Posts Tagged ‘William IV’

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.

Charles Ingoldsby Burroughs-Paulet 13th Marquess of Winchester
27 January 1764 – 29 November 1843

Charles Ingoldsby Burroughs-Paulet 13th Marquess of Winchester was the eldest son of the 12th Marquess of Winchester and was educated at Eton and Clare College, Cambridge. After graduating, he served with the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards as an ensign from 1784–86, then sat in the Commons as Member of Parliament (MP) for Truro from 1792–96. He returned to the military in 1796 as a Lt.-Col. in the North Hampshire Militia and became Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1798. He also married Anne Andrews (daughter of John Andrews of Shotley Hall, near Shotley Bridge) on 31 July 1800 and they had seven children:

  • John Paulet, 14th Marquess of Winchester (1801–1887)
  • Lord Charles Paulet (1802–1870), a religious minister, married Caroline Ramsden firstly; remarried to Joan Granville
  • Lord George Paulet (1803–1879), an admiral, married Georgina Wood
  • Lord William Paulet (1804–1893), a field marshal, died unmarried
  • Lord Frederick Paulet (1810–1871), a soldier and equerry to the Duchess of Cambridge, died unmarried
  • Lady Annabella (d. 1855), married Rear-Admiral William Ramsden
  • Lady Cecilia (d. 1890), married Sir Charles des Voeux, 2nd Baronet

In 1812, Lord Winchester became Groom of the Stole to George III and continued as such under George IV and up until the death of William IV in 1837. When Queen Victoria came to the throne that year, the office was abolished. He was thus the last Groom of the Stole to the Sovereign — Prince Albert continued to have a Groom of the Stole, as did the Prince of Wales until the complete abolition of the office in 1901. On 8 August 1839, he added the name of Burroughs to his own, when he inherited the property of Dame Sarah Salusbury (née Burroughs), under the terms of her will. Lord Winchester died in 1843 and his titles passed to his eldest son, John.

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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 Maule 1st Baron Panmure
27 October 1771 – 13 April 1852


William Maule

William Maule 1st Baron Panmure was the younger son of George Ramsay, 8th Earl of Dalhousie and Elizabeth Glen. His father was the son of Jean Maule, granddaughter of George Maule, 2nd Earl of Panmure. In 1782 he succeeded to the Maule estates on the death of his great-uncle William Maule, 1st Earl Panmure, and assumed by Royal licence the same year the additional surname and arms of Maule. He represented Forfarshire in Parliament in 1796 and again between 1805 and 1831, when Maule was raised to the peerage at the coronation of William IV of the United Kingdom, as Baron Panmure, of Brechin and Navar in the County of Forfar, echoing his great-uncle’s title.

Panmure was a patron of the artists commissioning several paintings from Thomas Musgrave Joy and paying for him to take on a student.

Lord Panmure married Patricia Heron Gordon on 1 December 1794. They had nine children, including:

  • Fox Maule Ramsay (1801–1874), later 2nd Baron Panmure and 11th Earl of Dalhousie.
  • Hon. Lauderdale Maule (1807–1854).

Nevertheless, he was estranged from his wife, and quarrelled with his eldest son for siding with her. Patricia died in 1821, and on 4 June 1822, Maule married Elizabeth Barton.

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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.

Geographical Society of London (1830)
1830 –

The Geographical Society of London was founded in 1830 under the name Geographical Society of London as an institution to promote the ‘advancement of geographical science’. It later absorbed the older African Association, which had been founded by Sir Joseph Banks in 1788, as well as the Raleigh Club and the Palestine Association.

Like many learned societies, it had started as a dining club in London, where select members held informal dinner debates on current scientific issues and ideas.

Founding members of the Society included Sir John Barrow, Sir John Franklin and Sir Francis Beaufort. Under the patronage of King William IV it later became known as The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and was granted its Royal Charter under Queen Victoria in 1859.

From 1830 – 1840 the RGS met in the rooms of the Horticultural Society in Regent Street.

The history of the Society was closely allied for many of its earlier years with ‘colonial’ exploration in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the polar regions, and central Asia especially.

