, was born in Bristol, England, on November 27, 1758. Her father pursued whaling in Labrador and America while she, her mother, and her four siblings remained in England. John Darby acquired a mistress, and after young Mary’s parents separated, the family finances were strained. However, John Darby intermittently funded his daughter’s education at schools in Chelsea, Battersea, and London. At Chelsea, teacher Meribah Lorrington fostered Mary’s love of reading and encouraged her when she began to write poetry.

Mrs. Robinson as Melania

As a fifteen-year-old student at Oxford House in Marylebone, Mary was still drafting poems, even planning a great tragedy. This was a fitting development, for she had long shown a flair for the sentimental and dramatic. As a child, she had delighted in sad poetry and music, and she loved “the awful though sublime impression which the church service never failed to make upon [her] feelings” (Robinson, Memoirs 8–9). The recollection of seeing King Lear, the first play she ever attended, remained vivid throughout her life. In time, one of Mary’s teachers at Oxford House noticed her “extraordinary genius for dramatic exhibitions” (Robinson 31). The school dancing instructor, who was also employed at Covent Garden Theatre in London, put Mary and her mother in touch with Thomas Hull, the theatre manager. Hull, too, discerned Mary’s talent, and it was soon decided that her first performance would be opposite acclaimed thespian David Garrick in Lear.

David Garrick as King Lear, London, 1761. Image @UC, Berkeley

Garrick soon began coaching Mary for her debut, and she seems to have been his prize pupil:

Garrick was delighted with everything I did. He would sometimes dance a minuet with me, sometimes request me to sing the favourite ballads of the day; but the circumstance which most pleased him was my tone of voice, which he frequently told me closely resembled that of his favourite Cibber [singer and actress Susannah Cibber, who was a member of Garrick’s Drury Lane troupe from 1753 to 1766]. (Robinson 37)

But while Mary relished the charismatic actor’s tutelage, she was unable to take full advantage of it. In the midst of her training, Mary met Thomas Robinson, an aspiring legal assistant who endeared himself to Mrs. Darby by bringing her books and comforting her when her son contracted smallpox. He turned his attentions to Mary when she, too, developed smallpox. When she was almost sixteen, Mary accepted Robinson’s marriage proposal and gave up the chance to appear in Lear with Garrick. The couple married on April 12, 1774, and remained in London. When Thomas wanted the union to remain secret, the new Mary Robinson discovered that he was an illegitimate child with no prospect of inheritance and a great amount of arrears.

St. Martin in the Fields. Mary’s wedding was not so well attended.

Despite his penury, Thomas Robinson lived extravagantly. He took a mistress, Harriet Wilmot, and associated with debauched spendthrifts Lord Lyttleton and George Robert Fitzgerald, both of whom propositioned Mary. Deeply unhappy, Mary Robinson’s thoughts again turned to the theatre. Encountering accomplished thespian Mrs. Abington at a party, she “thought the heroine of the scenic art was of all human creatures the most to be envied” (Robinson 80). When creditors laid claim to the Robinsons’ possessions, the couple moved to evade them, at one point staying with Thomas’s father in Wales. Mary gave birth to Maria Elizabeth, her first child, in Wales on November 18, 1774.

Frances (Fanny) Abington by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1764-1773

Upon his return to London in 1775, police apprehended Thomas Robinson and confined him in King’s Bench Prison. Mary and Maria joined him there, and their imprisonment lasted little more than a year. While Thomas began an affair with the wife of a fellow inmate, Mary rebuffed further offers to become a kept woman. She devoted herself to raising Maria, transcribing legal documents for Thomas, and writing poetry. Prior to her incarceration, Mary had published Poems by Mrs. Robinson to help offset her husband’s debts. Though it had not sold well, she forwarded a copy to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, a devotee of literature who sponsored writers. Mary Robinson soon became the duchess’s protégé.

William Breteton, by Henry Walton, 1780

Once her husband was freed from prison, Robinson resumed acting to provide for the family. Thomas, who had never finished his legal training, was no breadwinner. A chance encounter with Drury Lane actor William Brereton, who introduced her to theatre manager and famed playwright Richard Sheridan, returned Robinson to the theatrical milieu. While pregnant with her second child, Sophia, she read Shakespeare for Sheridan and won his approval. Garrick, Robinson’s old mentor, came out of retirement to coach her for the lead in Romeo and Juliet.

Drury Lane Theatre

In a flurry of nerves, she debuted at Drury Lane Theatre opposite Brereton’s Romeo in December 1776:

When I approached the side-wing my heart throbbed convulsively; I then began to fear that my resolution would fail, and I leaned upon the Nurse’s [the character of Juliet’s nurse] arm, almost fainting. Mr. Sheridan and several other friends encouraged me to proceed; and at length, with trembling limbs and fearful apprehension, I approached the audience. The thundering applause that greeted me nearly overpowered all my faculties. I stood mute and bending with alarm, which did not subside till I had feebly articulated the few sentences of the first short scene, during the whole of which I never once ventured to look at the audience. . . . The second scene being the masquerade, I had time to collect myself. I shall never forget the sensation which rushed upon my bosom when I first looked towards the pit. . . . All eyes were fixed upon me, and the sensation they conveyed was awfully impressive; but the keen, the penetrating eyes of Mr. Garrick, darting their lustre from the centre of the orchestra, were, beyond all others, the objects most conspicuous. As I acquired courage, I found the applause augment; and the night was concluded with peals of clamorous approbation. (Robinson 129–131)

18th century actors on stage

Robinson’s appearance as Juliet led to a four-year acting career in which she starred in forty dramas, at times portraying several characters per week or per play. In February 1777, she followed her turn as Juliet with appearances in Alexander the Great and in Sheridan’s A Trip to Scarborough. The latter play was adapted from another work, and it elicited “a considerable degree of disapprobation” from audience members who had expected an original play (Robinson 132). Nevertheless, Robinson carried the day:

An audience watching a play at Drury Lane Theatre, by Thomas Rowlandson, ca. 1785

I was terrified beyond imagination when Mrs. Yates, no longer able to bear the hissing of the audience, quitted the scene, and left me alone to encounter the critic tempest. I stood for some moments as though I had been petrified. Mr. Sheridan, from the side wing, desired me not to quit the boards; the late Duke of Cumberland, from the stage box, bade me take courage: “It is not you, but the play, they hiss,” said his Royal Highness. I curtsied; and that curtsey seemed to electrify the whole house, for a thundering appeal of encouraging applause followed. The comedy was suffered to go on, and is to this hour a stock play at Drury Lane Theatre. (Robinson 132).

