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Posts Tagged ‘Fanny Kemble’

Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Elizabeth Fox Baroness Holland
1771–1845

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Elizabeth Fox

Elizabeth Vassall was born in 1771 in London, the only child of Richard Vassall, a planter in Jamaica and Mary Clarke. She married Sir Godfrey Webster, 4th Baronet in 1786. He was more than 20 years older than she was. They had three children that survived infancy. As Lady Webster she spent much of the early 1790s travelling in Europe, visiting France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. She enjoyed the guidance and friendship of the Duchess of Devonshire and politician Thomas Pelham.

In 1794, Lady Webster met Whig politician Henry Fox, 3rd Baron Holland in Naples and they embarked on a love affair. In 1796 she gave birth to their son Charles Richard Fox, and the following year she was divorced by Webster on the grounds of adultery. She married Holland two days after her divorce, on 6 July 1797. They lived together in Holland House in Kensington, then just outside London, and for many years hosted the elite of Whig society. Visitors included Lord Grey, George Tierney, Samuel Rogers, Walter Scott, Ugo Foscolo, Sydney Smith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Lady Holland became known by her guests, and contemporary observers for her domineering nature, in contrast to her husband. In his journals, Sydney Smith, a friend of both Lord and Lady Holland, called her a “formidable woman”. Actress Fanny Kemble visited Holland house with her sister Adelaide Kemble described what she called the “domineering rudeness” of Lady Holland. Lady Holland’s rule extended not only to all of the guests at Holland House but to Lord Holland too. She dictated when he should go to bed, what he should wear and would have servants take him away from the table in his wheelchair when he was in the middle of telling a story.

Both Lord and Lady Holland were great admirers of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1815, Lady Holland commission a bronze bust of him from sculptor Antonio Canova, which was placed in the garden at Holland House. After Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena in 1815, Lady Holland sent him supplies of food and hundreds of books. Napoleon remembered Lady Holland in his will and following his death in 1821, his companions General Henri Gratien Bertrand and the Marquis de Montholon arrived at Holland House, delivering a snuffbox. The gold snuffbox, which had been a gift to Napoleon from Pope Pius VI, was bequeathed by Lady Holland to the British Museum.

Lord Holland died on 22 October 1840. After his death, Lady Holland lived at 33 South Street, a property she had inherited from her mother. She continued to entertain, and it was here that the historian John Allen died in 1843. In November of that year she moved to 9 Great Stanhope Street, a property she rented from Lord Palmerston.

Lady Holland died in 1845. By the end of her life, she had become estranged from her children. In his Memoirs, diarist Charles Greville called Lady Holland “a social light which illuminated and adorned England, and even Europe, for half a century”.

Lady Holland became known for permanently introducing the dahlia to the United Kingdom. An unsuccessful attempt had been made in 1789 by the Marchioness of Bute who brought the plant from Spain, but failed to propagate it. Whilst in Madrid in 1804, Lady Holland was given either dahlia seeds or roots by botanist Antonio José Cavanilles. She sent them back to England, to Lord Holland’s librarian Mr Buonaiuti at Holland House, who successfully raised the plants. In 1824, Lord Holland sent his wife a note containing the following verse:

“The dahlia you brought to our isle
Your praises for ever shall speak;
Mid gardens as sweet as your smile,
And in colour as bright as your cheek.”

Lady Holland had 11 children, seven of whom survived infancy.
With Sir Godfrey Webster:

Godfrey Vassall Webster (1789–1836)

  • a son who died young, born in 1790
  • Henry Vassall Webster (1793–1847)
  • Harriet Frances Webster (1794–1849), married Admiral Fleetwood Pellew, is buried with him in Florence’s ‘English’ Cemetery.
  • a son who died young, born in October 1795

With Henry Vassall-Fox, 3rd Baron Holland:

  • Charles Richard Fox (6 November 1796 – 13 April 1873), army general and politician
  • Stephen Fox (1799–1800)
  • Henry Edward Fox, 4th Baron Holland (7 May 1802 – 18 December 1859), politician and ambassador
  • Mary Elizabeth Fox (1806–1891), married Thomas Powys, 3rd Baron Lilford
  • Georgiana Anne Fox (1809–1819)
  • a daughter, born and died on 24 June 1812

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Maria Theresa Kemble
1774–1838