It has been a key associate and supporter of many notable explorers and expeditions, including those of Darwin, Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary.

The early history of the Society is inter-linked with the history of British Geography, exploration and discovery. Information, maps, charts and knowledge gathered on expeditions was sent to the RGS, making up its now unique geographical collections. The Society published its first journal in 1831.

The society also presents many awards to geographers that have contributed to the advancement of geography.

The most prestigious of these awards are the Gold Medals (Founder’s Medal 1830 and the Patron’s Medal 1838). The award is given for “the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery”. The awards originated as an annual gift of fifty guineas from King William IV, first made in 1831, “to constitute a premium for the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery”.


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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.

Lady Mary Fox
19 December 1798 – 13 July 1864


Mary Fox

Lady Mary Fox was born in Bushy House as the fourth child and second daughter of the then Prince William, Duke of Clarence, and his companion Dorothea Jordan. She was “a fine looking, brown girl with a pleasant countenance and manners”. In 1820, her younger sister Elizabeth was courted by Charles Richard Fox, the eldest but illegitimate son of Lord and Lady Holland. His parents did not consent to the match, but four years later approved of his relationship with Mary.

The couple married on 19 June 1824 in St George’s, Hanover Square, London. Lady Holland worried that she might be “a sickly subject” and wished that the “roturier blood of the mother might have mitigated the royal constitutions”. Her mother-in-law wrote on 31 August that her son, “though fond of her, he only considers her as an auxiliary to his medals and other possessions, not as a principal”, but concluded that “it will all do well; as she is very winning, and very firm, and sincerely fond of him.” The pair established their household in Little Holland House by 1827. They moved to Canada in September 1829 when Charles resumed active army service.

Mary Fox received from her father the second part of the Anthony Roll, which had been in the possession of the royal family since the reign of King Henry VIII of England, though she was probably not interested in the history of the Royal Navy. The death of her uncle, King George IV, in 1830 led to her father’s accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom and Hanover. The new king was anxious to see his daughter return home and had her husband transferred. He granted her the rank of a marquess’ daughter on 24 May 1831.

King William IV died in January 1837 and Lady Mary’s cousin, Princess Alexandrina Victoria, ascended the throne. Later that year, Lady Mary published a utopian feminist Gothic fiction narrative titled An Account of an Expedition to the Interior of New Holland. Lady Mary’s treatise is the most representative example of the portrayal of New Holland (Australia) as a mysterious and “unreal” place. In January 1857, Sir Frederic Madden, custodian of the manuscripts at the British Museum, learned that Lady Mary wished to sell the roll she was given by her father in order to raise funds for building a church “or something of that kind”.

For a large part of her later life, Lady Mary served as housekeeper at Windsor Castle. She died childless on 13 July 1864. She is buried with her husband at Kensal Green Cemetery.

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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.

Lord Admiral Frederick Gordon-Hallyburton
5 February 1770 – 22 December 1815

Lord Admiral Frederick Gordon-Hallyburton was a Scottish naval officer and Member of Parliament.

He was born the Honourable John Frederick Gordon, third son of George Gordon, 5th Earl of Aboyne by his wife Catherine Anne, daughter of Sir Charles Cope, 2nd Baronet. On 28 May 1836 his father succeeded as 9th Marquess of Huntly. He reached the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy on 4 August 1836.

On 24 August 1836 Gordon was married to Lady Augusta Kennedy-Erskine, widow since 6 April 1831 of the Hon. John Kennedy Erskine of Dun, second son of Archibald Kennedy, 1st Marquess of Ailsa. She was born Augusta FitzClarence, the fourth daughter of King William IV by the actress Dorothea Jordan, and had been raised to the rank of a Marquess’s daughter on 24 May 1831.


Lady Augusta

By this marriage he gained three step-children:

  • William Henry Kennedy Erskine (1 July 1828 – 5 September 1870), who inherited the House of Dun in Forfarshire and served as a captain in the 17th Lancers. He married Catherine Jones on 18 November 1862 and had issue, including the writer Violet Jacob.
  • Wilhelmina Kennedy Erskine (26 June 1830 – 9 October 1906), who married William George FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster on 17 April 1855 and had issue.
  • Augusta Millicent Anne Mary Kennedy Erskine (11 May 1831 – 11 February 1895), who married James Hay Wemyss on 17 April 1855 and had issue.

