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Posts Tagged ‘Princess Caroline’

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.

Prince William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh
15 January 1776 – 30 November 1834

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William Frederick

Prince William Frederick Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh was born on 15 January 1776 at Palazzo Teodoli in via del Corso, Rome. His father was Prince William, Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the third son of the Prince of Wales. His mother was Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, the illegitimate daughter of Edward Walpole and granddaughter of Robert Walpole. As a great-grandson of George II he held the title of Prince of Great Britain with the style His Highness, not His Royal Highness, at birth. The young prince was christened at Teodoli Palace, on 12 February 1776 by a Rev Salter. His godparents were the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg (his first cousin once-removed and his wife) and The Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (his second cousin once-removed).

During his stay in Stockholm in 1802–1803, his interest and rumoured affair with Aurora Wilhelmina Koskull attracted a lot of attention, and he reportedly had plans to marry her. Queen Charlotte recalled that William said of Koskull: “If she was your daughter, I would marry her!”

He was admitted to the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) in 1787, and granted his MA in 1790. On 25 August 1805, Prince William’s father died, and he inherited the titles Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh and Earl of Connaught. From 1811 until his death he was Chancellor of the University of Cambridge. He was offered the position of king of Sweden in 1812 by some members of the Swedish nobility, but the British government would not allow it.

On 22 July 1816, he married The Princess Mary, his cousin and the fourth daughter of George III. The marriage took place at St. James’s Palace, London. On that day, The Prince Regent granted the Duke the style of His Royal Highness by Order in Council.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester lived at Bagshot Park in Surrey. They had no children together; they had married when both were 40. The Duke had been encouraged to stay single, so that there might be a suitable groom for Princess Charlotte of Wales, the heiress to the throne, even if no foreign match proved suitable; she had married Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburgten weeks earlier.

He was active in many walks of life, and on 27 April 1822 chaired the first Annual General Meeting of London’s new United University Club. Politics, however, was not among them; he entered the House of Lords rarely, and he voted on few of the great issues of his time. He did advocate the abolition of slavery, and he supported Caroline of Brunswick and the Duke of Sussex against George IV.

He kept more state than the King; he never permitted a gentleman to be seated in his presence (which King George did as an exceptional favour) and expected to be served coffee by the ladies of any party he attended, and that they would stand while he drank it. The general estimate of his capacity is given by his nickname, “Silly Billy”; he was also called “Slice of Gloucester” and “Cheese”, a reference to Gloucester cheese.

The Duke died on 30 November 1834, and was buried in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.

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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.

Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda
29 September 1766 – 5 October 1828

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Charlotte Augusta Matilda

Princess Charlotte Augusta Matilda was born on 29 September 1766 at Buckingham House, London, to British monarch, King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She was christened on 27 October 1766 at St James’s Palace, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Secker, and her godparents were her paternal uncle and aunt, King Christian VII of Denmark and his wife, Caroline Matilda of Great Britain (for whom the Duke of Portland, Lord Chamberlain, and the Dowager Countess of Effingham, stood proxy, respectively) and her paternal aunt, Princess Louisa.

Charlotte was officially designated as Princess Royal on 22 June 1789. After the birth of three sons in a row, her parents were delighted to have a Princess in the nursery. Like all of her siblings, Charlotte was inoculated in December 1768 along with her brother William. As the eldest daughter of the monarch, Charlotte was assumed to be destined for an important marriage on the continent, and her education was considered to be of the utmost importance, beginning when she was only eighteen months old. Since French was the official language in every European court, the little Princess was given a Frenchwoman to be her tutor, in order that she should have no accent. Her memory was another of her beginning subjects. She was taught to recite little verses and stories, and as a result had an almost uncanny ability to recall detail for the rest of her life. Her early childhood was not all scholarly pursuits. When she was almost three years old, she took place in her first tableau dressed like Columbine, where she danced with her seven-year-old brother George, Prince of Wales. She was not a naturally musical child and later abhorred such displays of children, declaring that they made children vain and self-important. This did not stop her parents from continuing to show her off. In late 1769, she and the Prince of Wales were once again displayed, this time to the public in a “junior drawing room” in St. James’ Palace. Charlotte was dressed in a Roman toga and lay on a sofa.

Though this type of thing was common in German courts, it was considered vulgar in England, where in reaction a London mob drove a hearse into the Palace courtyard. Afterward, the Prince of Wales told Lady Mary Coke that the whole event had made Charlotte “terribly tired.” Wisely, the King and Queen decided to never repeat the experience.

Though she was the eldest daughter, Charlotte was constantly compared to her sister Augusta Sophia, only two years younger than she. When Augusta was a month old, Lady Mary Coke called her “the most beautiful baby I have ever seen” while Charlotte was “very plain”. Passing judgment once again three years later, Charlotte was now “the most sensible agreeable child I ever saw, but in my opinion far from pretty” while Augusta was still “rather pretty”. Although the Princess Royal was never as beautiful as her younger sister, she did not share in Augusta’s primary flaw: painful shyness, though Charlotte did suffer from a stammer that her attendant Mary Dacres tried to help her young charge overcome. In 1770, the cluster of the three eldest princesses was completed with the birth of Princess Elizabeth, the seventh child. For the time being the family remained comparatively small (there were fifteen royal children in all), and Charlotte was fortunate in having parents who preferred spending time with their numerous children to spending all their time at court and took her education seriously. However, given the frequency with which children were being produced and the troubles that plagued George III’s reign, Charlotte’s childhood was not as utopian as her parents planned it to be.

