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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

James Stanier Clarke
1766–4 October 1834

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James Stanier Clarke

James Stanier Clarke was the eldest son of Edward Clarke and Anne Grenfield, and brother of Edward Daniel Clarke, he was born on 17 December 1766 at Mahon, Minorca where his father was at the time chaplain to the governor. He was educated at Uckfield School and then at Tonbridge School under Vicesimus Knox. Matriculating at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1784, he did not complete a first degree.

Having taken holy orders, Clarke was in 1790 appointed to the rectory of Preston, Sussex. About the beginning of 1791 he was living in Sussex with his mother, taking in the refugee Anthony Charles Cazenove for half a year. In 1792 he was living at Eartham with William Hayley; Thomas Alphonso Hayley made a bust of him.

Clarke in February 1795 entered the Royal Navy as a chaplain; and served, 1796-9, on board the HMS Impetueux in the Channel fleet, under the command of captain John Willett Payne, by whom he was introduced to George, Prince of Wales. It was the end of his service afloat, after George appointed him his domestic chaplain and librarian.

In 1806, Clarke took the degree of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at Cambridge, and in 1816 the further degree of Legum Doctor (LLD) was conferred on him per literas regias. George had him made historiographer to the king on the death of Louis Dutens in 1812. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society.

From 1815 for a short period Clarke was in contact with Jane Austen about her novel-writing: they were introduced by Austen’s friend the surgeon Charles Thomas Haden. Having shown Austen round the library at Carlton House in November, and arranged that George should have Emma dedicated to him, Clarke also made suggestions in correspondence for Austen’s future writing. These she mocked in the satirical manuscript Plan of a Novel, according to Hints from Various Quarters, not published in her lifetime.

Clarke was installed canon of Windsor, 19 May 1821; and was Deputy Clerk of the Closet to the king. The canonry came about by compromise between George IV (as George had become) and Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool the Prime Minister, in a clash over preferment for Charles Sumner. Under a deal struck, Sumner took on Clarke’s royal appointments.

Clarke died on 4 October 1834.

In 1798, Clarke published a volume of Sermons preached in the Western Squadron during its services off Brest, on board HM ship Impetueux (1798; 2nd edit. 1801). With John McArthur, a purser in the navy and secretary to Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood at Toulon, he started the Naval Chronicle, a monthly magazine of naval history and biography, which ran for twenty years. In 1803 he published the first volume of The Progress of Maritime Discovery, which was not continued. He issued in 1805 Naufragia, or Historical Memoirs of Shipwrecks (3 vols.). Its subtitle “of the Providential Deliverance of Vessels” reflects its traditional content, harking back to James Janeway.

In 1809, with McArthur, Clarke published his major work, the Life of Lord Nelson (2 vols.; 2nd edit. 1840). It mixed official and private letters, and made questionable use of its sources. Robert Southey criticised it destructively in the Quarterly Review, a culmination of his literary feud with Clarke that led also to Southey writing his own Nelson biography.

In 1816, Clarke published a Life of King James II, from the Stuart MSS. in Carlton House (2 vols.). The work contains portions of the king’s autobiography, the original of which is now lost; in the Dictionary of National Biography it was considered to be the work of Lewis Innes, where Clarke attributed it to his brother Thomas Innes. A modern scholarly view is that the work was written in two parts by different Jacobite courtiers, the first part (to 1677) being by John Caryll, the second by William Dicconson. David Nairne assisted Caryll.

Clarke also edited William Falconer’s The Shipwreck, with life of the author and notes (1804), which ran to several editions, and Lord Clarendon’s Essays (1815, 2 vols.).

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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.

John Boydell
19 January 1720 – 12 December 1804

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John Boydell

Boydell was born, according to his monument in St Olave Old Jewry, London, at Dorrington, in the parish of Woore, Shropshire, to Josiah and Mary Boydell (née Milnes) and was educated at least partially at Merchant Taylors’ School. His father was a land surveyor and young Boydell, the oldest of seven children, was expected to follow in his footsteps. In 1731, when Boydell was eleven, the family moved to Hawarden, Flintshire. In 1739 he became house steward to MP John Lawton and accompanied him to London. A year later, like many other enterprising young men of the time, Boydell resolved to sail to the East Indies in hopes of making his fortune, but he abandoned the scheme in favour of returning to Flintshire and Elizabeth Lloyd, the woman he was courting. Whether or not he intended to pursue land surveying at this time is unclear.