They had no children of their own. Gordon was made a Knight Grand Cross in the civil division of the Royal Guelphic Order on 22 August 1836 and a Lord of the Bedchamber to the King on 26 October that year.

In the general election of 1841 Gordon was elected to Parliament for Forfarshire, succeeding his uncle Lord Douglas Gordon-Hallyburton. He also inherited his uncle’s estates, and assumed the additional surname of Hallyburton in 1843. He was made a Deputy Lieutenant for Forfarshire on 5 June 1847 and re-elected for the county in the general election of that year. He remained in Parliament until the 1852 election, when he was replaced by Lauderdale Maule.

Gordon-Hallyburton was promoted to Rear-Admiral on the Reserve Half Pay List on 12 May 1857, and promoted in the same list to Vice-Admiral on 4 November 1863 and full Admiral on 8 April 1868.

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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.

Viscount Samuel Hood
12 December 1724 – 27 January 1816


Samuel Hood

Viscount Sir Samuel Hood son of Samuel Hood, vicar of Butleigh in Somerset, and prebendary of Wells and Mary Hoskins, daughter of Richard Hoskins, Esquire, of Beaminster, Dorset. In 1740 Captain (later Admiral) Thomas Smith was stranded in Butleigh when his carriage broke down on the way to Plymouth. The Rev Samuel Hood rescued him and gave him hospitality for the night. Samuel and Alexander were inspired by his stories of the sea and he offered to help them in the Navy. The Rev Samuel Hood and his wife would not allow any more sons to join the Navy as “they might be drowned”. Their third son, Arthur William became Vicar of Butleigh but died of fever in his 30’s. Another son was drowned in the local river Brue as a boy.

Samuel, older brother of Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport, entered the Royal Navy in 1741. He served part of his time as midshipman with George Brydges Rodney on the Ludlow and became a lieutenant in 1746. He had opportunities to see service in the North Sea during the War of the Austrian Succession.

In 1754, he was made commander of the sloop Jamaica and served on her at the North American station. In July 1756, while still on the North American station, he took command of the sloop HMS Lively.

At the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in 1756, the navy was rapidly expanded which benefited Hood. Later that year Hood was promoted to Post Captain and given command of HMS Grafton. In 1757, while in temporary command of Antelope (50 guns), he drove a French ship ashore in Audierne Bay, and captured two privateers. His zeal attracted the favourable notice of the Admiralty and he was appointed to a ship of his own, Bideford.

In 1759, when captain of the Vestal (32), he captured the French Bellone (32) after a sharp action. During the war, his services were wholly in the Channel, and he was engaged under Rodney in 1759 in the Raid on Le Havre, destroying the vessels collected by the French to serve as transports in the proposed invasion of Britain.

He was appointed in Commander-in-Chief, North American Station in July 1767. He returned to England in October 1770. In 1778, he accepted a command which in the ordinary course would have terminated his active career, becoming Commissioner of the dockyard at Portsmouth and governor of the Naval Academy.

In 1778, on the occasion of the King’s visit to Portsmouth, Hood was made a baronet.

The war was deeply unpopular with much of the British public and navy. Many admirals had declined to serve under Lord Sandwich, the First Lord of the Admiralty. Admiral Rodney, who then commanded in the West Indies, had complained of a lack of proper support from his subordinates, whom he accused of disaffection. The Admiralty, anxious to secure the services of trustworthy flag officers, promoted Hood to rear-admiral on 26 September 1780, and sent him to the West Indies to act as second in command under Rodney, who knew him personally. He joined Rodney in January 1781 in his flagship Barfleur, and remained in the West Indies or on the coast of North America until the close of the American Revolutionary War.