Like her siblings, the Princess Royal was educated by tutors and spent most her childhood at Buckingham Palace, Kew Palace, and Windsor Castle, where her wet nurse was Frances wife of James Muttlebury.

On 18 May 1797, the Princess Royal was married at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, London to The Hereditary Prince Frederick of Württemberg, the eldest son and heir apparent of Duke Frederick II Eugene of Württemberg and his wife, Margravine Sophia Dorothea of Brandenburg-Schwedt.

The younger Frederick succeeded his father as the reigning Duke of Württemberg on 22 December 1797. Duke Frederick II had two sons and two daughters by his first marriage to the late Princess Augusta (3 December 1764 – 27 September 1788), the daughter of Duke Karl II of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Augusta of Great Britain to (the elder sister of George III) and the elder sister of Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of the future George IV (then Prince of Wales). The marriage between Duke Frederick and the Princess Royal produced one child: a stillborn daughter on 27 April 1798.

In 1800, the French army occupied Württemberg and the Duke and Duchess fled to Vienna. The following year, Duke Frederick concluded a private treaty ceding Montbeliard to France and receiving Ellwanger in exchange two years later. He assumed the title Elector of Württemberg on 25 February 1803. In exchange for providing France with a large auxiliary force, Napoleon recognized the Elector as King of Württemberg on 26 December 1805. Electress Charlotte became queen when her husband formally ascended the throne on 1 January 1806 and was crowned as such on the same day at Stuttgart, Germany. Württemberg seceded from the Holy Roman Empire and joined Napoleon’s short-lived Confederation of the Rhine. However, the newly elevated king’s alliance with France technically made him the enemy of his father-in-law, George III. George III, incensed by his son-in-law’s assumption of the title and his role of one of Napoleon’s most devoted vassals, accordingly refused to address his daughter as “Queen of Württemberg” in correspondence. In 1813, King Frederick changed sides and went over the Allies, where his status as the brother-in-law of the Prince Regent (later George IV) helped his standing. After the fall of Napoleon, he attended the Congress of Vienna and was confirmed as king. He died in October 1816.

The Dowager Queen of Württemberg continued to live at the Ludwigsburg Palace, Stuttgart and received visits from her younger siblings, the Duke of Kent, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of Cambridge, the Landgravine of Hesse-Homburg, and Princess Augusta Sophia. She was a godmother (by proxy) at the christening of her niece, Princess Victoria of Kent (the future Queen Victoria), in 1819. In 1827, she returned to Britain for the first time since her wedding in 1797 in order to have surgery for dropsy. She died at Ludwigsburg Palace the following year and is buried there in the royal vault.

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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.

Princess Augusta Frederica
31 July 1737 – 23 March 1813

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Augusta Frederica

Princess Augusta Frederica was a granddaughter of George II and only elder sibling of George III. She married into the ducal house of Brunswick, of which she was already a member. Her daughter Carolinewas the wife of George IV.

Princess Augusta Frederica was born at St. James’s Palace, London. Her father was Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of King George II and Queen Caroline of Ansbach and her mother was the Princess of Wales, Augusta of Saxe-Gotha.

Fifty days later, she was christened at St. James’s Palace by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were her paternal grandfather, the King (represented by his Lord Chamberlain, the Duke of Grafton), and her grandmothers, Queen Caroline and the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Gotha (both represented by proxies).
Her third birthday was celebrated by the first public performance of Rule, Britannia! at Cliveden in Buckinghamshire.

She was born second in the line of succession. Augusta was given a careful education and the negotiations about her marriage began in 1761.

On 16 January 1764, Augusta married Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, at the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace.

Augusta regarded the residence in Brunswick as too simple. She returned to Great Britain in 1764 in the company of Charles to give birth to her first child, and took a long time to return to Brunswick after the birth. During their visit in England, it was noted that the Brunswicks was cheered by the crowds when they showed themselves in public. This, reportedly, made them exposed to suspicion in the eyes of the court. During their visit, her sister-in-law queen Charlotte apparently refused them some honors at court, such as banning salutes to their honor. This attracted negative publicity toward the royal couple. During the negotiations thirty years later, when her daughter was to marry the Prince of Wales, Augusta commented the visit of 1764 to the British negotiator, Lord Malmesbury and stated her view that queen Charlotte disliked both her and her mother because of jealousy.

A new palace was built for her in Zuckerberg south of Brunswick to answer more to her taste, constructed by Carl Christoph Wilhelm Fleischer, and called Schloss Richmond, to remind her of England. When the palace was finished in 1768, Augusta moved there permanently.

The marriage was purely an arranged political marriage and Augusta and Charles regarded each other with mutual indifference. Augusta was indifferent to Charles’s affairs with Maria Antonia Branconi and Louise Hertefeld. Her indifference was sometimes seen as arrogance, and it gave rise to rumours and slander. Augusta’s popularity was severely damaged by the fact that her eldest sons were born with handicaps.
In 1772, Augusta visited England on the invitation of her mother. On this occasion, she was involved in a conflict with her sister-in-law queen Charlotte. She was not allowed to live at Carlton House or St.James Palace despite the fact that it was empty at the time, but was forced to live in a small house at Pall Mall. The queen had a conflict with her about etiquette, and refused her to see her brother the king alone. According to M. Walpole, the reason was jealousy from the part of the queen.

Augusta rarely appeared at the court of Braunschweig because of the dominance of her mother-in-law. When Charles became regent in 1773, her mother-in-law left the court and Augusta filled the position of first lady in the court ceremonies of Brunswick, although she often took short holidays to her personal palace Richmond. In 1780, Charles, already regent for his father, became sovereign duke, and Augusta became duchess consort.