It is no wonder that Robinson claimed she “was always received with the most flattering approbation” (Robinson 133).

Mary Robinson in stage costume as Amanda, by Roberts Robins

Indeed, Mary Robinson was a prominent figure in a great age of theater. She observed that her time on the stage marked a period when dramatists and thespians were exceptionally gifted, when public enthusiasm about the theater was high, and when she and three other young actresses—Miss Farren, Miss Walpole, and Miss P. Hopkins—dominated their field. Robinson’s most acclaimed heroines were Juliet, Ophelia in Hamlet, Rosalind in As You Like It, and Palmira in Mahomet. Yet for all her renown, Robinson’s family never completely approved of her career. Her mother “never beheld [her] on the stage but with a painful regret” (Robinson 151). Her brother attended one of her performances but walked out when she took the stage. Robinson was somewhat relieved that her father was always abroad and never saw her perform.

Richard Sheridan, by Sir Joshua Reynolds

In 1778, Robinson took time off from acting to give birth to Sophia and mourn the infant’s passing less than two months later . Sheridan, who had planned for her to star in The School for Scandal, was unfailingly supportive during her bereavement. Robinson considered him her “most esteemed of friends,” and she found his grief over Sophia’s death deeper than her husband’s (Robinson 153). When she was ready to work again, Sheridan helped find Robinson summer employment at Haymarket Theatre. However, a casting dispute with the director resulted in her receiving payment but never taking the stage.

Theatre goers: The laughing audience, Edward Matthew Ward, from an etching by William Hogarth made in 1733

Mary Robinson had returned to acting in 1779 when her life changed drastically. A twenty-one-year-old with many celebrated performances to her name, she was hopeful about her future. Though Thomas remained negligent, the Robinsons’ financial situation was improving. Ever concerned for Mary, Sheridan worried that she would exceed her income and/or have an affair with one of her many wealthy admirers, thereby jeopardizing her acting career. His fears were well founded. King George III and Queen Charlotte requested a performance of The Winter’s Tale, in which Robinson played Perdita. When the royal family attended the play on December 3, 1779, the seventeen-year-old Prince of Wales unashamedly admired her:

Mary Robinson as Perdita

I hurried through the first scene, not without embarrassment, owing to the fixed attention with which the Prince of Wales honoured me. Indeed, some flattering remarks which were made by his Royal Highness met my ear as I stood near his box, and I was overwhelmed with confusion. The Prince’s particular attention was observed by everyone. . . . On the last curtsy, the royal family condescendingly returned a bow to the performers; but just as the curtain was falling, my eyes met those of the Prince of Wales, and with a look that I never shall forget, he gently inclined his head a second time; I felt the compliment, and blushed my gratitude. . . . I met the royal family crossing the stage. I was again honoured with a very marked and low bow from the Prince of Wales. (Robinson 157-158) A few days later, Lord Malden (George Capel Coningsby) delivered Robinson a love letter from the Prince of Wales, who was an associate of his. The prince referred to her as “Perdita” and himself as “Florizel,” in the latter case referring to the prince in A Winter’s Tale who falls in love with Perdita. The press, which chronicled the relationship from its start, appropriated these names for their own use as well. Robinson at first refused to meet her new admirer, entering instead into an impassioned correspondence with him. Malden, who eventually fell in love with Mary himself, remained their reluctant go-between.

Caricature of the Prince of Wales as Florizel and Mary Robinson as Perdita, 1783

Eventually, the couple began meeting in person with third parties present, hoping to conceal the relationship until the prince was a legal adult. The prince guaranteed Robinson 20,000 pounds upon reaching his majority, and she left her husband and retired from acting.

At Vauxhall by Thomas Rowlandson. Mary Robinson stands at the right side on the front row, her husband (with cane) on one side and the Prince of Wales on the other.

Her last performance showcased her roles in The Miniature Picture and The Irish Widow. Robinson wept during the show, aware “that [she] was flying from a happy certainty, perhaps to pursue the phantom disappointment” (Robinson 177).

Caricature of Perdita and Charles James Fox (The Man & Woman of the People). He obtained an annuity for her from George III at the end of her affair with the prince.

Disappointment was, indeed, fast in coming. Before he formally and publicly acknowledged their love, Robinson received word from the prince that they could no longer see one another. He had given no prior indication of a change in his feelings, and all her attempts to contact him were unsuccessful. The press began lampooning Robinson mercilessly. Deeply in debt, she considered acting again but decided against it due to the general enmity against her. An invitation to meet the prince raised Robinson’s hopes, as did his renewed professions of love. But he quickly shunned her again, and their relationship was over by 1781. With the help of politician Charles James Fox, Robinson attempted to claim her promised 20,000 pounds, but in 1783 she instead accepted 500 pounds a year to make up for having abandoned her career.