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Maria Theresa Kemble

The daughter of George De Camp, real name possibly De Fleury, she was born in Vienna 17 January 1774 into a family of musicians and dancers. Brought to England, she appeared when six years old at the Opera House, as Cupid in a ballet by Jean-Georges Noverre. After playing at the age of eight in a theatre directed by M. Le Texier Zélie in a translation of La Colombe by Madame de Genlis, she was engaged for the Royal Circus. George Colman took her for the Haymarket Theatre. Her first performance at the Haymarket was in The Nosegay on 14 June 1786 with James Harvey D’Egville in the presence of the royal family. On 21 June she danced in The Polonaise, and on 7 July she appeared in a ballet entitled Jamie’s Return with James Harvey and his brother George D’Egville. She was then secured by Thomas King for the Drury Lane Theatre, where on 24 October 1786, she played Julie, a small part in John Burgoyne’s Richard Cœur de Lion. Her father had left her in England for Germany, where he died while she was still young; she picked up English, and played juvenile and small parts.

She first caught the public taste 15 August 1792 at the Haymarket, when, in a travestied Beggar’s Opera she performed Macheath to the Polly of John Bannister and the Lucy of John Henry Johnstone. Biddy in Miss in her Teens (David Garrick), Adelaide in The Count of Narbonne adapted from the Castle of Otranto, Gillian in the Quaker, and Lucy in The Recruiting Officer were then assigned her; and she played some original parts, including Lindamira in Richard Cumberland’s Box Lobby Challenge. In singing parts she was allowed at times to replace Nancy Storace and Anna Maria Crouch. She was the original Judith in The Iron Chest (George Colman the Younger), and Florimel in Kemble’s Celadon and Florimel (from The Maiden Queen). Miranda in the Busybody, Page (Cherubin) in Follies of a Day (Figaro), Le Mariage de Figaro, and Kitty in High Life Below Stairs (James Townley) followed. At the Haymarket, 15 July 1797, she was the original Caroline Dormer in The Heir-at-Law (George Colman the Younger), and in the same year she played Portia and Desdemona, followed at Drury Lane by Katherine in Katherine and Petruchio, and Hippolito in Kemble’s alteration of The Tempest.

For her benefit, 3 May 1799, she gave at Drury Lane her own unprinted play of First Faults. In 1799 William Earle printed a piece called Natural Faults, and accused Miss De Camp in the preface of having stolen his plot and characters. In a letter to the Morning Post of 10 June, she denied the charge, and asserted that her play was copied by Earle from recitation. John Genest considered that Earle’s statement ‘has the appearance of truth’. Lady Teazle, Miss Hoyden, Lady Plyant in The Double Dealer (William Congreve), Hypolita in She would and she would not, Little Pickle, and Dollalolla in Tom Thumb were some of the other parts she played before her marriage to Charles Kemble, which took place 2 July 1806.

Accompanying the Kembles to Covent Garden, she made her first appearance there, 1 October 1806, as Maria in the Citizen, and remained there for the rest of her acting career. Her comedy, The Day after the Wedding, or a Wife’s First Lesson, 1808, was played at Covent Garden for the benefit of her husband, who enacted Colonel Freelove, 18 May 1808; she was Lady Elizabeth Freelove. Match-making, or ‘Tis a Wise Child that knows its own Father, played for her own benefit on the 24th, is also assigned to her. It was not acted a second time, nor printed.

She also assisted her husband in the preparation of Deaf and Dumb. Among the parts now assigned her were Ophelia, Mrs. Sullen, Violante, Beatrice in Much Ado about Nothing, Mrs. Ford, and Juliana in the Honeymoon, and the like. In 1813–14 and 1814–15 she was not engaged. On 12 December 1815 she made an appearance as Lady Emily Gerald in her own comedy Smiles and Tears, or the Widow’s Stratagem.

She then disappeared from the stage until 1818–19, when she played Mrs. Sterling, and was the original Madge Wildfire in Daniel Terry’s musical version of Heart of Midlothian. For her own and her husband’s benefit she played Lady Julia in ‘Personation,’ 9 June 1819, when she retired. A solitary reappearance was made at Covent Garden on the occasion of the début as Juliet of her daughter Fanny Kemble, 5 October 1829, when she played Lady Capulet.

She died at Chertsey, Surrey, on 3 September 1838.

Besides Fanny Kemble, her daughter Adelaide Kemble was known on the stage. A son John Mitchell Kemble was a classical scholar.