The expectation that he would work harmoniously with Rodney was not entirely justified. Their correspondence shows that they were not on friendly terms; but Hood always did his duty, and he was so able that no question of removing him from the station ever arose. The unfortunate turn for the British taken by the campaign of 1781 was largely due to Rodney’s neglect of Hood’s advice.

When Rodney decided to return to Britain for the sake of his health in the autumn of 1781, Hood was ordered to take the bulk of the fleet to the North American coast during the hurricane months. Hood joined Admiral Thomas Graves in the unsuccessful effort to relieve the army at Yorktown, when the British fleet was driven off by the French Admiral, the Comte de Grasse, at the Battle of the Chesapeake.

When he returned to the West Indies, he was for a time in independent command owing to Rodney’s absence in England. De Grasse attacked the British islands of St Kitts and Nevis with a force much superior to Hood’s squadron. Hood made an unsuccessful attempt in January 1782 to save them from capture, with 22 ships to 29, and the series of bold movements by which he first turned the French out of their anchorage at Basseterre of St Kitts and then beat off their attacks, were one of the best accomplishments of any British admiral during the war.

On 12 April 1782 Hood took part in a British fleet under Rodney which defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet which was planning an invasion of Jamaica. The French commander De Grasse, who had been responsible for the victory at Chesapeake was captured and taken back to Britain as a prisoner.

Eventually Hood was ordered to chase and with his division of 12 ships he captured 4 ships at the Mona Passage on 19 April 1782 thus completing the defeat. While serving in the Caribbean Hood became acquainted with, and later became a mentor to Horatio Nelson who was a young frigate commander. Hood had been a friend of Nelson’s uncle Maurice Suckling. In 1782 Hood introduced Nelson to the Duke of Clarence, the future King William IV who was then a serving naval officer in New York.

Hood was made an Irish peer as Baron Hood of Catherington in September 1782. During the peace, he entered the British Parliament as Member for Westminster in the election of 1784 where he was a supporter of the government of William Pitt the Younger. In 1786 he became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth holding that post until 1789. Promoted to vice-admiral in 1787, he was appointed to the Board of Admiralty under John Pitt, 2nd Earl of Chatham, brother of the Prime Minister, in July 1788. He became Commander-in-Chief, Portsmouth again in June 1792.

Following the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War, Hood became Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet in February 1793. In August 1793 French royalists and other opponents of the revolution took over the town and invited Hood, whose fleet was blockading the city, to occupy the town. Hood, without time to request for instructions from the Admiralty in London, moved swiftly to take command of the port.

There were two main reasons for the British move. It was hoped that Toulon could be a centre of French resistance to Paris, and also to take possession of the French Mediterranean fleet of fifty eight warships, which lay in the harbour. It was hoped that depriving the French revolutionaries of their maritime resources would cripple the revolution. He occupied Toulon on the invitation of the French royalists, in co-operation with the Spaniards and Sardinians. In December of the same year, the allies, who did not work harmoniously together, were driven out, mainly by the generalship of Napoleon. Hood ordered the French fleet burned to prevent them falling back into the hands of the revolutionaries.

Hood then turned to the occupation of Corsica, which he had been invited to take in the name of the King of Britain by Pasquale Paoli, who had been leader of the Corsican Republic before it was subjugated by the French a quarter of a century previously. The island was for a short time added to the dominions of George III, chiefly by the exertions of the fleet and the co-operation of Paoli. While the occupation of Corsica was being effected, the French at Toulon had so far recovered that they were able to send a fleet to sea. Nelson was recorded as saying that Hood was “the best Officer, take him altogether, that England has to boast of”.)

In October, he was recalled to England in consequence of some misunderstanding with the admiralty or the ministry, which has never been explained. Richard Freeman, in his book, The Great Edwardian Naval Feud, explains his relief from command in a quote from Lord Esher’s journal. According to this journal, “… [Hood] wrote ‘a very temperate letter’ to the Admiralty in which he complained that he did not have enough ships to defend the Mediterranean.” As a result Hood was then recalled from the Mediterranean.