Banastre Tarleton, miniature by Richard Cosway, 1782

After her disappointment with the prince, Robinson was linked romantically to Fox and Malden. Banastre Tarleton, a hard-living veteran of the American Revolution who moved in the same echelons as Malden, stole Mary away from him on a bet. Though sporadic, this relationship lasted for sixteen years, ending in 1798. As far as the press was concerned, it was the final blow against Robinson’s character. In 1784, at age twenty-four, she contracted rheumatism and developed paralysis that left her unable to walk. It is possible that botched treatment after she miscarried Tarleton’s child caused her condition. Robinson sought treatment in Germany and Flanders and returned to England in 1787.

Mrs Mary Robinson by George Romney

From the time she returned to England, Mary Robinson focused on writing and publishing. She wrote in a variety of genres, and her works were highly sought after due to the notoriety her love life had achieved. Poetry was a continuing interest for Robinson. She participated in the Della Cruscan movement that championed elaborate romantic verse; composed poems for the Morning Post, which also published Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s work; and published seven collections of her own verse between 1791 and 1800. Robinson also wrote eight novels, two of which alluded to her relationship with Tarleton.

Mary Darby Robinson by Thomas Gainsboroughm, 1781

Though they were less popular than her other projects, Robinson penned at least two works for performance. In the late 1780s, she was reputed to be composing an opera. If the rumors were true, no trace of the work survived. But the idea recalls Robinson’s youthful desire to write a tragedy. In 1793, she authored The Nobody, a play focusing on women gamblers. It was not her first foray into playwriting, for she had penned and acted in The Lucky Escape in 1778. Unfortunately, The Nobodymet with derision and only played for three nights before Robinson stopped production.

Mrs. Robinson from an engraving by Smith after Romney

Robinson’s last completed literary effort was A Letter to the Women of England, on the Injustice of Mental Insubordination, published in 1799. In it, she asserted women’s right to escape unhappy marriages, defending her own lifestyle in the process. Robinson was at work on her memoirs when she died on December 26, 1800. Maria Robinson edited the existing manuscript and continued the narrative from the point at which her mother began corresponding with the Prince of Wales. Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson, Written by Herselfappeared in 1801, and a volume of verse, The Poetical Works of the Late Mrs. Mary Robinson, appeared in 1806. In 1895, Robinson’s memoirs were republished as Memoirs of Mary Robinson, this time with an introduction and footnotes by J. Fitzgerald Molloy.

Fronticepiece of Mary Robinson’s Memoirs

Mary Robinson’s autobiography provides an intriguing glimpse into eighteenth-century London’s theatrical circles. Though her acclaimed acting career was cut short, Robinson channeled her innate sense of the dramatic into writing. Her poetry and prose have garnered sporadic interest, only attracting scholarly attention over the last several decades. But Robinson’s autobiography has had enduring appeal. Perhaps this is because Mary Robinson was far more than a royal mistress, even though much of her notoriety was based upon this role. Instead of confining herself to the domestic sphere, she was at once a wife, mother, and career woman. By leaving her unfaithful husband and taking lovers, she flouted sexual double standards and affirmed women’s autonomy within marriage. Thus the study of this intelligent, rebellious, and troubled woman—at once an inspiration and a tragic figure—will likely endure for many years to come. About the author of this post: Lucy Warriner is a North Carolina animal lover and dance enthusiast. She is also an ardent admirer of Jane Austen. Bibliography

Image sources:

Read Full Post »

Gentle readers, frequent contributor Tony Grant has recently returned from visiting the Lake Country with his friend, Clive. (Visit his blog, London Calling, where he shares his experiences and wonderful images.) While there he was reminded of Wordsworth’s poem about Tintern Abbey and sent in his thoughts. Thank you, Tony, for making poetry come alive!

“Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, : 1798”

Wye Valley

This rather ungainly title is the precursor to a poem by William Wordsworth written in 1798, as the title shows, which lays out his philosophy about his understanding of the world and the effect it has on him.

First of all the title tells us about a revisiting of the Wye Valley. Wordsworth may well have been using the guide book written by William Gilpin about the Wye and Tintern Abbey. Gilpin was a fellow lover of nature, who was also born in Cumberland and The Lakes. In this poem Wordsworth is revisiting, recalling, adjusting his memory of a place and adding to the strength of its power over him.

Once again

Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,

That on a wild secluded scene impress

Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect

The landscape with the quiet of the sky.”

The Lakes. Image @Tony Grant

Wordsworth emphasises seclusion such as a hermit might experience.. This aloneness is an important aspect of this poem. When we meditate we find a secluded tranquil spot to be alone in.

The use of his senses is paramount to this process.

again I hear

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a soft inland murmur.”

And also,

Once again I see

These hedgerows, hardly hedgerows, little lines

Of sportive wood run wild; these pastoral farms,

Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke

Sent up,”

Foxgloves and dry stone wall. Image @Tony Grant.

Sound and sight come together to make an impression on his mind and feelings. But these are not short lived impressions. They have a deep and profound effect.

“oft, in lonely rooms, and ‘mid the din

Of towns and cities, I have owed to them,

In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,

Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;

And passing even into my purer mind,

With tranquil restoration: -feelings too

Of unremembered pleasure; such, perhaps,

As have no slight or trivial influence.”

Rocky outcrop, image @Tony Grant

Wordsworth is saying that remembering the sensations that nature has had on him can be recalled, relived at other times and in other places and help him overcome things such as weariness and other detrimental sensations.

how oft -

In darkness and amid the many shapes

Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir

Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,

Have hung upon the beatings of my heart -

How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,

Tintern Abbey

Memory, imagination, recalling good sensations, becomes a sort of force that Wordsworth can use. He describes it as being “felt in the blood” and “along the heart. “ These sound strange phrases to us. We might describe these experiences as affecting us deeply or having a psychological influence or even providing a spiritual experience.