Her brother occasionally acted fops and footmen at Drury Lane and the Haymarket, and was subsequently an actor and a cowkeeper in America. Her sister Adelaide, an actress in a line similar to her own, was popular in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Samuel Rogers
30 July 1763 – 18 December 1855

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Samuel Rogers

Samuel Rogers was born at Newington Green, then a village north of Islington, London. His father, Thomas Rogers, a banker, was the son of a Stourbridge glass manufacturer, who was also a merchant in Cheapside. Thomas married Mary, the only daughter of his father’s partner, Daniel Radford, becoming himself a partner shortly afterwards. On his mother’s side Samuel Rogers was connected with the well-known English Dissenters clergymen Philip Henry and his son Matthew, was brought up in Nonconformist circles, and became a long-standing member of the Unitarian congregation at Newington Green, then led by the remarkable Dr Richard Price. He was educated in Hackney and Stoke Newington.

Two nephews, orphaned young and for whom he assumed responsibility, were Samuel Sharpe, the Egyptologist and translator of the Bible, and his younger brother Daniel, the early geologist.

Samuel Rogers wished to enter the Presbyterian ministry, but his father persuaded him to join the banking business in Cornhill. In long holidays, necessitated by delicate health, Rogers became interested in English literature, particularly the work of Samuel Johnson, Thomas Gray and Oliver Goldsmith. He learned Gray’s poems by heart, and his family wealth allowed him to leisure to try writing poetry himself. He began with contributions to the Gentleman’s Magazine, and in 1786 he published a volume containing some imitations of Goldsmith and an “Ode to Superstition” in the style of Gray.

In 1788 his elder brother Thomas died, and Samuel’s business responsibilities were increased. In the next year he paid a visit to Scotland, where he met Adam Smith, Henry Mackenzie, Hester Thrale and others. In 1791 he was in Paris, and enjoyed the Orleans Collection of art at the Palais Royal, many of the treasures of which were later to pass into his possession. With Gray as his model, Rogers took great pains in polishing his verses, and six years elapsed after the publication of his first volume before he printed his elaborate poem on The Pleasures of Memory (1792) – regarded by some as the last embodiment of the poetic diction of the 18th century. The theory of elevating and refining familiar themes by abstract treatment and lofty imagery is taken to extremes. In this art of “raising a subject”, as the 18th century phrase was, the Pleasures of Memory is much more perfect than Thomas Campbell’s Pleasures of Hope, published a few years later in imitation. Byron said of it, “There is not a vulgar line in the poem.”

In 1793 his father’s death gave Rogers the principal share in the banking house in Cornhill, and a considerable income. He left Newington Green and established himself in chambers in the Temple. Within his intimate circle at this time were his best friend, Richard Sharp (Conversation Sharp), and the artists John Flaxman, John Opie, Martin Shee and Henry Fuseli. He also made the acquaintance of Charles James Fox, with whom he visited the galleries in Paris in 1802, and whose friendship introduced him to Holland House. In 1803 he moved to 22 St James’s Place, where for fifty years he entertained all the celebrities of London. Flaxman and Charles Alfred Stothard had a share in the decoration of the house, which Rogers virtually rebuilt, and proceeded to fill with works of art. His collections at his death realised £50,000.

An invitation to one of Rogers’s breakfasts was a formal entry into literary society, and his dinners were even more select. His social success was due less to his literary position than to his powers as a conversationalist, his educated taste in all matters of art, and no doubt to his sarcastic and bitter wit, for which he excused himself by saying that he had such a small voice that no one listened if he said pleasant things. “He certainly had the kindest heart and unkindest tongue of any one I ever knew,” said Fanny Kemble. He helped the poet Robert Bloomfield, he reconciled Thomas Moore with Francis Jeffrey Jeffrey and with Byron, and he relieved Sheridan’s difficulties in the last days of his life. Moore, who refused help from all his friends, and would only owe debts to his publishers, found it possible to accept help from Rogers. He procured a pension for HF Cary, the translator of Dante, and obtained Wordsworth his sinecure as distributor of stamps.