The Swedish Princess Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte described her, as well as her family, at the time of her visit in August, 1799:

Our cousin the Duke arrived immediately the next morning. He has won many victorys as a notable military man, are witty, litteral and a pleasant aquaitance but ceremonial beyond description. He is said to be quite strict, but a good father of the nation who attends to the needs of his people. After he left us, I visited the Dowager Duchess, the aunt of my consort. She is an agreable, highly educated and well respected lady, but now so old that she has almost lost her memory. From her I continued to the Duchess, sister to the King of England and a typical English woman. She looked very simple, like a vicar’s wife, has I am sure many admirable qualities and are very respectable, but completely lacks manners. She makes the stranges questions without considering how difficult and unpleasant they can be. Both the hereditary princess as well as princess Augusta – sister of the sovereign Duke – came to her while I was there. The former are delightful, mild, loveable, witty and clever, not a beauty but still very pretty. In addition, she is said to be admirably kind to her boring consort. The princess Augusta are full of wit and energy and very amusing. (….) The Duchess and the Princesses followed me to Richmond, the country villa of the Duchess a bit outside of the town. It was small and pretty with a beautiful little park, all after an English pattern. As she had the residence constructed herself, it amuses her to show it to others. (….)The sons of the Ducal couple are somewhat peculiar. The hereditary prince, chubby and fat, almost blind, strange and odd – if not to say an imbecill – attempts to imitate his father but only makes himself artificial and unpleasant. He talks contiunously, does not know what he says and is in all aspects unbearable. He is accommodating but a poor thing, loves his consort to the point of worship and is completely governed by her. The other son, Prince Georg, is the most ridiculous person imaginable, and so silly that he can never be left alone but is always accompanied by a courtier. The third son is also described as an original. I never saw him, as he served with his regiment. The fourth is the only normal one, but also torments his parents by his imoral behaviour.

In 1806, when Prussia declared war on France, the Duke of Brunswick, 71 at the time, was appointed commander-in-chief of the Prussian army. On 14 October of that year, at the Battle of Jena, Napoleon defeated the Prussian army, and, on the same day, at the battle of Auerstadt, the Duke of Brunswick was seriously wounded, dying a few days later. The Duchess of Brunswick, with two of her sons, and a widowed daughter-in-law, fled her ruined palace for Altona, where she was present with her daughter-in-law Marie of Baden at her dying husband’s side. Her other daughter-in-law, Louise of Orange-Nassau, left for Switzerland with her mother. Due to the advancing French army, Augusta and Marie were advised by the British ambassador to flee, and they left shortly before her husband’s death. They were invited to Sweden by Marie’s brother-in-law King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. Marie accepted the offer and left for Sweden, but Augusta left for Augustenborg, a small town east of Jutland. The Duchess of Brunswick remained here, with her niece, Princess Louise Augusta, daughter of her sister Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark, until her brother, George III finally relented, in September 1807, and allowed her to move to London. She moved to Montague House, Blackheath, in Greenwich, with her daughter, the Princess of Wales, but soon fell out with her daughter, and purchased the house next door, Brunswick House, as she renamed it. The Duchess of Brunswick lived out her days in Blackheath and died, in 1813, aged 75.

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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.

Elizabeth Conyngham Marchioness Conyngham
31 July 1769 – 11 October 1861

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Elizabeth Conyngham

Elizabeth Conyngham Marchioness Conyngham was born in 1769. Her father was Joseph Denison, who had made a fortune in banking. Her mother was Elizabeth Butler. On 5 July 1794, Elizabeth married Henry Conyngham, Viscount Conyngham, an Irish peer. Despite her beauty, she was considered vulgar, shrewd, greedy, and a voluptuous woman by aristocratic society, on account of her common background; however, she attracted lovers and admirers, including the Tsarevitch of Russia, the future Nicholas I.

The Conynghams were not well-connected, and according to the Duke of Wellington, Elizabeth decided as early as 1806 to become a mistress of the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. She probably became his lover in 1819, when the Prince was Prince Regent, but finally supplanted her predecessor, Isabella Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford after he became king in 1820. He became besotted with her, constantly “kissing her hand with a look of most devoted submission”, and while his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was on her divorce “trial”, the king could not be seen with Lady Conyngham, and was consequently “bored and lonely”. During the Coronation, George was constantly seen “nodding and winking” at her.

Lady Conyngham’s liaison with the King benefited her family. Her husband was raised to the rank of a marquess in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and sworn to the Privy Council, in the Coronation honours of 1821. He was also given several other offices, including Lord Steward of the Household and the Lieutenantcy of Windsor Castle. Her second son was Master of the Robes and First Groom of the Chamber.

Lady Conyngham had Whiggish sympathies, but was not concerned with political ambition; she concentrated on furthering the financial position of her family. However, when she requested that her son’s tutor be made Canon of St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool threatened to resign. Arguments with Lady Castlereagh further worsened the relationship between the King and government. She also disliked the Keeper of the Privy Purse, Benjamin Bloomfield, and was successful in having him removed in 1822. His successor, William Knighton, was a close friend of the King, who successfully cleared all his debts later in his reign. Dorothea Lieven dismissed her with contempt as having ” not an idea in her head…not a word to say for herself..nothing but a hand to accept pearls and diamonds, and an enormous balcony to wear them on.”