Methods of meditation use memory and imagination in this way. Athletes and sportspeople use this method too. We are experiencing the Olympics at this moment. Athletes have described how they use imagination to help them perform to the best of their ability. A white water canoeist was interviewed yesterday morning and asked how she prepares for such a hazardous descent and how is she able to get the timing of her turns just right. She answered that she imagines the descent through the rough and tumbling waters again and again, living in her imagination every move, paddle stroke and turn she is going to make.

Wordsworth gives even more importance to the powers of nature when he says these experiences have an effect ,

On the best portion of a good man’s life,

His little, nameless, unremembered, acts

Of kindness and of love.”

He is saying our experience of nature has an actual effect on the way behave.

The chancel crossingot Tintern Abbey looking towards the east window, JWM Turner, 17942

Wordsworth takes his ideas to an even higher almost mystical religious level when he says,

that blessed mood,

In which the burthen of the mystery,

In which the heavy and the weary weight

Of all this unintelligible world,

Is lightened: -that serene and blessed mood,

In which the affections gently lead us on -

Until, the breath of this corporeal frame

And even the motion of our human blood

Almost suspended, we are laid asleep

In body, and become a living soul;”

The effects last into the afterlife and affect our experience of heaven. This is serious stuff. Wordsworth is completely taken with this concept.

Banks of the Wye

Towards the end of the poem it becomes a letter, almost a love letter, to his sister Dorothy, who he sees as his soul mate. He includes her in his understanding of what he experiences,

all which we behold

Is full of blessings.”

What is interesting to consider is that in this poem Wordsworth describes how he uses his experience of nature through his senses to lighten and bring joy and spiritual pleasure to himself at other times. This revisit to the Wye Valley five years after his first visit appears to be an attempt to strengthen his experiences of nature and to replenish and strengthen his memories so he can use a stronger dose, so to speak, of his experiences in future. This begs the question , does Wordsworths poem, help the reader of the poem along this path of spiritual experience in anyway or is he just telling the reader, you must go and experience nature yourself to gain these effects?

Edward Dayes, Tintern Abbey from across the Wye 1795.

What the poem does for me is help me recall my own experiences of places that gave me pleasurable experiences through my senses. Wordsworth in his poem is triggering our memory of good things too. He suggests we find a secluded place ourselves, remember, imagine and discover our own benefits. Nature can provide a healing process,

when thy mind

Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,

Thy memory be as a dwelling place

For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,

If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,

Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts

Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,”

There is something ageless in Wordsworth’s theory which is the theory of Romanticism. It makes me think of Karma and the Buddhist approach to meditation.

Tintern Abbey. Postcard photo courtesy of Paradoxplace.com.

As an addenda to the William Gilpin (1724-1804) reference above: Wordsworth may have used Gilpin’s guide book in the Wye Valley. Gilpin also was an advocate of experiencing nature and drawing benefits from it , it’s hues and colours and it’s natural arrangement He wasn’t averse, however, to making suggestions about its arrangement. He might suggest in his writing the removal or addition of a tree or even the roughing up and creation of a more crumbling effect of Tintern Abbey to create a better aesthetic affect. It is suggested that Jane Austen made fun of this in Northanger Abbey.

More on the topic:

Read Full Post »

Reverend George Austen

As many Jane Austen fans know, Rev. George Austen ran a boarding school out of his parsonage house in Steventon to augment his £230 pr year income. In1793 he began to teach the sons of local gentlemen in his home to prepare them for university. His library was extensive for a man of modest means, from 300- 500 volumes, depending on the source, an amazing collection, for books were frightfully expensive. Rev. Austen encouraged Cassandra and Jane to read from his library and supported budding author Jane in her writing. At some point, the Austens sent the girls to boarding school in Reading, for which he paid £35 per term, per girl, a not inconsiderable sum. He received around the same amount of money per boarder, and it is conjectured that the Austens hoped to replace their two daughters with many more pupils, which made economic sense. (See Linda Robinson Walker’s link below.) Mrs. Austen was not an indifferent bystander. She cooked, cleaned, sewed, and clucked over the boys like a mother hen, and was involved in their maintenance in a hands-on and caring way, acting as a surrogate mother.

In his Travels Through England in 1782, German traveler Karl Phillip Moritz describes learning academies, head masters, and boarding schools. From his observations, one gains a sense of what life must have been like for the Austens and their pupils:

A few words more respecting pedantry.  I have seen the regulation of one seminary of learning, here called an academy.  Of these places of education, there is a prodigious number in London, though, notwithstanding their pompous names, they are in reality nothing more than small schools set up by private persons, for children and young people.

One of the Englishmen who were my travelling companions, made me acquainted with a Dr. G– who lives near P–, and keeps an academy for the education of twelve young people, which number is here, as well as at our Mr. Kumpe’s, never exceeded, and the same plan has been adopted and followed by many others, both here and elsewhere.

18th Century school room. One imagines a less formal setting for Rev. Austen’s school.

At the entrance I perceived over the door of the house a large board, and written on it, Dr. G–’s Academy.  Dr. G– received me with great courtesy as a foreigner, and shewed me his school-room, which was furnished just in the same manner as the classes in our public schools are, with benches and a professor’s chair or pulpit.

The usher at Dr. G–’s is a young clergyman, who, seated also in a chair or desk, instructs the boys in the Greek and Latin grammars.

Such an under-teacher is called an usher, and by what I can learn, is commonly a tormented being, exactly answering the exquisite description given of him in the “Vicar of Wakefield.”  We went in during the hours of attendance, and he was just hearing the boys decline their Latin, which he did in the old jog-trot way; and I own it had an odd sound to my ears, when instead of pronouncing, for example viri veeree I heard them say viri, of the man,exactly according to the English pronunciation, and viro, to the man.  The case was just the same afterwards with the Greek.

Mr. G– invited us to dinner, when I became acquainted with his wife, a very genteel young woman, whose behaviour to the children was such that she might be said to contribute more to their education than any one else.  The children drank nothing but water.  For every boarder Dr. G– receives yearly no more than thirty pounds sterling, which however, he complained of as being too little.  From forty to fifty pounds is the most that is generally paid in these academies.