Samuel Hood was created Viscount Hood of Whitley, Warwickshire in 1796 with a pension of £2000 per year for life (about £300,000 a year in present (2010) terms). In 1796, he was also appointed Governor of the Greenwich Hospital, a position which he held until his death in 1816. He served as Tory Member of Parliament for Westminster from 1784 to 1788 and from 1790 to 1796, and was Member for Reigate between 1789 and 1790.

He died in Greenwich on 27 January 1816 and is buried in Greenwich Hospital Cemetery. A peerage of Great Britain was conferred on his wife, Susannah, as Baroness Hood of Catherington in 1795. Samuel Hood’s titles descended to his youngest son, Henry (1753–1836).

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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 Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield
3 December 1793 – 18 May 1867


William Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield

William Clarkson Stanfield-Clarkson Frederick Stanfield was born at Sunderland, the son of James Field Stanfield (1749–1824) an Irish-born author, actor and former seaman. Clarkson was named after Thomas Clarkson, the slave trade abolitionist, whom his father knew, and this was the only forename he used, although there is reason to believe Frederick was a second one.

Stanfield probably inherited artistic talent from his mother, who is said to have been an artist but died in 1801. He was briefly apprenticed to a coach decorator in 1806, but left owing to the drunkenness of his master’s wife and joined a South Shields collier to become a sailor. In 1808 he was pressed into the Royal Navy, serving in the guardship HMS Namur at Sheerness. Discharged on health grounds in 1814, he then made a voyage to China in 1815 on the East Indiaman Warley and returned with many sketches.

In August 1816 Stanfield was engaged as a decorator and scene-painter at the Royalty Theatre in Wellclose Square, London. Along with David Roberts he was afterwards employed at the Coburg theatre, Lambeth, and in 1823 he became a resident scene-painter at the Drury Lane theatre, where he rose rapidly to fame through the huge quantity of spectacular scenery which he produced for that house until 1834.

Stanfield abandoned scenery painting after Christmas 1834 — though he made exceptions for two personal friends. He designed scenery for the stage productions of William Charles Macready, and for the amateur theatricals of Charles Dickens.

Stanfield partnered with David Roberts in several large-scale diorama and panorama projects in the 1820s and 1830s. The newest development in these popular entertainments was the “moving diorama” or “moving panorama.” These consisted of huge paintings that unfolded upon rollers like giant scrolls; they were supplemented with sound and lighting effects to create a nineteenth-century anticipation of cinema. Stanfield and Roberts produced eight of these entertainments; in light of their later accomplishments as marine painters, their panoramas of two important naval engagements, the Bombardment of Algiers and The Battle of Navarino, are worth noting.

An 1830 tour through Germany and Italy furnished Stanfield with material for two more moving panoramas, The Military Pass of the Simplon (1830) and Venice and Its Adjacent Islands (1831). Stanfield executed the first in only eleven days; it earned him a fee of £300. The Venetian panorama of the next year was 300 feet long and 20 high; gas lit, it unrolled through 15 or 20 minutes. The show included stage props and even singing gondoliers. After the show closed, portions of the work were re-used in productions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Otway’s Venice Preserved.

The moving panoramas of Stanfield and other artists became highlights of the traditional Christmas pantomimes.

Meanwhile, Stanfield developed his skills as an easel painter, especially of marine subjects; he first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1820 and continued, with only a few early interruptions, to his death. He was also a founder member of the Society of British Artists (from 1824) and its president for 1829, and exhibited there and at the British Institution, where in 1828 his picture Wreckers off Fort Rouge gained a premium of 50 guineas. He was elected Associate Member of the Royal Academy in 1832, and became a full Academician in February 1835. His elevation was in part a result of the interest of William IV who, having admired his St. Michael’s Mount at the Academy in 1831 (now in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia), commissioned two works from him of the Opening of New London Bridge (1832) and The Entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. Both remain in the Royal Collection.