Rogers was in effect a literary dictator in England. He made his reputation by The Pleasures of Memory when William Cowper’s fame was still in the making. He became the friend of Wordsworth, Walter Scott and Byron, and lived long enough to give an opinion as to the fitness of Alfred Tennyson for the post of Poet Laureate. Alexander Dyce, from the time of his first introduction to Rogers, was in the habit of writing down the anecdotes with which his conversation abounded. In 1856 he arranged and published selections as Recollections of the Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers, to which is added Porsoniana. Rogers himself kept a notebook in which he entered impressions of the conversation of many of his distinguished friends—Fox, Edmund Burke, Henry Grattan, Richard Porson, John Horne Tooke, Talleyrand, Lord Erskine, Scott, Lord Grenville and the Duke of Wellington. They were published by his nephew William Sharpe in 1859 as Recollections by Samuel Rogers; Reminiscences and Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers, Banker, poet, and Patron of the Arts, 1763–1855 (1903), by GH Powell, is an amalgamation of these two authorities. Rogers held various honorary positions: he was one of the trustees of the National Gallery; and he served on a commission to inquire into the management of the British Museum, and on another for the rebuilding of the Houses of Parliament.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in November 1796.

 

His literary production remained slow. An Epistle to a Friend (the above-mentioned Conversation Sharp), published in 1798, describes Rogers’s ideal of a happy life. This was followed by The Voyage of Columbus (1810), and by Jacqueline (1814), a narrative poem, written in the four-accent measure of the newer writers, and published in the same volume with Byron’s Lara. His reflective poem on Human Life (1819), on which he had been engaged for twelve years, is written in his earlier manner.

In 1814 Rogers made a tour on the Continent with his sister Sarah. He travelled through Switzerland to Italy, keeping a full diary of events and impressions, and had made his way to Naples when the news of Napoleon’s escape from Elba obliged him to hurry home.

Seven years later he returned to Italy, paying a visit to Byron and Shelley at Pisa. Out of the earlier of these tours arose his last and longest work, Italy. The first part was published anonymously in 1822; the second, with his name attached, in 1828. It was at first a failure, but Rogers was determined to make it a success. He enlarged and revised the poem, and commissioned illustrations from J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Stothard and Samuel Prout. These were engraved on steel in the sumptuous edition of 1830. The book then proved a great success, and Rogers followed it up with an equally sumptuous edition of his Poems (1834). In 1850, on Wordsworth’s death, Rogers was asked to succeed him as poet laureate, but declined the honour on account of his age. For the last five years of his life he was confined to his chair in consequence of a fall in the street. He died in London, and is buried in the family tomb in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church, Hornsey High Street, Haringey.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Lawrence
13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830

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Thomas Lawrence

Lawrence was born at 6 Redcross Street, Bristol, the youngest surviving child of Thomas Lawrence, a supervisor of excise, and Lucy Read, the daughter of a clergyman. The couple had 16 children but only five survived infancy: Lawrence’s brother Andrew became a clergyman; William had a career in the army; sisters Lucy and Anne married a solicitor and a clergyman (Lawrence’s nephews included Andrew Bloxam). Soon after Thomas was born his father decided to become an innkeeper and took over the White Lion Inn and next-door American Coffee House in Broad Street, Bristol. But the venture did not prosper and in 1773 Lawrence senior removed his family from Bristol and took over the tenancy of the Black Bear Inn in Devizes, a favourite stopping place for the London gentry who were making their annual trip to take the waters at Bath.

It was during the family’s six-year stay at the Black Bear Inn that Lawrence senior began to make use of his son’s precocious talents for drawing and reciting poetry. Visitors would be greeted with the words “Gentlemen, here’s my son – will you have him recite from the poets, or take your portraits?” Among those who listened to a recitation from Tom, or Tommy as he was called, was the actor David Garrick. Lawrence’s formal schooling was limited to two years at The Fort, a school in Bristol, when he was aged six to eight, and a little tuition in French and Latin from a dissenting minister. He also became accomplished in dancing, fencing, boxing and billiards. By the age of ten his fame had spread sufficiently for him to receive a mention in Daines Barrington’s Miscellanies as “without the most distant instruction from anyone, capable of copying historical pictures in a masterly style”. But once again Lawrence senior failed as a landlord and, in 1779, he was declared bankrupt and the family moved to Bath. From now on, Lawrence was to support his parents with the money he earned from his portraits.

The family settled at 2 Alfred Street in Bath, and the young Lawrence established himself as a portraitist in pastels. The oval portraits, for which he was soon charging three guineas, were about 12 inches by 10 inches (30 by 25 centimetres), and usually portrayed a half-length. His sitters included the Duchess of Devonshire, Sarah Siddons, Sir Henry Harpur (of Calke Abbey, Derbyshire, who offered to send Lawrence to Italy – Lawrence senior refused to part with his son), Warren Hastings and Sir Elijah Impey. Talented, charming and attractive (and surprisingly modest) Lawrence was popular with Bath residents and visitors: artists William Hoare and Mary Hartley gave him encouragement; wealthy people allowed him to study their collections of paintings and Lawrence’s drawing of a copy of Raphael’s Transfiguration was awarded a silver-gilt palette and a prize of 5 guineas by the Society of Arts in London.