I told him of our improvements in the manner of education, and also spoke to him of the apparent great worth of character of his usher.  He listened very attentively, but seemed to have thought little himself on this subject.  Before and after dinner the Lord’s Prayer was repeated in French, which is done in several places, as if they were eager not to waste without some improvement, even this opportunity also, to practise the French, and thus at once accomplish two points.  I afterwards told him my opinion of this species of prayer, which however, he did not take amiss.

After dinner the boys had leave to play in a very small yard, which in most schools or academies, in the city of London, is the ne plus ultra of their playground in their hours of recreation.  But Mr. G– has another garden at the end of the town, where he sometimes takes them to walk.

After dinner Mr. G– himself instructed the children in writing, arithmetic, and French, all which seemed to be well taught here, especially writing, in which the young people in England far surpass, I believe, all others.  This may perhaps be owing to their having occasion to learn only one sort of letters.  As the midsummer holidays were now approaching (at which time the children in all the academies go home for four weeks), everyone was obliged with the utmost care to copy a written model, in order to show it to their parents, because this article is most particularly examined, as everybody can tell what is or is not good writing.  The boys knew all the rules of syntax by heart.

Reading Abbey, where Jane and Cassandra Austen were sent to boarding school

All these academies are in general called boarding-schools.  Some few retain the old name of schools only, though it is possible that in real merit they may excel the so much-boasted of academies.

It is in general the clergy, who have small incomes, who set up these schools both in town and country, and grown up people who are foreigners, are also admitted here to learn the English language.  Mr. G– charged for board, lodging, and instruction in the English, two guineas a-week.  He however, who is desirous of perfecting himself in the English, will do better to go some distance into the country, and board himself with any clergyman who takes scholars, where he will hear nothing but English spoken, and may at every opportunity be taught both by young and old.

Source: Moritz, Karl Philipp, 1757-1793. Travels in England in 1782 by Karl Philipp Moritz (Kindle Locations 645-656). Mobipocket (an Amazon.com company).

Read Full Post »

Inquiring readers, One of the benefits of overseeing a long-lasting blog is the number of Jane Austen aficionados one meets via email and online. Ronald Dunning, a descendant of Jane Austen’s brother, Francis, recently emailed me to discuss his new genealogy site and Jane Austen family website. After I visited the sites and read Deb Barnum’s excellent post on the topic at Jane Austen in Vermont, I invited Mr. Dunning to explain how he managed to fill in so many members on his family tree. When all was said and done, what excited me most was when I saw the resemblance between Mr. Dunning and his illustrious ancestor. The Austens do indeed live on. Enjoy!

Sir Francis William Austen, Admiral of the Fleet, and descendant Ronald Dunning

Hi Vic! I’m a 4th-great-grandson of Frank Austen, and a committed genealogist. I’ve been working for quite a few years on an extended and inclusive genealogy of the Austen family, which can be seen at RootsWeb: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~janeausten. It’s an ongoing project, subject to addition and revision, but has reached an advanced state of maturity. Various writers on the Austen family in England and the US have used it, and I’ve even found it cited as a reference source for biographies at Wikipedia.

Joan Corder

I’ve just posted a new website dedicated to Jane Austen’s Family, which was announced to the public at last week’s JAS AGM. The address is www.janeaustensfamily.co.uk. The first content is Joan Corder’s “Akin to Jane” – a 1953 manuscript listing as many descendants of George and Cassandra Austen as the author could find. Joan recorded something like 320 descendants of George and Cassandra Austen, which is very good going for 1953. The biographical detail in the manuscript makes it invaluable. She could never find a publisher and the book exists only in a couple of manuscript copies, one of which is at the Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton. When I first began working on the site, I wasn’t sure whether it would interest anyone – I was simply driven on by my obsession with family history – but it’s been well received, to my delight. The Museum is pleased that they can now retire Joan Corder’s fragile original.

Joan’s page on Jane Austen in Akin to Jane Austen. The fragile original has been replaced with interactive online pages.

With the benefit of modern genealogical facilities, I’ve increased the tally from 320 to over 1200 – all of whom are to be found on my RootsWeb site. I have to admit that I have included very little anecdotal information, it is mainly genealogy; and all details except the surname are withheld for anyone born after 1915, though I have them on my computer database.

Austen (l) and Austen-Leigh (r) family coat of arms.

You asked for an anecdotal example for Jane Austen’s World readers that would flesh out the details of my research. I immediately thought of James Brydges, 8th Baron Chandos of Sudeley and Elizabeth Barnard – Cassandra Leigh’s great-grandparents. Cassandra was of course Jane Austen’s mother.

Hearing Miss Barnard was engaged to a party with a fashionable conjuror, who showed the ladies their future husbands in a glass, he by a proper application to the cunning man beforehand, and by a proper position at the time, was exhibited in the glass to Miss Barnard: clapping her hands she cried, ‘Then Mr. Bridges is my destination, and such he shall be.’”

This lovely anecdote was recorded in a footnote, in The Complete Peerage,under the entry for James Brydges, the 8th Lord Chandos of Sudeley. The lady in question, Elizabeth Barnard, did become his wife. Elizabeth’s father Sir Henry Barnard was a “Turkey merchant,” a trader whose business interest was in importing from Constantinople. Her husband James Brydges was himself the Ambassador of the “Turkey Company” (properly the Levant Company) in Constantinople from 1680 to 1686.