Until his death he contributed a long series of powerful and highly popular works to the Academy, both of marine subjects and landscapes from his travels at home and in France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Ireland. Notable works include:

  • The Battle of Trafalgar (1836), executed for the United Service Club
  • the Castle of Ischia (1841), now in Sunderland Museum and Art Gallery
  • Isola Bella (1841), among the results of a visit to Italy in 1839
  • French troops Fording the Magra (1847)
  • HMS The Victory Bearing the Body of Nelson Towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar (1853), painted for Sir Samuel Morton Peto at Somerleyton Hall, Suffolk (which is today open to the public)
  • The Abandoned (1856; untraced since 1930)

He also executed two notable series of Venetian subjects, one for the former dining room at Bowood House, Wiltshire, for the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne, the other for the Duchess of Sutherland at Trentham Park, Staffordshire. Neither house survives but some of Stanfield’s work for Bowood can still be seen there (the present Bowood House and park, open to the public, is a conversion of the old stable block). He illustrated Heath’s Picturesque Annuals for the years 1832–34, and in 1838 published a collection of lithographic views on the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse; forty subjects from both sides of the English Channel were also steel-engraved under the title of Stanfield’s Coast Scenery (1836). Among literary works for which he provided illustrations were Captain Marryat’s The Pirate and the Three Cutters (1836), Poor Jack (1840) and the lives and works of Lord Byron, George Crabbe, and Samuel Johnson, mainly in editions by John Murray.

Stanfield’s art was powerfully influenced by his early practice as a scene-painter. But, though there is always a touch of the spectacular and the scenic in his works, and though their colour is apt to be rather dry and hard, they are large and effective in handling, powerful in their treatment of broad atmospheric effects and telling in composition, and they evince the most complete knowledge of the artistic materials with which their painter deals. John Ruskin considered his treatment of the sea and clouds of a very high order and called him the “leader of our English Realists.” Wishing him to be sometimes “less wonderful and more terrible,” Ruskin also pointed out the superior merits of his sketched work, especially in watercolour, to the often contrived picturesque qualities of many of his exhibited oils and the watercolours on which published engravings were based.

Stanfield was admired not only for his art but his personal simplicity and a modesty. He was born a Catholic and became increasingly devout in middle life, after the loss in 1838 of his eldest son by his second marriage (to Rebecca Adcock) and then, in the 1850s, both the children of his first marriage (to Mary Hutchinson, who had died in childbirth).

His eldest surviving son, George Clarkson Stanfield (1828–78) was also a painter of similar subjects, largely trained by his father. His grandson by his daughter Harriet, Joseph Richard Bagshawe was also a marine painter.

Stanfield died at Hampstead, London, and was buried in Kensal Green Catholic Cemetery.

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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.

Octavius Vernon Harcourt
5 December 1793 – 14 August 1863


Octavius Vernon Harcourt

Octavius Vernon Harcourt was a British naval officer. He was the eighth son of Edward Venables-Vernon-Harcourt, Archbishop of York, and began life as Octavius Henry Cyril Vernon at Rose Castle, Cumberland. On 15 January 1831, succeeding to the properties of William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt, the father’s cousin, the family assumed the additional surname of Harcourt.

Harcourt entered the Royal Navy in August 1806 as a midshipman on board the 74-gun HMS Tigre, under the command of Captain Benjamin Hallowell, and in 1807 took part in the expedition to Egypt, witnessing the surrender of Alexandria, and was employed on boat-service on the Nile. During the blockade of Toulon, he took part the action of October 1809 which led to the destruction of the French ships Robuste and Lion. After Hallowell’s promotion to rear-admiral in August 1811, Harcourt followed him into HMS Malta. He served in Malta in the Mediterranean, co-operating with the troops on the south-east coast of Spain, and serving in the batteries at the siege of Tarragona in 1813. He was promoted to lieutenant on 11 January 1814 and joined the HMS Mulgrave under Captain Thomas James Maling. While off the coast of Italy, he landed with a party of seamen and marines near Piombino, captured a martello tower and brought out or destroyed a convoy which was anchored under its protection.