Sometime before his eighteenth birthday in 1787 Lawrence arrived in London, taking lodgings in Leicester Square, near to Joshua Reynolds’ studio. He was introduced to Reynolds, who advised him to study nature, rather than the Old Masters. Lawrence set up a studio at 41 Jermyn Street and installed his parents in a house in Greek Street. He exhibited several works in the 1787 Royal Academy exhibition at Somerset House, and enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy but didn’t stay long, abandoning the drawing of classical statues to concentrate on his portraiture. In the Royal Academy exhibition of 1788 Lawrence was represented by five portraits in pastels and one in oils, a medium he quickly mastered. Between 1787 and his death in 1830 he would miss only two of the annual exhibitions: once, 1809, in protest about the way his paintings had been displayed and once, in 1819, because he was abroad. In 1789 he exhibited 13 portraits, mostly in oil, including one of William Linley and one of Lady Cremorne, his first attempt at a full-length portrait. The paintings received favourable comments in the press with one critic referring to him as “the Sir Joshua of futurity not far off” and, aged just twenty, Lawrence received his first royal commission, a summons arriving from Windsor Palace to paint the portraits of Queen Charlotte and Princess Amelia. The queen found Lawrence presumptuous (although he made a good impression on the princesses and ladies-in-waiting) and she didn’t like the finished portrait, which remained in Lawrence’s studio until his death. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1790, however, it received critical acclaim. Also shown that year was another of Lawrence’s most famous portraits, that of the actress Elizabeth Farren, soon to be the Countess of Derby, “completely Elizabeth Farren: arch, spirited, elegant and engaging”, according to one newspaper.

In 1791 Lawrence was elected an associate of the Royal Academy and the following year, on the death of Sir Joshua Reynolds, King George III appointed him “painter-in-ordinary to his majesty”. His reputation was established, and he moved to a studio in Old Bond Street. In 1794 he became a full member of the Royal Academy. Although commissions were pouring in, Lawrence was in financial difficulties. His debts would stay with him for the rest of life: he narrowly avoided bankruptcy and had to be bailed out by wealthy sitters and friends, and died insolvent. Biographers have never been able to discover the source of his debts; he was a prodigiously hard worker (once referring in a letter to his portrait painting as “mill-horse business”) and didn’t appear to live extravagantly. Lawrence himself said: “I have never been extravagant nor profligate in the use of money. Neither gaming, horses, curricles, expensive entertainments, nor secret sources of ruin from vulgar licentiousness have swept it from me”. This has generally been accepted, with biographers blaming his financial problems on his generosity towards his family and others, his inability to keep accounts (in spite of advice from his friend the painter and diarist Joseph Farington), and his magnificent but costly collection of Old Master drawings.

Another source of unhappiness in Lawrence’s life was his romantic entanglement with two of Sarah Siddons’ daughters. He fell in love first with Sally, then transferred his affections on to her sister Maria, then broke with Maria and turned to Sally again. Both the sisters had fragile health; Maria died in 1798, on her deathbed extracting a promise from her sister never to marry Lawrence. Sally kept her promise and refused to see Lawrence again, dying in 1803. But Lawrence continued on friendly terms with their mother and painted several portraits of her. He never married. In later years two women would provide him with companionship, friends Elizabeth Croft and Isabella Wolff who first met Lawrence when she sat for her portrait in 1803. Isabella was married to the Danish consul Jens Wolff, but she separated from him in 1810, and Sir Michael Levey suggests that people may have wondered if Lawrence was the father of her son Herman.

Lawrence’s departures from portraiture were very rare. In the early 1790s he completed two history pictures: Homer reciting his poems, a small picture of the poet in a pastoral setting; and Satan summoning his legions, a giant canvas to illustrate lines from John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The boxer John Jackson posed for the naked body of Satan; the face is that of Sarah Siddons’ brother, John Philip Kemble.