Sir James Brydges (1642–1714), 8th Baron Chandos, Turkey Company Ambassador to Constantinople

Elizabeth gave birth to twenty-two children. We are familiar with the mortal threat to women’s lives from childrearing – three of Jane Austens’ sisters-in-law suffered that fate. Elizabeth survived her twenty-two deliveries and lived to the age of 77. Not all of her children fared so well – only fifteen were baptized, and of those, three sons and five daughters survived infancy. This was far from unusual – Antonia Fraser, in her study of 17th-century woman, The Weaker Sex, stated that it was normal for only a third of children born to a large family to survive. Their eldest child, Mary Bridges, was one of the survivors. The link to Jane Austen can now be traced within a few generations. Mary married Theophilus Leigh; they were Cassandra Leigh’s paternal grandparents and the parents of Theophilus Leigh, who served as Master of Balliol College in Oxford from 1726 until his death in 1785. Theophilus Jr.’s brother Thomas Leigh married Jane Walker, and they were Cassandra Leigh’s parents. Cassandra, who married George Austen, gave birth to eight children, including Jane Austen in 1775. (And she too survived to a ripe old age, outliving her daughter Jane by 10 years.)

Click on image for details. Image @A Reading Affair

I hope you enjoyed this small sampling of the information that my sites offer about Jane Austen’s family. Deb Barnum from Jane Austen in Vermont has interviewed me, and written a very thorough review and detailed explanation of how to find information on the sites.

More on the topic:

Read Full Post »

“there seem to be very few, in the style of a Novel, that you can read with safety, and yet fewer that you can read with advantage.”- Sermons to Young Women, James Fordyce, 1766

It’s no secret that Jane Austen’s family were novel readers during an age when such books were considered frivolous and not worthy of reading. (Writing a novel was considered an even worse offense!) Enter Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. In her delightful book, Jane created a satiric scene in which Mr. Collins confirmed Mr. Bennet’s opinion of his young cousin’s foolishness. After he enjoyed the younger man’s inanity for a while, Mr. Bennet proposed that Mr. Collins read to the group. The girls chose a novel, of which Mr. Collins disapproved:

John Opie, "A Moral Homily"

John Opie, “A Moral Homily”

Mr. Bennet’s expectations [regarding Mr. Collins] were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.

By tea-time, however, the dose had been enough, and Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawingroom again, and, when tea was over, glad to invite him to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but on beholding it (for everything announced it to be from a circulating library), he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he never read novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia exclaimed.—Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons. Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him with—

“Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Philips talks of turning away Richard; and if he does, Colonel Forster will hire him. My aunt told me so herself on Saturday. I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear more about it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from town.”

Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her tongue; but Mr. Collins, much offended, laid aside his book, and said—

“I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I confess;—for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction. But I will no longer importune my young cousin.”

John Opie, “A Tale of Romance”

One cannot but help enjoy the irony of the situation. During his lifetime, Dr Fordyce was considered an excellent orator and his sermons were much appreciated, but by the time Jane Austen began to write her novels his luster had dimmed and novel reading was becoming more acceptable. These wonderful paintings by John Opie represent both sides of the sermon/novel story. In the first painting the governess is reading boring homilies to her charges in the hope of educating them. She is completely unaware of their expressions. One girl yawns, another can barely keep her eyes open, and a third looks pensively at the viewer as if to say, “Can you believe this?” Two of the youngest children entertain each other by playing cat’s cradle, and the girl sitting nearest the reader is about to fall asleep. What a wonderful tableau! One can imagine that the Bennets must have looked much like this ensemble before Lydia blurted out her question.

The second painting depicts the delight that the ensemble takes in listening to a tale of romance. They are all engaged and smiling and hanging onto every word from the reader. A kitten is left to play with a wool ball by itself.

Jane Austen employed words to create an ironic tone; John Opie used images. Both used their respective mediums to make a memorable point. Today, Dr. Fordyce’s sermons are largely forgotten. The following excerpt from Sermon VIII, Volume 2 demonstrates why he was considered dull and stodgy even 200 years ago:

Sermons to Young Women, Volume 2, James Fordyce, 1767. You can download the volume as an ebook at this link.

Read Full Post »

Vintage book cover. The book had been purchased in the shop at Dove Cottage. Image @Grey Pony

Inquiring readers, frequent contributor, Tony Grant,  has done it again and brought the 19th century alive through his discussion of poetry. One can walk the paths along Grasmere in the Lake District with him and William Wordsworth, inhaling the clean crisp air and regarding the sad cautionary tale of Martha Ray, the woman in the scarlet cloak. Visit Tony’s blog at London Calling.

Saturday August 23rd 1798.

“ A very fine morning. Wm was composing all the morning. I shelled peas, gathered beans and worked in the garden till half past twelve. Then walked with William in the wood. The gleams of the sunshine, and the stirring trees, and gleaming boughs, cheerful lake, most delightful. After dinner we walked to Ambleside…”

Thus Dorothy Wordsworth describes the division of labour in the Wordsworth house hold at Dove Cottage, Grasmere in Cumbria. She did the labour and William her brother did the,” Romanticising.” But it shows the division of experience wasn’t as clear cut as might appear at first. Dorothy shows her emotional response to the world she inhabits too, as much as her esteemed brother does in his poetry.

Dorothy

Romanticism was a way of seeing and experiencing the world and which Wordsworth promoted in his poetry. It wasn’t necessarily about being romantic however. It was about an emotional response to the world that balanced a logical factual approach. It promoted the importance of feelings, myth, symbolism and intuition as well as taking into account the facts of a situation.

William Wordsworth by Henry Eldridge, 1807

”The Thorn,” written by William Wordsworth in 1789 is very melodramatic and tells the story of a solitary, rejected woman, Martha Ray, who’s baby has died and the mythology that builds around her.

Dove Cottage.

Wordsworth, in the opening stanzas introduces us immediately to the thorn describing it as , “so old and grey,” “stands erect,” “A wretched thing forlorn.” And takes the personification to a higher degree saying it is,” Not higher than a two year’s child.”

He is setting us up to respond to natural things in an emotional way.