 

As his life progressed, the King became dependent on Lady Conyngham on account of his temper and poor health. However weary she became of his company, his affection for her never ceased. The relationship came to an end with George’s sudden death in 1830; she immediately moved from Windsor Castle to Paris. Although the King had bequeathed her all his plate and jewels, she refused the entire legacy. The Marquess broke his staff of office at George’s funeral, and was never to hold another one in the next reign. Lady Conyngham lived until 1861, dying near Canterbury at the age of 92. Although excluded from court during the reigns of King William IV and Queen Victoria, her son, Francis Conyngham, 2nd Marquess Conyngham, was Lord Chamberlain to William, and, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury, brought the news of William’s death to Princess Victoria, and first addressed her Your Majesty. The 2nd Marquess’s daughter, Jane Churchill, was later a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Victoria and one of her closest friends

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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.

Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom
7 August 1783 – 2 November 1810

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Princess Amelia

Princess Amelia of the United Kingdom was born on 7 August 1783, at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, the youngest of George III and Queen Charlotte’s fifteen children as well as the only of her siblings born at Windsor Castle. It is often said that she was her father’s favourite, and accordingly, he affectionately called her, “Emily”. She was born after the early deaths of her two elder brothers: Octavius (23 February 1779 – 3 May 1783) and Alfred (22 September 1780 – 20 August 1782). The death of these two princes left a gap of almost six years between Amelia and her nearest surviving sibling, Princess Sophia. She was twenty-one years younger than her eldest sibling George and nearly seventeen years younger than her eldest sister Charlotte. As the daughter of the monarch, she was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess Amelia from birth.

Amelia was christened at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace by John Moore, The Archbishop of Canterbury, on 17 September 1783. Her godparents were The Prince of Wales (Amelia’s eldest brother), The Princess Royal (her eldest sister), and The Princess Augusta Sophia (her second eldest sister). She was the fifteenth sibling christened there.

Coming so soon after the death of Octavius and shortly before the end of the war between Great Britain and the United States, Amelia’s birth was felt to be a beginning of a new period of hope, and much was expected of her, even from birth. “Our littlest sister is without exception one of the prettiest children I have ever seen,” her oldest sister wrote to Prince William when Amelia was only a month old. She was expected to be as beautiful, charming, and winning as Octavius, her father’s previous favorite child, had been. As a result of her two brothers’ deaths, Amelia was considered as her father’s favourite.

From an early age, Amelia was conscious of her rank. A popular tale relates that when the famous tragedian, Sarah Siddons, expressed a desire to kiss the beautiful baby, Amelia “…instantly held her little hand out to be kissed, so early had she learnt the lessons of Royalty.” When Amelia was three, Fanny Burney, the Queen’s Keeper of the Robes, commented that the princess could be “decorous and dignified when called upon to act en princess to any strangers, as if conscious of her high rank, and the importance of condescendingly sustaining it.” Burney even dubbed her “the little idol”. As the youngest of the thirteen surviving children, Amelia was grouped with her sisters Mary and Sophia, and spent most of her time with them, living in various royal residences. From the beginning, the three younger princesses did not receive as much parental attention as their elder sisters had, and spent a good deal of time away from the King and Queen, communicating with them mostly by letter.

It seems that the three youngest princesses were much wilder than their elder sisters, as evidenced by their behavior when they sat for a portrait in 1785. In 1770, Zoffany had been able to paint the King, the Queen, and all six eldest children with little difficulty. In 1785, however, Copley had so much difficulty getting the dogs, birds, and especially the three royal children to sit still, that he never painted another portrait. Compared to the carefully planned education that Charlotte, Augusta, and Elizabeth had been given, the education given to Mary, Sophia, and Amelia was based solely on what had come before. Amelia was only five years old when her father suffered his first bout of madness. As a consequence of her father’s declining health, she never experienced the closeness and affection that had characterized the family during her elder sisters’ early years.

Prior to 1788, King George had told his daughters that he would take them to Hanover and find them suitable husbands despite misgivings he had, which stemmed from his sisters’ own unhappy marriages. He remarked, “I cannot deny that I have never wished to see any of them marry: I am happy in their company, and do not in the least want a separation.” However, the King suffered his first bout of madness that year, when Amelia was aged five. Further lapses into insanity occurred in 1801 and 1804, thus forestalling talk of marriage for his daughters. The question of matrimony was rarely raised; Queen Charlotte feared that the subject, which had always discomforted the King, would push him back into insanity. Furthermore the queen, strained from her husband’s illness, wanted the princesses to remain close to her.

Amelia and her sisters, Charlotte, Augusta Sophia, Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia were over-protected and isolated, which restricted them meeting eligible suitors of their own age.

In 1798 Princess Amelia developed a pain in the joint of her knee, and was sent to the large seaside town of Worthing for recovery. She wrote to her father, “Certainly the vapour and warm sea bath are of use and therefore I hope that I shall be able to assure you that I am better.” The following year Amelia temporarily recovered enough to join her family at Weymouth, where she doted upon her niece Princess Charlotte of Wales. Throughout her life Amelia was often in poor health; at the age of fifteen, she started to suffer the early symptoms of what turned out to be tuberculosis.

In 1801 the princess was sent for a seaside cure at Weymouth to improve her health. Among those staying with her was the Hon. Charles FitzRoy, an equerry 21 years older than herself, and the son of Charles FitzRoy, 1st Baron Southampton. Amelia fell in love with the equerry, desiring to marry him. The Queen was told of the affair by a servant, but turned a blind eye. It was hoped that such discretion would prevent the King from discovering the liaison, which may have risked sending him into one of the bouts of mental illness to which he was becoming increasingly prone. Though she never gave up hope of marrying him, Amelia knew she could not legally marry FitzRoy due to the provisions of the Royal Marriages Act passed by her father’s Parliament (at least until she reached the age of 25, after which she could receive permission by assent of the Privy Council). She would later tell her brother Frederick that she considered herself to be married, taking the initials A. F. R. (Amelia FitzRoy).