Lawrence’s parents died within a few months of each other in 1797 and he gave up his house in Picadilly, where he had moved from Old Bond Street, to set up his studio in the family home in Greek Street. By now, to keep up with the demand for replicas of his portraits, he was making use of studio assistants, most notable of whom would be William Etty and George Henry Harlow. The early years of the nineteenth century saw Lawrence’s portrait practice continue to flourish: amongst his sitters were major political figures such as Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville and William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose wife Lady Caroline Lamb was also painted by Lawrence. The king commissioned portraits of his daughter-in-law Caroline, the estranged wife of the Prince of Wales, and his granddaughter Charlotte. Lawrence stayed at the Montague House, the residence of the princess in Blackheath, while he was painting the portraits and thus became implicated in the “delicate investigation” into Caroline’s morals. He swore an affidavit that although he had on occasion been alone with the princess, the door had never been locked or bolted and he had “not the least objection for all the world to have heard or seen what took place”. Expertly defended by Spencer Perceval, he was exonerated.

By the time the Prince of Wales was made regent in 1814, Lawrence was acknowledged as the foremost portrait painter in the country. Through one of his sitters, Lord Charles Stewart, he met the Prince Regent who was to become his most important patron. As well as portraits of himself, the prince commissioned portraits of allied leaders: the Duke of Wellington, Field-Marshal von Blücher and Count Platov sat for Lawrence at his new house at 65 Russell Square. The prince also had plans for Lawrence to travel abroad and paint foreign royalty and leaders, and as a preliminary he was given a knighthood on 22 April 1815. Napoleon’s return from Elba put these plans on hold, although Lawrence did make a visit to Paris, where his friend Lord Charles Stewart was ambassador, and saw the art that Napoleon had looted from Italy, including Raphael’s Transfiguration, the painting he had reproduced for his silver-gilt palette as a boy.

In 1817 the prince commissioned Lawrence to paint a portrait of his daughter Princess Charlotte, who was pregnant with her first child. Charlotte died in childbirth; Lawrence completed the portrait and presented it to her husband Prince Leopold at Claremont on his birthday, as agreed. The princess’s obstetrician, Sir Richard Croft, who later shot himself, was the half-brother of Lawrence’s friend, Elizabeth Croft, and for her Lawrence drew a sketch of Croft in his coffin.

Eventually, in September 1818, Lawrence was able to make his postponed trip to the continent to paint the allied leaders, first at Aachen and then at the conference of Vienna, for what would become the Waterloo Chamber series, housed in Windsor Castle. His sitters included Tsar Alexander, Emperor Francis I of Austria, the King of Prussia, Field-Marshal Prince Schwarzenberg, Archduke Charles of Austria and Henriette his wife, and a young Napoleon II, as well as various French and Prussian ministers. In May 1819, still under orders from the Prince Regent, he left Vienna for Rome to paint Pope Pius VII and Cardinal Consalvi.

Lawrence arrived back in London 30 March 1820 to find that the president of the Royal Academy, Benjamin West, had died. That very evening Lawrence was voted the new president, a position he would hold until his death 10 years later. George III had died in January; Lawrence was granted a place in the procession for the coronation of George IV. On 28 February 1822 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society “for his eminence in art”. The royal commissions continued during the 1820s, including one for a portrait of the king’s sister Sophia, and one of Sir Walter Scott (along with Jane Austen, one of Lawrence’s favourite authors), as well as one to paint King Charles X of France for the Waterloo series, for which Lawrence made a trip to Paris, taking Herman Wolff with him. Lawrence acquired another important patron in Robert Peel, who commissioned the painter to do portraits of his family as well a portrait of George Canning. Two of Lawrence’s most famous portraits of children were painted during the 1820s: that of Emily and Laura Calmady and that of Master Charles William Lambton, painted for his father Lord Durham for 600 guineas and known as The Red Boy. The latter portrait attracted much praise when it was exhibited in Paris in 1827. One of the artist’s last commissions was of future prime-minister the Earl of Aberdeen. Fanny Kemble, a niece of Sarah Siddons, was one of his last sitters (for a drawing).

Lawrence died suddenly on 7 January 1830, just months after his friend Isabella Wolff. A few days previously he had experienced chest pains but had continued working and was eagerly anticipating a stay with his sister at Rugby, when he collapsed and died during a visit from his friends Elizabeth Croft and Archibald Keightley. After a post-mortem examination, doctors concluded that the artist’s death had been caused by ossification of the aorta and vessels of the heart. Lawrence’s first biographer, D. E. Williams suggested that this in itself was not enough to cause death and it was his doctors’ over-zealous bleeding and leeching that killed him. Lawrence was buried on 21 January in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. Amongst the mourners was J. M. W. Turner who painted a sketch of the funeral from memory.