In either 1740 or 1741, Boydell saw a print of Hawarden Castle by William Henry Toms and was so delighted with it that he immediately set out again for London to learn printmaking and Lloyd promised to wait for him. Boydell apprenticed himself to Toms and enrolled in St. Martin’s Lane Academy to learn drawing. Each day he worked about fourteen hours for Toms and then attended drawing classes at night. After six years, Boydell’s diligence allowed him to buy out the last year of his apprenticeship, and in 1746 he set up an independent shop on the Strand that specialised in topographical prints that cost six pence for a cheap print or one shilling for an expensive print.

Boydell’s willingness to assume responsibility for his own business so early in his career indicates that he had ambition and an enterprising spirit. Independent shops were risky in the 1740s because no strict copyright laws, other than the Engraving Copyright Act of 1734 (known as “Hogarth’s Act”), had yet been instituted. The pirating of published books and prints became a profession in its own right and greatly decreased the profits of publishers such as Boydell.

Around 1747, Boydell published his first major work, The Bridge Book, for which he drew and cut each print himself. It cost one shilling and contained six landscapes in each of which, not surprisingly, a bridge featured prominently. A year later, in 1748, Boydell, apparently financially secure, married Elizabeth Lloyd. The couple did not have any children and Elizabeth died in 1781.

Boydell realised early in his career that his engravings had little artistic merit, saying later that they were collected by others “more to show the improvement of art in this country [Britain], since the period of their publication, than from any idea of their own merits”. This may explain why in 1751, when he became a member of the Stationers’ Company, he started buying other artists’ plates and publishing them in addition to his own. Ordinarily an engraver, such as William Hogarth, had his own shop or took his finished engravings to a publisher. In adopting the dual role of artist and print dealer, Boydell altered the traditional organisation of print shops. He was not subject to the whims of public taste: if his engraves did not sell well, he could supplement his earnings by trading in the prints of other artists. He also understood the concerns of both the engraver and the publisher. In fact, as a publisher, he did much to help raise the level of respect for engravers in addition to furnishing them with better paying commissions.

In 1751, with his large volume of prints, Boydell moved to larger premises at 90 Cheapside. By 1755, he had published A Collection of One Hundred and Two Views, &C. in England and Wales. This cheap but successful book gave him capital to invest. He became increasingly immersed in the commercial side of the print business and like most print dealers began importing prints to sell. These included print reproductions of landscapes by artists such as Claude Lorrain and Salvator Rosa. The bulk of the imports came from the undisputed masters of engraving during the 18th century: the French. Boydell made a small fortune in the 1750s from these imported prints. His early success was acknowledged in 1760 when he was named a member of the Royal Society. Winifred Friedman, who has written extensively on Boydell, explains that despite this success, “[w]hat rankled Boydell was that the French would not extend credit, or exchange prints; he was required to produce hard cash. Boydell took action, and this was the turning point.”

In 1761, Boydell decided that he would attempt to trade with the French in kind—something they had refused in the past because of the poor quality of British engravings. To inaugurate this change, he had to have a truly spectacular print. To this end, he hired William Woollett, the foremost engraver in England, to engrave Richard Wilson’s Destruction of the Children of Niobe. Woollett had already successfully engraved Claude Lorrain’s 1663 painting The Father of Psyche Sacrificing at the Temple of Apollo for Boydell in 1760. Boydell paid him approximately £100 for the Niobe engraving, a staggering amount compared to the usual rates. This single act of patronage raised engravers’ fees throughout London. The print was wildly successful, but more importantly, the French accepted it as payment in kind. In fact, it was the first British print actively desired on the Continent. By 1770, the British were exporting far more prints than they were importing, largely due to Boydell.