In 1808, Amelia had a severe attack of measles and the depressed atmosphere at home with her mother in Windsor made her even more miserable. The anxious King George decided to send Amelia to Weymouth accompanied by her sister Mary. Her health was improved only a little, but she found comfort in quietly resting. In 1809 she could occasionally take short walks in the garden. This improvement was but temporary, however, and in August 1810 her sufferings grew sharper, whilst in October of that year she was seized with St. Anthony’s fire (erysipelas), which cut off all hope and confined her to her bed on the 25th. The king summoned his daughter’s physicians to him at seven o’clock every morning and three or four other times during the day, questioning them minutely as to her condition. She lingered a few days more, waited upon to the last by her favourite and devoted sister, the Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh. Her 2 November death occurred on her brother Edward’s birthday.

The dying princess had a mourning ring made for the king, composed of a lock of her hair, under crystal, set round with diamonds. He purportedly burst into tears upon receiving it. Otherwise, her will dictated all her possessions be given to Charles FitzRoy. Amelia was buried in the royal vault in St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Her eldest brother, later George IV, was her godfather and is reputed to have requested her death mask.

After Amelia’s death, George Villiers, the King’s bailiff, and younger brother of Thomas Villiers, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, attempted to blackmail the King and Queen with letters belonging to Amelia, after the disappearance of £280,000 in his control. Villiers was father of later diplomat and statesman George Villiers, 4th Earl of Clarendon.

Her death is partly credited to the decline in her father’s health which resulted in his insanity and the subsequent invocation of the Regency Act of 1811. According to his doctor Dr. Willis, the king would later cry “in a wild, monotonous, delirious way, ‘Oh Emily [Princess Amelia], why won’t you save your father? I hate all the physicians…” Another of King George’s delusions included the belief that a healthy Amelia was only staying in Hanover with a large family of her own, where she would “never grow older and always be well.”

Amelia has been described as a beautiful, slender girl with ruby lips and auburn hair. Reportedly she was the “most turbulent and tempestuous of all the Princesses”. However, she is also said to have been gentle, unselfish and highly intelligent. These qualities led her sister-in-law Princess Caroline, who was known to despise her in-laws, to call Amelia the “most amiable of the bunch”. Amelia was a favorite of both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex, who called her a “lovely creature”. Amelia adored the former and once told him that she had always loved him better than her other brothers. He for his part loved her perhaps more than he did his other sisters (with the possible exception of Princess Mary) and was devastated when she died. So deeply affected was he by her death that after her funeral, he could never again sleep in a room that was not lit by several wax candles. He also burst into tears at the mention of her name more than three years after her demise.

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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.

Archibald Hamilton 9th Duke of Hamilton
15 July 1740 – 16 February 1819

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Archibald Hamilton

Archibald Hamilton the 9th Duke of Hamilton was the eldest son of the 5th Duke of Hamilton and his third wife, Anne Spencer, and was educated at Eton.

In 1768, Hamilton became Member of Parliament for Lancashire and held the seat until 1772. In 1799, he inherited his half-nephew’s titles and was appointed his successor as Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire.

Hamilton was a prominent figure in the world of Thoroughbred horse racing. Between 1786 and 1814 his horses won seven runnings of the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster.

On 25 May 1765, he married Lady Harriet Stewart (a daughter of the 6th Earl of Galloway) and they had five children:

  • Lady Anne (1766–10 October 1846), lady-in-waiting to Queen Caroline, died unmarried (see also Olivia Serres)
  • Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton (1767–1852)
  • Lord Archibald Hamilton (1769–1827)
  • Lady Charlotte (1772–1827), married the 11th Duke of Somerset
  • Lady Susan (1774–1846), married the 5th Earl of Dunmore

The duke died in 1819 and was succeeded by his eldest son.

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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.

Henry Brougham 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux
19 September 1778 – 7 May 1868

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Henry Brougham

Henry Brougham 1st Baron Brougham and Vauxwas born and grew up in Edinburgh, the eldest son of Henry Brougham, of Brougham Hall in Westmorland, and Eleanora, daughter of Reverend James Syme. The Broughams had been an influential Cumberland family for centuries. Brougham was educated at the Royal High School and the University of Edinburgh, where he chiefly studied natural science and mathematics, but also law. He published several scientific papers through the Royal Society, notably on light and colours and on prisms, and at the age of only 25 was elected a Fellow. However, Brougham chose law as his profession, and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1800. He practised little in Scotland, and instead entered Lincoln’s Inn in 1803. Five years later he was called to the Bar. Not a wealthy man, Brougham turned to journalism as a means of supporting himself financially through these years. He was one of the founders of the Edinburgh Review and quickly became known as its foremost contributor, with articles on everything from science, politics, colonial policy, literature, poetry, surgery, mathematics and the fine arts.

In the early 19th century, Brougham, a follower of Newton, launched anonymous attacks in the Edinburgh Review against Thomas Young’s research that proved light was a wave phenomenon that exhibited interference and diffraction. Another example of Lord Brougham’s scientific incompetence is his attack against Sir William Herschel (1738–1822).