Footpath around the lake. Image @A Year In the Lakes

He then balances this emotional approach with factual evidence as he gives us the thorns location ,”high on a mountains highest ridge,” and the minutest detail, telling us that three yards from the thorn is, “a muddy pond,” and close beside the thorn is,

“A beauteous heap, a hill of moss.
Just half a foot in height.”

A mixture of fact and emotion balanced.
Three things are described in close proximity and we wonder how they relate to each other.

Colour is very important. The mound of earth near the thorn has, “vermilion dye,” “lovely tints,” “olive green, “scarlet bright,” “green red and pearly white.” Vivid in our minds eye.

Then, “A woman in a scarlet cloak,” Martha Ray, is introduced into this setting and we are asked,

“Now wherefore, thus, by day and night,
In rain, in tempest, and in snow,
Thus to the dreary mountain top
Does this poor woman go?”

The question all the local villagers ponder too. Observation, and imagination create a myth. Many believe she has killed her baby and buried it next to the thorn but they don’t actually know that. Wordsworth keeps pulling us back to reality, tempering our emotional response, “I cannot tell; I wish I could; for the true reason no one knows.”

Cattle watering at Grasmere, near Ambleside, Cumbria, by John Glover.

Wordsworth also begins to use the personal pronoun. It is an egotistical device but we are with him. It is us as well as Wordsworth asking the same questions. He has got involved in this apparent tragedy and so have we.

Wordsworth relates to us the story of Martha Ray and what makes her mad.

“Full twenty years are past and gone
Since she (her name is Martha Ray)
Gave with a maidens true good will
Her company to Stephen Hill”

Stephen Hill, we are told, gets Martha pregnant but leaves her and marries somebody else. As result she has the baby but it is never seen by other people.

Then imagination intervenes again,

“For many a time and often were heard
Cries coming from the mountains head
Some plainly living voices were:
And other, I’ve heard many swear,
Were voices of the dead:
I cannot think, whate’er they say,
They had to do with Martha Ray.”

Wordsworth then draws us back to a cool scientific approach,

“But what’s the Thorn? And what the pond?
And what the hill of moss to her?”
And what the creeping breeze that comes
The little pond to stir?”

You can almost imagine Wordsworth and us being explorers into this mystery using investigative questions.
However, finally, myth is triumphant

“…but some will say
She hanged her baby on the tree
Some say she drowned it in the pond
Which is a little step beyond
But all and each one agree
The little babe was buried there
Beneath the hill of moss so fair.”

Fact, imagination, emotion, have combined to create a myth.

What use would this mythologizing be to those people in the hills and mountains of the Lake District? Would it help them make moral decisions? They wanted to bring Martha Ray to public justice based on what they thought and felt. Would it help them to create their own response to Martha’s predicament without having to experience it themselves? Is that the purpose of mythologizing? The purpose of fairy tales and myths have always been important to childhood and early emotional development and moral growth. Wordsworth has created an adult myth. So does the need for myths go beyond childhood and remain important to all?

……………………………………………………………………………………….

In a few weeks, a good friend of mine, Clive, is coming over from Canada for a reunion of old school friends. Some of us are reaching 60 this year and we are getting together for a celebration in Liverpool. Clive and I are going on further north into the Lake District for a couple of days. We will be staying in Ambleside, not far from Grasmere and Wordswoth’s Dove Cottage. We will visit Dove Cottage and I promise we will listen out for the cry of Martha Ray caught in the winds blowing about the peaks surrounding Grasmere and we will too be able to say,

“That I have heard her cry,
“Oh misery! Oh misery!
Oh woe is me! Oh misery!”

More on the topic:

Read Full Post »

Last week I featured the book, The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, a moralizing children’s book that Jane Austen kept all through her lifetime. As she was growing up, she was probably familiar with the Cinderella fairytale. Hundreds of versions of the folk tale from a variety of European sources exist, but the myth goes as far back as ancient Greece and China.  The story of the cinder maid and the glass slipper was popularized in 1697 by Charles Perrault in Histoires, ou Contes du Temps Passè.  

Written for the aristocratic Salons of C17th French society, Perrault’s ‘Cendrillon’ is stripped of all violent, bawdy or socially moralizing material and is instead focused primarily on entertaining. – The Origins of the Cinderella Story

The images in this post show the paper dolls based on Perrault’s tale that were popular during Jane Austen’s time.

1814, Cinderella or the Glass Slipper. Image @Theriault's.

The images shown above and below are for sale at Theriault’s: The Doll Masters

Lot: 17. An 1814 English Paper Doll and Book “Cinderella” by S&J Fuller
A paper bound miniature book,5″ x 4″,recounts in “beautifully versified” form the favored fairy tale,and was designed to be read while playing with the paper dolls,vignettes and accessories that illustrate the tale,comprising six costume scenes including the wedding,and Cinderella’s coach and horses (in two sections). An inscription inside the front cover reads “To my dear little niece Constance Foley”. S&J Fuller,Temple of Fancy,Rathbone Place,London,1814. Structure and lovely delicate colors of paper dolls and scenes well preserved,coachman’s head missing,one hand missing,stain on book cover. England,1814.

Image @Theriault's.

Around 1810, the London firm of  S. & J. Fuller published books with paper dolls. The 1814 book (or Book of Instruction, as printed on the cover) relates the Cinderella story in verse and is illustrated with cut out figures.

It is interesting to note that Cinderella’s head is removable and can be placed on various paper cut bodies. You see her in the image below walking through a town scape and churning butter. Children could arrange the characters in the paper sets, or drama sheets, and reenact the story.

While these scenic play books became increasingly popular, I imagine that they must have been very expensive and affordable only by the well-to-do.

Image @Theriault's.

The image below contains fancy gowns and the marriage ceremony in which Cinderella marries her prince. Cinderella’s high-waisted costumes have a decided Renaissance influence, and the prince could have doubled for Romeo.