Lawrence was famed for the length of time he took to finish some of his paintings (Isabella Wolff waited twelve years for her portrait to be completed) and, at his death, his studio contained a large number of unfinished works. Some were completed by his assistants and other artists, some were sold as they were. In his will Lawrence left instructions to offer, at a price much below their worth, his collection of Old Master drawings to first George IV, then the trustees of the British Museum, then Robert Peel and the Earl of Dudley. None of them accepted the offer and the collection was split up and auctioned; many of the drawings later found their way into the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum. After Lawrence’s creditors had been paid, there was no money left, although a memorial exhibition at the British Institution raised £3,000 which was given to his nieces.

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Kemble
Charles Kemble (25 November 1775 – 12 November 1854) was a British actor.

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Charles Kemble

The youngest son of Roger Kemble, and younger brother of John Philip Kemble, Stephen Kemble and Sarah Siddons. Born at Brecon. Like John Philip, he was educated at Douai. After returning to England in 1792, he obtained a job in the post office, but soon resigned to go on the stage, making his first recorded appearance at Sheffield as Orlando in As You Like It in that year.

During the early part of his career as an actor he slowly gained popularity. For a considerable time he played with his brother and sister, chiefly in secondary parts, and received little attention.

His first London appearance was in 1794, as Malcolm to his brother’s Macbeth. Ultimately he won independent fame, especially in such characters as Archer in George Farquhar’s Beaux’ Stratagem, Dorincourt in Hannah Cowley’s Belle’s Stratagem, Charles Surface and Ranger in Benjamin Hoadley’s Suspicious Husband. His Laërtes and Macduff were as accomplished as his brother’s Hamlet and Macbeth. His production of Cymbeline in 1827 inaugurated the trend to historical accuracy in stagings of that play that reached a peak with Henry Irving at the turn of the century.

In comedy he was ably supported by his wife, Marie Therese De Camp, whom he married on 2 July 1806. His visit, with his daughter Fanny, to America during 1832 and 1834, aroused much enthusiasm. The later part of his career was beset by money troubles in connection with his joint proprietorship of Covent Garden theatre. He formally retired from the stage in 1836, but his final appearance was in 1840. For some time he held the office of examiner of plays. In 1844-1845 he gave readings from Shakespeare at Willis’s Rooms. Macready regarded his Cassio as incomparable, and summed him up as “a first-rate actor of second-rate parts.”

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Regency Personalities Series
In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Frances Anne Kemble (Fanny)
November 27 1809-January 15 1893

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Fanny was born into the Kemble theatrical family, the daughter of Charles Kemble. Her uncle was John Philip Kemble, and her aunt Sarah Siddons. Born in London and educated mostly in France, she appeared on stage in 1829 as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at Covent Garden. She became a great favorite. It also helped her father to recoup many losses he had as a manager.She played all the principal roles of the time.

In 1832 the family took a tour of the United States. In 1834 she married the american Pierce Butler, grandson of a founding father. They had two daughters but Fanny did not seem to really know the man she was marrying. Butler was a slave owner, and in 1838-39 the family went to the plantations. Here Fanny say how terrible slaves were treated first hand, and how badly Butler was as man and manager. In the spring of 1839 she left the plantations and separated from her husband.

She returned to the stage in the US in 1847 needing money, and divorced Butler in 49. She was not able to see her daughters until they turned 21. While on those horrid plantations she wrote, “Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation in 1838-1839” but did not publish until 1863. It had circulated amongst abolitionists before that. It is considered a critical work from the era.

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She returned to England in 1877 and lived out her life, becoming friends with Henry James. She wrote plays, memoirs and her daughter Frances, thought to write a rebuttal to her mother’s famous work. Frances, the daughter had tried to make a go of the plantations that her father had left her (he had become nearly bankrupt and plowed through a fortune after the separation to Fanny). Frances, the daughter failed. Fanny died in 1893 in London.