Boydell’s business flourished and he soon hired his nephew, Josiah Boydell, to assist him. Boydell’s biographer, Sven Bruntjen, hypothesizes that one of the reasons for Boydell’s early and phenomenal success was his specialisation. Unlike “his competitors [who sold manuals, atlases and other assorted books] … his [business had an] almost exclusive concentration on the sale of reproductive prints”. Bruntjen argues that “despite the extensive sales of varied types of reproductive prints, it was the contemporary history print which accounted for the major part of Boydell’s success as a print dealer”. Most notable among these was the Death of General Wolfe a 1770 painting by Benjamin West, engraved by Woollett for Boydell in 1776. As early as 1767, Boydell had stopped engraving prints himself and began exclusively relying on commissions and trades and it was from these that he profited.

Boydell had opened up a new market with Niobe and he quickly followed up this success. With a prospering business and capital in reserve, he embarked on several ambitious projects, often simultaneously. In 1769, he began A Collection of Prints, Engraved after the Most Capital Paintings in England. Its last, and ninth volume, was finished in 1792 to great critical and financial success. In 1773, he began A Set of Prints Engraved after the Most Capital Paintings in the Collection of Her Imperial Majesty the Empress of Russia, Lately in the Possession of the Earl of Orford at Houghton in Norfolk, which was finished in 1788.

In addition to these projects and in the middle of his Shakespeare undertaking Boydell experimented with aquatint in An History of the River Thames, published in 1796. Bruntjen writes, “although not the first colored aquatint book, [it] was the first major one, and it was to set an example for the type of illustration that was to enjoy widespread popularity in England for some forty years”. Boydell also published The Original Work of William Hogarth in 1790 and The Poetical Works of John Milton and The Life of the Poet (i.e., Milton) in 1794.

The productivity and profitability of Boydell’s firm spurred the British print industry in general. By 1785, annual exports of British prints reached £200,000 while imports fell to £100. Boydell was acknowledged and praised throughout England as the agent of this stunning economic reversal. In 1773 he was awarded the Royal Academy Gold Medal for his services in advancing the print trade. In 1789, at the Royal Academy dinner, the Prince of Wales toasted “an English tradesman who patronizes art better than the Grand Monarque, Alderman Boydell, the Commercial Maecenas”.

Boydell’s crowning achievement was his Shakespeare project, which was to occupy much of the last two decades of his life. The project contained three parts: an illustrated edition of Shakespeare’s plays, a public gallery of paintings depicting scenes from the plays, and a folio of prints based on the paintings.

The idea of a grand Shakespeare edition was conceived at a dinner at Josiah Boydell’s home in November 1786. The guest list itself is evidence of Boydell’s extensive connections in the artistic world: Benjamin West, painter to King George III; George Romney, a renowned painter; George Nicol, bookseller to the king and painter; William Hayley, a poet; John Hoole, a scholar and translator of Tasso and Aristotle; and Daniel Braithwaite, an engineer. Most sources also list the painter Paul Sandby. Although the initial idea for the edition was probably not Boydell’s, he was the one to seize and pursue it. He wanted to use the edition to facilitate the development of a British school of history painting.

The “magnificent and accurate” Shakespeare edition which Boydell began in 1786 was the focus of the enterprise. The print folio and the gallery were simply offshoots of the main project. In an advertisement prefacing the first volume of the edition, Nicol wrote that “splendor and magnificence, united with correctness of text were the great objects of this Edition”. Boydell was responsible for the “splendor”, and George Steevens, a renowned Shakespearean editor, was responsible for the “correctness of text”. The volumes themselves were handsome, with gilded pages. Even the quality of the paper was extraordinarily high. The illustrations were printed independently and could be inserted and removed as the customer desired. The first volumes of the Dramatick Works were published in 1791 and the last in 1805. The edition was financed through a subscription campaign in which the buyers would offer partial payment up front and then pay the remaining sum on delivery. This practice was necessitated by the fact that over £350,000—an enormous sum at the time—was eventually spent on the enterprise.

When it opened on 4 May 1789 at 52 Pall Mall, the Shakespeare Gallery contained 34 paintings and by the end of its run it had between 167 and 170. The Gallery itself was a hit with the public and became a fashionable attraction. It took over the public’s imagination and became an end in and of itself.