The success of the Edinburgh Review made Brougham a man of mark from his first arrival in London. He quickly became a fixture in London society and gained the friendship of Lord Grey and other leading Whig politicians. In 1806 the Foreign Secretary, Charles James Fox, appointed him secretary to a diplomatic mission to Portugal, led by James St Clair-Erskine, 2nd Earl of Rosslyn and John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent. The aim of the mission was to counteract the anticipated French invasion of Portugal. During these years he became a close supporter of the movement for the abolition of slavery, a cause to which he was to be passionately devoted for the rest of his life. Despite being a well-known and popular figure, Brougham had to wait before being offered a parliamentary seat to contest. However, in 1810 he was elected for Camelford, a rotten borough controlled by the Duke of Bedford. He quickly gained a reputation in the House of Commons, where he was one of the most frequent speakers, and was regarded by some as a potential future leader of the Whig Party. However, Brougham’s career was to take a downturn in 1812, when, standing as one of two Whig candidates for Liverpool, he was heavily defeated. He was to remain out of Parliament until 1816, when he was returned for Winchelsea. He quickly resumed his position as one of the most forceful members of the House of Commons, and worked especially in advocating a programme for the education of the poor and legal reform.

In 1812 Brougham had become one of the chief advisers to Caroline of Brunswick, the estranged wife of George, Prince of Wales, the Prince Regent and future George IV. This was to prove a key development in his life. In April 1820 Caroline, then living abroad, appointed Brougham her Attorney-General. Earlier that year George IV had succeeded to the throne on the death of his long incapacitated father George III. Caroline was brought back to Britain in June for appearances only, but the king immediately began divorce proceedings against her. The Pains and Penalties Bill, aimed at dissolving the marriage and stripping Caroline of her Royal title on the grounds of adultery, was brought before the House of Lords by the Tory government. However, Brougham led a legal team (which also included Thomas Denman) that eloquently defended the Princess. The bill passed, but by the narrow margin of only nine votes. Lord Liverpool, aware of the unpopularity over the bill and afraid that it might be overturned in the House of Commons then withdrew the bill. The British public had mainly been on the Princess’s side, and the outcome of the trial made Brougham one of the most famous men in the country. His legal practice on the Northern Circuit rose fivefold, although he had to wait until 1827 before being made a King’s Counsel.

In 1826, Brougham, along with Wellington, was one of the clients and lovers named in the notorious Memoirs of Harriette Wilson. Before publication, Wilson and publisher John Joseph Stockdale wrote to all those named in the book offering them the opportunity to be excluded from the work in exchange for a cash payment. Brougham paid and secured his anonymity.

Brougham remained member of Parliament for Winchelsea until February 1830 when he was returned for Knaresborough. However, he represented Knaresborough only until August the same year, when he became one of four representatives for Yorkshire. His support for abolitionism brought him enthusiastic support. The Reverend Benjamin Godwin of Bradford devised and funded posters that appealed to Yorkshire voters who had supported William Wilberforce to repeat their choice (and Godwin’s) with the new candidate, Henry Brougham.

In November the Tory government led by the Duke of Wellington fell, and the Whigs came to power under Lord Grey. It was considered impossible to leave the popular Brougham out of the government, although his independent political standing was thought to be a possible impediment to the new administration. Grey initially offered him the post of Attorney General, which Brougham refused. He was then offered the Lord Chancellorship, which he accepted, and on 22 November he was raised to the peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland. He was to remain in this post for exactly four years.

The highlights of Brougham’s tenure was the passing of the 1832 Reform Act, of which he was a staunch supporter, and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, the cause to which he had been devoted to for so many years. However, he was increasingly considered a dangerous and unreliable colleague due to his perceived arrogance and selfishness, as well as his tendency to interfere with every department of state. This placed him into conflict with the rest of the government.

In 1834 the Lord Chancellor, Lord Brougham and Vaux, was asked, “Do you consider that a compulsory education would be justified, either on principles of public utility or expediency?” to which he replied

I am decidedly of opinion that it is justifiable on neither; but, above all, I should regard anything of the kind as utterly destructive of the end it has in view. Suppose the people of England were taught to bear it, and to be forced to educate their children by means of penalties, education would be made absolutely hateful in their eyes, and would speedily cease to be endured. They who have argued in favour of such a scheme from the example of a military government like that of Prussia have betrayed, in my opinion, great ignorance of the nature of Englishmen. (Report of the Parliamentary Committee on the State of Education. 1834)

He nonetheless kept his post when the government was reconstructed in July 1834 under Lord Melbourne. The Melbourne administration was dismissed by the king in November the same year, and the Tories came to power under Sir Robert Peel. This government lasted only until April 1835, when Lord Melbourne was again summoned to form a government. However, Brougham was now so ill-regarded within his own party that he was not offered to resume the post of Lord Chancellor, which instead was put into commission. Melbourne told him frankly that his conduct had been one of the principal causes of the fall of the government, and when Brougham protested said brutally ” God damn you but you won’t get the Great Seal”. An even greater blow to him was when the post was eventually conferred on Charles Pepys, 1st Baron Cottenham, in January 1836.

Brougham was never to hold office again. However, for more than thirty years after his fall he continued to take an active part in the judicial business of the House of Lords, and in its debates, having now turned fiercely against his former political associates, but continuing his efforts on behalf of reform of various kinds. He also devoted much of his time to writing. He had continued to contribute to the Edinburgh Review, the best of his writings being subsequently published as Historical Sketches of Statesmen Who Flourished in the Time of George III.

In 1834, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

In 1837, Brougham presented a bill for public education, arguing that “it cannot be doubted that some legislative effort must at length be made to remove from this country the opprobrium of having done less for the education of the people than any of the more civilized nations on earth”.