During the Hundred Days, Harcourt served aboard the frigate HMS Amelia, under Captain the Honourable Granville Proby, in the blockade of Elba, and when the news of the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo arrived, was sent with a Major of the Tuscan army to summon the town of Porto Ferrajo to hear the announcement. Amelia was paid off in December 1816, and Harcourt remained on half-pay until February 1818 when he was appointed to the HMS Sir Francis Drake, the flagship of Sir Charles Hamilton, governor of Newfoundland. There, in February 1820, he was appointed commander of the sloop Drake, and also commanded the Carnation for a short time the same year. He then served in the West Indies, commanding Britomart from June 1824, and Primrose from May 1825, until finally returning to England in July 1827.

He was promoted to captain on 7 August 1827, and was selected by the Duke of Clarence, the Lord High Admiral, to act as his aide-de-camp aboard the royal yacht Royal Sovereign during an inspection tour to various naval ports. He received his last appointment in March 1834, commanding North Star, taking Hamilton Charles James Hamilton, the British Minister, to Buenos Aires, and then employed in surveying the coast of central America and the Californias, before finally returning home in October 1836.

On 26 October 1854 he was promoted to rear-admiral on half-pay, and on 10 June 1861 to vice-admiral on the retired list.

He was appointed High Sheriff of Yorkshire for 1849. He built at his own expense and endowed a church at Healey, near Masham in North Yorkshire, another church at Brent Tor, Devonshire, and restored the parish church of Masham. In 1858 he erected in Masham six almshouses which he endowed with £1,775 three per cent Consols.
Harcourt’s racehorse Ellington won the Epsom Derby in 1856.

He married, on 22 February 1838, Anne Holwell, second daughter of William Gater, and widow of William Danby of Swinton Park. She died on 26 June 1879, devising her Yorkshire estates to George, fifth son of Sir Robert Affleck, Bt.

He died at Swinton Park, Yorkshire, on 14 August 1863.

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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 Seguier
9 November 1772 – 5 November 1843


William Seguier

William Seguier was born in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, the descendant of French Huguenot refugees.

Many of his relatives were involved in the arts on a professional level, from his father David, a picture dealer, to his uncle on the paternal side, the sculptor Peter Seguier.

Initially Seguier worked as an artist; he may have been taught by George Morland and perhaps even William Blake. However, his marriage to Anne Magdalene Clowden (a fellow Huguenot), gave him the independent means to establish a dealership, and he largely gave up painting thereafter. The business, in which his brother also worked, also offered picture-cleaning and restoring services, a useful way of getting to know collectors.

From 1806, when Lord Grosvenor consulted him on the purchase of the Agar collection, Seguier’s clientele became ever more aristocratic and well-connected, including such names as Sir George Beaumont, Sir Abraham Hume, Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington.

Beaumont and Grosvenor were also members of a group of connoisseurs and artists (including David Wilkie and Benjamin Haydon) that called itself “the clique”, to which Seguier was admitted. Through such connections as these, the opportunistic Seguier secured a number of high-ranking official positions, beginning in 1805 with his appointment as Superintendent of the newly formed British Institution. This was followed in 1820 with the post of Surveyor of the King’s Pictures, and upon the foundation of the National Gallery in 1824 he was appointed its Keeper.

The Superintendent was responsible for organizing and hanging the shows at the British Institution, a role that inevitably gave rise to grumbling and worse from artists – at the Royal Academy a committee was responsible for the hang, which allowed someone else to be blamed, but Seguier had no such opportunity to share the blame. In 1833 John Constable wrote with heavy irony of having received a visit in his studio from “a much greater man than the King—the Duke of Bedford—Lord Westminster—Lord Egremont, or the President of the Royal Academy — “MR SEGUIER”.” When in 1832 two pictures by Richard Parkes Bonington, who had been dead only four years, were included in an “Old Masters” exhibition, Constable (who was twenty-six years older than Bonington) wrote that Seguier was “carrying on a Humbugg”.

Seguier held these three positions until his death in 1843; his brother succeeded him at the British Institution. He is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.

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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.