To illustrate the edition and to provide images for the folio, Boydell obtained the assistance of the most eminent painters and engravers of the day. Artists included Richard Westall, Thomas Stothard, George Romney, Henry Fuseli, Benjamin West, Angelica Kauffman, Robert Smirke, John Opie, and Boydell’s nephew and business partner, Josiah Boydell. Among the engravers were Francesco Bartolozzi and Thomas Kirk. Boydell’s relationships with his artists, particularly his illustrators, was generally congenial. James Northcote praised Boydell’s liberal payments. He wrote in an 1821 letter that Boydell “did more for the advancement of the arts in England than the whole mass of the nobility put together! He paid me more nobly than any other person has done; and his memory I shall every hold in reverence”.

At the beginning of the enterprise, reactions were generally positive. Two reviews from the most influential newspapers in London at the time solidified and validated the public’s interest in the project and the artists’ efforts. However, there was also some criticism. In particular the satirical engraver James Gillray appears to have been peeved at not being commissioned to engrave any of the Shakespeare scenes and, in revenge, published Shakespeare Sacrificed: Or the Offering to Avarice just six weeks after the gallery opened. Gillray followed up with further cartoons such as Boydell sacrificing the Works of Shakespeare to the Devil of Money-Bags. As the project dragged on, the criticism increased. Yet, Boydell’s project still inspired imitators. Thomas Macklin attempted to found a Poet’s Gallery similar to the Shakespeare Gallery and several histories of England on the scale of the Shakespeare edition were also started. However, like Boydell’s venture, they ultimately ended in financial disaster.

The folio, which collected together the engravings from the paintings, has been the most lasting legacy of the Boydell enterprise: it was reissued throughout the 19th century and scholars have described it as a precursor to the modern coffee table book.

Amidst all of the work generated by these publishing enterprises, Boydell still found time to be alderman of Cheap ward in 1782, master of the Stationers’ Company in 1783, sheriff of London in 1785, and Lord Mayor of London in 1790. With both a dedicated civic spirit and an eye towards business promotion, Boydell took advantage of his public positions to advocate public and private patronage of the arts. He frequently donated paintings from his own collections to the Corporation of London to be hung in the Guildhall. He hoped that his donation might spur others to similar generosity. However, he remained a solitary contributor. A catalogue was published in 1794 listing all of the works Boydell had donated to the Guildhall. In the preface, he explained why he had made such large gifts:

It may be a matter of wonder to some, what enducements I could have to present the City of London with so many expensive Pictures; the principal reasons that influence me were these: First: to show my respect for the Corporation, and my Fellow Citizens, Secondly: to give pleasure to the Public, and Foreigners in general, Thirdly: to be of service to the Artists, by shewing their works to the greatest advantage: and, Fourthly: for the mere purpose of pleasing myself.

In 1794 Boydell commissioned and donated Industry and Prudence by Robert Smirke. Most of the other works Boydell donated were similarly didactic. He was appealing to his fellow tradespeople and craftspeople with these gifts, a middle class which would have been only too pleased to see their values promoted by such a prominent figure.

In a speech before the Council to advocate the renovation of a building for the purpose of displaying public art, Boydell made the striking claim that if the rich could be persuaded to patronise art, they would forgo their wicked ways:
one might be found amongst the many spendthrifts of the present age, instead of ruining themselves by gaming, or laying snares to debauch young Females, by their false promises and many other bad vices; would be rejoiced at such an opportunity, of reclaiming themselves by withdrawing from the snares laid for them by bad and designing Men and Women, who constantly lay wait to lead astray the young and unwary that are possessed of large property, such might here have the pleasure and satisfaction to make a real Paradise on earth, by illuminating a place that would for ever shine and display their generosity.

Boydell’s middle-class consumers would have approved of his connection between morality and art.

In 1789, the French revolution broke out and four years later war erupted between Britain and France. Throughout the next tumultuous decade, trade with Europe became increasingly difficult. As Boydell’s business relied heavily on foreign trade, especially French, his livelihood was threatened. When this market was cut off due to war in 1793, Boydell’s business declined substantially. He was forced to sell the Shakespeare Gallery, via a lottery, in order for his business to remain solvent. He died in December 1804 before the lottery was drawn, but after all of its 22,000 tickets had been sold.