In 1838, after news came up of British colonies where emancipation of the slaves was obstructed or where the ex-slaves were being badly treated and discriminated against, Lord Brougham stated in the House of Lords:
“The slave … is as fit for his freedom as any English peasant, ay, or any Lord whom I now address. I demand his rights; I demand his liberty without stint… . I demand that your brother be no longer trampled upon as your slave!”

Brougham also edited, in collaboration with Sir Charles Bell, William Paley’s Natural Theology and published a work on political philosophy and in 1838 he published an edition of his speeches in four volumes. The last of his works was his posthumous Autobiography. In 1857 he was one of the founders of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science and was its president at a number of congresses.

In 1860 Brougham was given by Queen Victoria a second peerage as Baron Brougham and Vaux, of Brougham in the County of Westmorland and of Highhead Castle in the County of Cumberland, with remainder to his youngest brother William Brougham (died 1886). The patent stated that the second peerage was in honour of the great services he had rendered, especially in promoting the abolition of slavery.

Brougham had married Mary Spalding (d. 1865), daughter of Thomas Eden and widow of John Spalding, MP, in 1821. They had two daughters, both of whom predeceased their parents, the latter one dying in 1839. Lord Brougham and Vaux died in May 1868 in Cannes, France, aged 89, and was buried in the Cimetière du Grand Jas. The cemetery is up to the present dominated by Brougham’s statue, and he is honoured for his major role in building the city of Cannes. His hatchment is in Ninekirks, which was then the parish church of Brougham.

The Barony of 1830 became extinct on his death, while he was succeeded in the Barony of 1860 according to the special remainder by his younger brother William Brougham.

Brougham wrote a prodigious number of treatises on science, philosophy, and history. Besides the writings mentioned in this article, he was the author of Dialogues on Instinct; with Analytical View of the Researches on Fossil Osteology, Lives of Statesmen, Philosophers, and Men of Science of the Time of George III, Natural Theology, etc. His last work was an autobiography written in his 84th year and published in 1871. However, his writings were not of lasting value; he is now especially notable for his services to political and especially legal reform, and to the diffusion of useful literature, which are his lasting monuments.

He was the designer of the brougham, a four-wheeled, horse-drawn style of carriage that bears his name.

Through Lord Brougham the renowned French seaside resort of Cannes became very popular. He had accidentally found the place in 1835, when it was little more than a fishing village on a picturesque coast, and bought there a tract of land and built on it. His choice and his example made it the sanitarium of Europe. The beach front promenade at Nice became known as the Promenade des Anglais (literally, “The Promenade of the English”).

A statue of him, inscribed “Lord Brougham”, stands at the Cannes waterfront, across from the Palais des festivals et des congrès.

Brougham holds the House of Commons record for non-stop speaking at six hours.

He was present at the trial of the World’s first steam powered ship on 14 October 1788 at Dalswinton Loch near Auldgirth, Dumfries and Galloway. William Symington of Wanlockhead built the two-cylindered engine for Patrick Miller of Dalswinton.

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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.

Theodore Hook
22 September 1788 – 24 August 1841

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Theodore Hook

Theodore Hookwas born in Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, London. His father, James Hook (1746–1827), was a composer of popular songs; his elder brother, also James Hook, became Dean of Worcester.

He spent a year at Harrow School, and subsequently matriculated at the University of Oxford, but he never actually resided at the university. His father took delight in exhibiting the boy’s musical and metrical gifts, and the precocious Theodore became a pet of the green room. At the age of sixteen, in conjunction with his father, he scored a dramatic success with The Soldier’s Return, a comic opera, and this he followed up with a series of popular ventures with John Liston and Charles Mathews, including Teleki.

Hook then became a playboy and practical joker, best known for the Berners Street Hoax in 1810, in which he arranged for dozens of tradesmen, and notables such as the Lord Mayor of London, the Governor of the Bank of England, the Chairman of the East India Company, and the Duke of Gloucester to visit Mrs Tottenham at 54 Berners Street, to win a bet that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address within a week.

He took up residence at St Mary Hall, Oxford University, leaving after two terms to resume his former life. His gift of improvising songs charmed the Prince Regent into a declaration that something must be done for Hook, who was appointed accountant-general and treasurer of Mauritius with a salary of £2,000 a year. He was the life and soul of the island from his arrival in October 1813, but a serious deficiency having been discovered in the treasury accounts in 1817, he was arrested and brought to England on a criminal charge. A sum of about £12,000 had been abstracted by a deputy official, and for this amount Hook was held responsible.

During the scrutiny of the audit board he lived obscurely and maintained himself by writing for magazines and newspapers. In 1820 he launched the newspaper John Bull, the champion of high Toryism and the virulent detractor of Queen Caroline. Witty criticism and pitiless invective secured it a large circulation, and from this source Hook derived, for the first year at least, an income of £2,000. He was, however, arrested for the second time on account of his debt to the state, which he made no effort to defray.

While he was confined in a sponging-house from 1825 to 1825, he wrote the nine volumes of stories afterwards collected under the title of Sayings and Doings (1824–1828). In the early 1820s he helped the singer Michael Kelly compile his Reminiscences, which include details of working with Mozart. In the remaining 23 years of his life he poured forth 38 volumes, besides articles, squibs and sketches. His novels have frequent passages of racy narrative and vivid portraiture. They include Maxwell (1830), a portrait of his friend the Reverend E. Cannon; Love and Pride (1833); the autobiographic Gilbert Gurney (1836) and Gurney Married (1838); Jack Brag (1837) and Peregrine Bunce (1842). He did not finish a biographical work on Charles Mathews. His last novel was Births, Marriages and Deaths (1839).