Sir John Hill
1774 – 20 January 1855

Sir John Hill joined the navy on 25 September 1781, being entered on the books of the bomb vessel HMS Infernal as a first-class volunteer under Commander James Alms. His name was borne on Infernal‘s books until March 1783. From 20 April 1788 he served aboard the 16-gun HMS Nautilus at Newfoundland under Commander Thomas Thompson, and from 1789 went on to serve aboard several ships of the line. He held the ranks of master’s mate, and later midshipman, aboard the 74-gun ships HMS Goliath, Captain Archibald Dickson, and HMS Bedford, Captain Robert Mann, and the 24-gun HMS Proserpine, Captain James Alms, seeing service in the English Channel and in the West Indies. Hill was promoted to lieutenant on 28 July 1794 and was at first posted to the 74-gun HMS Invincible, serving with the Channel Fleet under Captain Hon. Thomas Pakenham. Hill followed Pakenham to his next command the following year, the 80-gun HMS Juste, and spent a brief period in 1797 serving under his old commander, James Alms, aboard the 64-gun HMS Repulse.

Hill then went out to the Mediterranean aboard the 98-gun HMS Princess Royal, the flagship of Sir John Orde. He transferred to the 74-gun HMS Minotaur under Captain Thomas Louis in May 1798, and served as her senior lieutenant at the Battle of the Nile in early August that year. His good service in the battle led to a commission to the rank of commander, dated 8 October 1798. He was for some time without a command, until being appointed to take over HMS Heroine on 2 February 1800.

Heroine was a former 32-gun fifth rate frigate, but had been reduced to 16 guns and converted to carry troops. He went out with her to the Mediterranean and supported the Egyptian campaign between 1800 and 6 March 1802, when he relinquished command. Hill did not receive any commands during the drawdown of the navy during the Peace of Amiens, but returned to service after the resumption of the wars, with an appointment to the hired 16-gun sloop Humber, in the Channel between 31 March 1804 and 27 October 1808.

Hill saw limited opportunities for service after the expiration of this posting, and it was not until 23 March 1813 that he received another appointment, as an Agent for Transports. He had responsibilities for this in the Baltic and off the French and Dutch coasts for the next six years, being promoted to post captain on 28 October 1815. A summary of his services reported that while in the transport service, he had embarked and disembarked the Swedish Army from Sweden to Pomerania, earning the thanks of Charles XIV John of Sweden. Hill had also been principal agent for transports under General Thomas Graham, 1st Baron Lynedoch, and oversaw the transport of troops prior to the Battle of Waterloo, earning the thanks of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, and his support for his promotion to post-captain. Hill remained in Europe for several years, based at Calais, and overseeing the transport of troops, wounded soldiers, and prisoners of war.

Following on from his transport duties, Hill was made Captain-Superintendent of Deptford Victualling Yard in 1820, holding the post until 1838. He was made a comptroller in 1822, and a patent commissioner in 1826, followed by captain-superintendent in 1832. Hill was knighted by King William IV on 31 August 1831. From Deptford Hill was moved to be Superintendent at Sheerness Dockyard on 9 March 1838, where he remained until returning to Deptford as superintendent of the dockyard on 11 December 1841. While at Sheerness he was nominally captain of the 98-gun HMS Ocean, where in mid-1838 he received orders from the captain-superintendent, Thomas Fortescue Kennedy, to have HMS Temeraire, then serving as the “Guardship of the Ordinary and Captain-Superintendent’s ship of the Fleet Reserve in the Medway”, prepared for sale and disposal. Hill oversaw the removal of Temeraire‘s masts, stores and guns, and the paying off of her crew. Temeraire‘s final voyage to the breaker’s yard was painted by J. M. W. Turner as The Fighting Temeraire.


The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up, 1838, by J. M. W. Turner.

Hill remained at Deptford until his promotion to rear-admiral in 1851. He had been granted a pension of £150 a year by Parliament, to be paid after his retirement, for “…special services … superintending the relief granted in times of scarcity in Ireland and in Scotland…”

Hill was reported to have married and to have at least one son, who became a colonel in the British Army, and a daughter, who married the naval officer Captain William Langford Castle in 1835, but died in 1837.

Rear-Admiral Sir John Hill died at Walmer Lodge, Deal, Kent on 20 January 1855, at the age of 81. He left an estate valued at around £80,000.

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