According to Josiah, John Boydell caught a cold by going to the Old Bailey on a damp, foggy day to do his duty as an alderman. He died on 12 December 1804 almost bankrupt, but not without great public acclaim. He was buried on 19 December 1804 at the Church of St. Olave Old Jewry, his funeral attended by the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and several artists.

Boydell had, almost single-handedly, made British prints a viable economic commodity and had demolished the French domination of the trade. In a letter to Sir John Anderson, asking Parliament for the private Lottery Act to sell off the Shakespeare Gallery, Boydell stated that it was “sufficient to say, that the whole course of that commerce [print trade] is changed”. The Times wrote on 7 May 1789: “Historical painting and engraving are almost exclusively indebted to Mr. Boydell for their present advancement.” Boydell also played a part in changing the nature of art patronage in Britain. Until he advocated public patronage in his various civic posts, the government had little to do with British art. According to Bruntjen, “it was due to the enthusiasm of Boydell and others that the English government eventually provided funds for the establishment of the National Gallery in 1824”. Boydell helped to make artists independent of aristocratic patronage by providing commercial opportunities for them. He “attempted to free artists from the traditional forms of state and aristocratic patronage by creating a public taste for reproductive prints of historical subjects”. Boydell’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography ends with the assessment that “no print publisher before or since has ever exerted as much influence on the course of British art”.

Boydell’s nephew and business partner, Josiah Boydell, continued his uncle’s business for some time at 90 Cheapside, but by 1818, the business was wound up by Jane Boydell, and the assets purchased by Hurst, Robinson, and Co.

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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.

William Hayley
November 9 1745-November 12 1820

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Friend and biographer of William Cowper. Hayley was an English writer. Born in Chichester and educated at Eton and at Trinity Hall Cambridge in 1762. Admitted to the Middle Temple, London in 1766. In 1767 he moved to London and married Eliza Ball, daughter of Thomas Ball, the dean of Chichester.

Private money allowed Hayley to retire in 1774 to Eartham, Sussex. (DWW-at age 29, we all should be so lucky)

He was a writer and had written several poetical pieces. David Garrick rejected The Afflicted Father and George Colman declined a translation of The Syrian Queen. However in 1778 his contemporaries awarded him fame with Essays and Epistles; a Poetical Epistle to an Eminent Painter. The subject was George Romney. He also had works addressed to Edward Gibbon and William Mason. His Triumphs of Music was ridiculed by Byron

Hayley’s fame was so great that when Thomas Warton died, he was offered the laureateship. In 1792 he was writing the Life of Milton and met William Cowper. They began a friendship that lasted until Cowper died in 1800. Hayley’s natural son also died in 1800. This was also when William Blake met Hayley and then for three years Blake and Hayley lived near each other as Blake now worked on the illustrations for Life of Cowper.

Hayley’s next works were also illustrated by William Blake. Hayley’s first wife had problems of the mind and they had separated the last eight years of her life. He married Mary Welford in 1809 but after three years they separated also. He left no children and died in 1820. He is remembered as a patron and friend of artists such as Blake and Romney.

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

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:

Edward Gibbon
William Mason
Thomas Warton
Adam Walker
John Opie
William Upcott
William Cowper
Richard Cumberland
Richard Cosway
Angelica Kauffmann
Sir George Warren
Dominic 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
Colin Mccaulay
Thomas Babington Macaulay
Napoleon Bonaparte
Packenham
General Banastre Tarleton
Henry Paget
Sir William Hamilton
Stapleton Cotton
Sir Charles Grey
Thomas Picton
Constable
Lawrence
Cruikshank
Thomas Gainsborough
Gillray
Sir Joshua Reynolds
George Stubbs
Joseph Priestley
William Aubrey de Vere Beauclerk 9th Duke of St. Albans
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
William Huskisson
Robert Stephenson
Fanny Kemble
Mary Shelley
Ann Radcliffe
Paul III Anton, Prince Esterházy
Charles Arbuthnot
Thomas Egerton, 2nd Earl of Wilton
Henry Herbert Southey
John Nash
Matthew Gregory Lewis
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Thomas Hope
William Beechey
Scrope Davies
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
Edward Pellew
Thomas Cochrane
Warren Hastings
Mendoza
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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