Image @Theriault's.

Cinderella’s head becomes much more refined once she hooks up with the prince, as you can see below. She is given a fashionable hat and a jeweled tiara with feathers. The head can also be placed on the figure in the carriage, when the Cinderella story has come full circle.

Image @Theriault's.

The beautiful versified edition of Cinderella below was donated in 1991 by Ms. Julia P. Wightman to the  The Morgan Library in New York.  Printed in 1819, the paper cut dolls seem more refined than in the 1817 version, especially Cinderella’s head, which has blond hair. Click on the open book images to read portions of the verse.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

Image @Morgan Library.

The image below is from Picturing Childhood: The evolution of the illustrated children’s book.  Therieaults the Doll Master, Cinderella Paper Dolls, 1814, Published by S. and J. Fuller, London, 5 3/4 in. (14.6 cm) (approx.) Note that Cinderella’s elegant head is placed in the wedding scene. In this instance her hair is dark again..

Image @Picturing Childhood

Below is a more traditional children’s book version of Cinderella. It was published in 1827 and illustrated with hand–colored woodcuts. By the mid-19th century, lithography and printing were being used routinely in book illustrations, but such drawings were still rare when this book came out.

Cinderella, John Harris, London. 1827

In 1812, the Brothers Grimm wrote the Cinderella story that seems more familiar to readers today. By the end of the 19th century, over 300 versions of the Cinderella story existed in Europe. In those years:

The Fairy–Godmother seems more frightening than her later benevolent renderings, such as in Disney’s film version of the story. – Past Times: Cinderella :18th and 19th century Cinderella books.

More on the Topic:

Read Full Post »

The Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant (Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant), edited by John Y. Simon, Southern Illinois University Press, on Amazon, a review by Patty of Brandyparfums.com

I’m rereading this fantastic, romantic book, and I thought of readers who should be acquainted with this literary gem. Any Regency reader would love Julia Dent Grant’s charming memoirs which due to failing eyesight she dictated to her son or secretary. Her eloquence is astonishing – at once dramatic and poetic. There are many references to things English since she and Ulysses met the Queen during their world tour. They also dined at Apsley House. Daughter Nellie married an Englishman and went to live in England. Here are some of the beautiful, moving passages:

“My first recollections in life reach back a long way, more than three-score years and ten now……..Dear papa, coming out with great pleasure, caught me, held me up in the air, telling me to look, the very trees were welcoming me, and, sure enough, the tall locust trees were tossing their white-plumed branches gleefully.”

“Such delightful rides we all used to take! The Lieutenant [Ulysses] rode a bonny brown steed with flowing wavy mane and tail. He called him Fashion. My horse was a beauty, a chestnut brown, and as glossy as satin, and such pretty ears and great eyes. She was part Arabian, and I named her Psyche. Such rides! in the early spring, the tender young foliage scarcely throwing a shadow…..he was always by my side.”

 

Julia Grant and her husband, Image @OhioPix

There’s information about Lincoln and the assassination that isn’t found in most history books. The day of the assassination, Julia was visited by one of the conspirators wearing “a shabby hat.” -

I thought it was the bellboy with cards. ‘What do you want?’ He reddened and, bowing, said, “This is Mrs. Grant?” I bowed assent. “Mrs. Lincoln sends me, Madam, with her compliments, to say she will call for you at exactly eight o’clock to go to the theatre.” To this I replied with some feeling (not liking either the looks of the messenger or the message, thinking the former savored of discourtesy and the latter seemed like a command), ‘You may tell Mrs. Lincoln that as General Grant and I intend leaving the city this afternoon, we will not therefore be here to accompany the President and Mrs. Lincoln to the theatre.”

Later that afternoon at a late lunch in the Willard, the conspirators sit at a table starring at Julia -

He seemed to be intent on what we and the children were saying. I thought he was crazy.”

When the Grants hold their first few White House receptions, Julia wrote about the young peoples’ luncheon and it reminded me of a Heyer novel -

The young peoples’ luncheon is a memory of dimples, smiles, gleaming white shoulders, of lace and flowers and tender glances – a pleasant memory to me.”

The Grants go to the grand Apsley House for a dinner given by the second duke of Wellington. Julia wonders, “This great house was presented to Wellington by the government for a single victory at Waterloo along with a noble title which will descend throughout his line. As I sat there I thought, ‘How would it have been if General Grant had been an Englishman’ – I wonder, I wonder.”

While in Paris, Julia reveals her interest in fashion -

I had a splendid time shopping. [in Paris] Mr [Charles F.] Worth personally directed the fitting of my costumes, and Madame Virot attended me in person for any millinery I wished, and these were no small attentions, I assure you.”

Many more amazing passages may be found in Julia’s Memoirs. She was the first First Lady to write her memoirs but they weren’t published during her lifetime and appeared in 1973.

Back Cover of the book

Read Full Post »

Life in the Victorian Country House is a beautifully illustrated book that is best described visually (See my video below). Filled with historical details and archived photographs of Britain’s landed families and their day-to-day lives, which depended on the work of their household servants and outdoor staff, this book considers the relationships between those who live above stairs and those who meet their needs and live below stairs.

The table of contents:

  • The Country House and its Occupants
  • Victorian and Edwardian Households
  • Growing Up in the Country House
  • Out of Doors
  • The London Season and Other Pelasures
  • The End of an Era

About the author: Pamela Horn formerly lectured on economic and social history at Oxford Poyltechnic, now Oxford Brookes University, for over twenty years. She has written a number of books on Victorian social history, including The Rise and fall of the Victorian Servant and Ladies of the Manor.

The relationship between master and servant, and wealth and land are outlined so well that it was hard to put the book down. I give it a strong recommendation. Three out of three regency fans.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,365 other followers