Previous Notables (Click to see the Blog):

George III George IV Georgiana Cavendish
William IV Lady Hester Stanhope Lady Caroline Lamb
Princess Charlotte Queen Charlotte Charles James Fox
Queen Adelaide Dorothea Jordan Jane Austen
Maria Fitzherbert Lord Byron John Keats
Princess Caroline Percy Bysshe Shelley Cassandra Austen
Edmund Kean Thomas Clarkson Sir John Moore
John Burgoyne William Wilberforce Richard Brinsley Sheridan
Sarah Siddons Josiah Wedgwood Emma Hamilton
Hannah More John Phillip Kemble John Jervis, Earl St. Vincent
Ann Hatton Stephen Kemble Mary Robinson
Harriet Mellon Zachary Macaulay George Elphinstone
Thomas Babington George Romney Mary Moser
Ozias Humphry William Hayley Daniel Mendoza
Edward Pellew Angelica Kauffman Sir William Hamilton
David Garrick Pownoll Bastard Pellew Charles Arbuthnot
William Upcott William Huskisson Dominic Serres
Sir George Barlow Scrope Davies Charles Francis Greville
George Stubbs

There will be many other notables coming, a full and changing list can be found here on the blog as I keep adding to it. The list so far is:

General Sir Robert Arbuthnot
Harriet Fane Arbuthnot
Richard Harding Evans
Joseph Antonio Emidy
John Ireland
William Gifford
John Wolcot
Sir Joseph Banks
Richard Porson
Eva Marie Veigel
‘Gentleman’ John Jackson
Edward Gibbon
William Mason
Thomas Warton
James Smithson
Adam Walker
John Opie
Robert Fulke Greville
William Cowper
Richard Cumberland
Richard Cosway
Jacob Phillipp Hackert
Sir George Warren
John Thomas Serres
Wellington (the Military man)
Horatio Nelson
Cuthbert Collingwood
Thomas Troubridge
Admiral Sir Graham Moore
Admiral Sir William Sydney Smith
Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
Howe
Viscount Hood
Thomas Hope
Colin Mccaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Napoleon Bonaparte
Packenham
Admiral Israel Pellew
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Stapleton Cotton
Sir Charles Grey
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Thomas Gainsborough
James Gillray
Sir Joshua Reynolds
George Stubbs
Joseph Priestley
William Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk 9th Duke of St. Albans
Hugh Percy, 3rd Duke of Northumberland
Horace Walpole
John Thomas ‘Antiquity’ Smith
Thomas Coutts
Rowlandson
William Blake
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Sir Marc Brunel
Marquis of Stafford George Leveson-Gower
George Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Henry Holland
Sir Walter Scott
Lord Elgin
Jeffery Wyatville
Hester Thrale
William Windham
Madame de Stael
James Boswell
Edward Eliot
George Combe
Sir Harry Smith
Charles Lennox, 3rd Duke of Richmond
Juana Maria de Los Dolores de Leon (Lady Smith)
Duke of Argyll, George William Campbell (1766-1839)
Lord Barrymore, Richard Barry (1769-1794)
Lord Bedford, Francis Russell (1765-1802)
Mr. G. Dawson Damer (1788-1856)
Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish (1748-1811)
Lord Foley, Thomas Foley (1780-1833)
Colonel George Hanger (c.1751-1824)
Lord Hertford, Francis Seymour-Ingram (1743-1822)
Lord Yarmouth, Francis Charles Seymour-Ingram (1777-1842)
Edward “Golden Ball” Hughes (1798-1863)
Earl of Jersey, George Bussey Villiers (1735-1805)
Sir John , John Lade (1759-1838)
Duke of Norfolk, Charles Howard (1746-1815)
Duke of York , Frederick Augustus Hanover (1763-1827)
Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1785 as Duc d’ Orleans (1747-1793)
Louis Philippe, Duc de Chartres, acceded 1793 as Duc d’ Orleans (1773-1850)
Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne (1752-1803)
Viscount Petersham, Charles Stanhope(1780-1851)
Duke of Queensberry, William Douglas (1724-1810)
Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners(1778-1857)
Lord Sefton, William Philip Molyneux (1772-1838)
Admiral Lord Hugh Seymour (1759-1801)
Sir Lumley St. George Skeffington Baronet (1771 – 1850)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1766-1835)
Lord Worcester, Henry Somerset (1792-1853)
Hon. Frederick Gerald aka “Poodle” Byng
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Edmund Burke

The Dandy Club
        Beau Brummell
        William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley
        Henry Mildmay
        Henry Pierrepoint

Patronesses of Almacks
        Emily Lamb, Lady Cowper
        Amelia Stewart, Viscountess Castlereagh
        Sarah Villiers, Countess of Jersey
        Maria Molyneux, Countess of Sefton
        Mrs. Drummond Burrell
        Dorothea Lieven, Countess de Lieven, wife of the Russian Ambassador
        Countess Esterhazy, wife of the Austrian Ambassador

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