Work had already begun to tell on his health, when Hook returned to his old habits; and a prolonged attempt to combine industry and dissipation resulted in the confession that he was done up in purse, in mind and in body too at last. He died at home in Fulham on 24 August 1841. His estate was seized by the Treasury. He never married, but lived with Mary Anne Doughty; they had six children.

Hook is remembered as one of the most brilliant figures of Georgian times. He inspired the characters of Lucian Gay in Benjamin Disraeli’s novel Coningsby and Mr Wagg in Thackeray’s Vanity Fair. Coleridge praised him as being “as true a genius as Dante”.

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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.

Captain John (Jack) Willett Payne
23 April 1752 – 17 November 1803

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John (Jack) Willett Payne

Payne was born in 1752, son of Ralph Payne, Chief Justice of St Kitts and his wife Margaret née Gallaway. His elder brother Ralph Payne would later become Baron Lavington. Payne was educated at Dr. Bracken’s Academy in Greenwich and later attended the Royal Naval Academy at Portsmouth to train as an officer. During this time he became friends with Hugh Seymour Conway, with whom he had a lifelong friendship and close naval partnership. In 1769 he left the academy to join HMS Quebec.

Quebec served in the West Indies but after only a few months Payne moved to the ship of the line HMS Montagu before returning to Britain in 1773 aboard the sloop HMS Falcon. Payne briefly joined HMS Egmont but soon was attached to the large frigate HMS Rainbow for a cruise to the Guinea Coast. In 1775 he was back in England, where he passed for lieutenant aboard Egmont.

With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, Payne joined HMS Bristol and participated in the Battle of Sullivan’s Island under the command of Sir Peter Parker. Shortly afterward, Payne joined HMS Eagle in New York to serve as Lord Howe’s aide-de-camp. In 1777, Payne joined HMS Brune and the following year transferred to HMS Phoenix in which he participated in numerous coastal operations on the Eastern Seaboard.

Payne returned to Britain aboard HMS Roebuck and in Britain served aboard HMS Romney. He impressed Commodore George Johnstone in this duty and in 1779 was made commander of the sloop HMS Cormorant. The following year, Payne was promoted to post captain and took over the prize frigate HMS Artois which he commanded in European waters. He was also embroiled in a scandal when he was accused of impressing Portuguese citizens out of merchant ships in the Tagus.

In 1781, Payne sailed to the Jamaica station in HMS Enterprize and the following year took over HMS Leander. In Leander, Payne fought a duel with a much larger enemy ship in which both vessels were severely damaged. The identity of the other ship was never established, but Payne was given the 80-gun HMS Princess Amelia as a reward. At the war’s conclusion, Payne returned to Europe and Princess Amelia was paid off.

During the early 1780s, Payne had formed a friendship with the rakish heir to the throne, George, Prince of Wales. After acting as companion to Lord Northington on a Grand Tour of Europe in 1785, Payne returned to the service of the Prince as his private secretary and Keeper of the Privy Seal. Payne also ran the Prince’s household and lent money to Lord Sandwich, who was obliged to obtain for Payne the parliamentary seat of Huntingdon, which he held from 1787 to 1796. During this period he was appointed captain of HMS Phoenix but never served at sea, drawing the pay whilst pursuing his other duties.

Following the succession crisis of 1788 when King George III was struck down by porphyria, Payne was an active supporter of the Prince of Wales’s regency. Payne corresponded closely with other supporters but also participated in the Prince’s frequent and extravagant masques and entertainments. He also helped conspire in the Prince’s illegal marriage to Maria Fitzherbert and was once rebuked by the Duchess of Gordon in the terms “You little, insignificant, good-for-nothing, upstart, pert chattering puppy” after being overheard making insulting comments about the Queen, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

The King’s recovery, combined with the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, called Payne to see once more. Taking command of HMS Russell in 1793, Payne joined the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe and the following year participated in the Atlantic campaign of May 1794. Howe was attempting to chase down a French fleet guarding a grain convoy in the mid-Atlantic and after a month of sparring, caught the French on 28 May. Payne’s ship was with the flying squadron under Thomas Pasley sent to engage the French and Russell fought well in this action and the following day. In the culminating engagement, the Glorious First of June, Payne’s ship was heavily engaged and fought a succession of French ships, inflicting severe damage and making a great contribution to the eventual victory.

In the aftermath of the action, Payne was rewarded with a gold medal and in 1795 was tasked with escorting the Prince of Wales’s official wife, Caroline of Brunswick to Britain. Payne became friends with Caroline, and the bitter marriage between her and the Prince angered Payne. In addition, Payne had earned the enmity of Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey and these factors combined to alienate him from the Prince, who dismissed Payne from all his offices in 1796.

The same year, Payne took command of HMS Impetueux, one of the ships he had captured at the Glorious First of June two years before. In her Payne led a squadron the blockade of Brest until 1799, seeing no significant action and suffering from increasing ill-health as a result of the arduous service. In January 1799, Payne retired ashore and was reconciled with the Prince, who described their relationship as “an old and steady friendship of upwards of twenty years standing”. In February Payne was made rear-admiral, but it was becoming clear that he was no longer fit for sea service.

Retiring to the prestige post of treasurer of the Royal Naval Hospital at Greewich, Payne was actually a patient at the hospital for his last years, and plans for him to move into one of the Prince’s residences at Carlton House came to nothing. Payne died in 1803 at the hospital from the strain of his long-service, and was buried at the Church of St. Margaret, Westminster. He never married and had no children, however had been one of the lovers of Emma Lyons who later became Lady Hamilton.

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