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The Duke of Wellington’s Female Circle: Frances, Lady Shelley

Frances Lady Shelley 001 Lady Shelley, from a miniature by G. Sanders, in the possession of Spencer Shelley Esq.

Over on the English Historical Fiction Author’s blog, we meet Frances, Lady Shelley, a dear friend and correspondent of the Duke of Wellington.

Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, was known to enjoy women, particularly pretty, intelligent women. He was credited with many mistresses (whether or not true) and he had many women friends whose company he enjoyed. One of these women was Frances, Lady Shelley. Lady Shelley was a notable diarist.

Frances was born in June 16, 1787 at Preston, Lancashire. Her father was Thomas Winckley, and her mother was Jacintha Dalrymple Hesketh. Originally known as Janet or Jennet, Jacintha was the previously-widowed sister of the famous courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliot, whose family had a connection to the Earl of Peterborough. Jacintha and Thomas were descended of Jacobite families and they married in 1785. Thomas was about 17 years older than Jacintha. Jacintha had children (5 daughters and a son) by her first husband. Apparently Thomas did not care for the Hesketh connection; only one of Lady Shelley’ half-siblings lived in the household with her and her parents, and they rarely met the Hesketh siblings. The household was not a particularly happy one; Thomas spent a lot of time with his cronies, drank heavily and liked to play pranks. Accounts indicate that Thomas was quite well off. Shortly after moving his family to Larkhill, Thomas died in 1794, leaving his widow, their daughter Frances and 2 illegitimate sons. Jacintha inherited the house and furniture; the residue of Thomas’ estate was left to Frances, who was 6 years old….

To read more, visit the English Historical Fiction Author’s blog HERE.

Illustration is a scan of the image in my personal copy of THE DIARY OF FRANCES LADY SHELLEY 1787-1817 Edited by her grandson Richard Edgcumbe. 1912: John Murray, London.

Sources are listed in the post on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog.

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Worcester Cathedral

My husband and I just got back from a wonderful trip abroad. One of the fabulous places we visited was the city of Worcester, where we were able to spend time at the Cathedral

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It was a rather overcast, misty morning as we approached the cathedral. Once inside, however, it was truly awe-inspiring.

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They were preparing for a wedding later in the day, and there was singing. It was unbelievably beautiful.

As we proceeded, the incredible architecture and the beautiful windows were almost overpowering.
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We also saw the tomb of King John, best known for signing the Magna Carta on June 15, 1215, who died October 19, 1216. Amazing to think that he has remained here all these centuries.

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Worcester Cathedral is also the burial place of Arthur, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VII, who died at age 15 shortly after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. (Note there is no effigy or likeness on his tomb.)
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The present building was built under Saint Wulfstan, with building beginning in 1084. (There had been cathedrals since since Anglo-Saxon times, which the current structure replaced.) There was also a monastery which continued until it was dissolved under Henry VIII. During the Civil Wars, the Cathedral was badly damaged (the Battle of Worcester, which took place on September 3, 1651 was the last battle, where Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian army defeated the Royalists). After the Restoration of Charles II and the monarchy, a great deal of rebuilding was undertaken. The largest campaign of renovation occurred during the Victorian era between 1854-1875. The Cathedral as it stands today is a magnificent structure, well worth a visit.

(All photographs are perstonal, taken by the author, after purchasing a permit at the Cathedra.)

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Happy New Year

It’s chilly here in Florida. (I won’t insult my northern friends and neighbors by referring to “cold” but 40-degree temperatures are just plain cold to me.) I have a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove. We have had hints of frost for tonight so pineapple plants and a few other sensitive plants will be tucked in again, and the potted plants will spend at least one more night on the porch. Having celebrated the holidays, and now having a cold snap, nothing beats a warm old sweater, some comfort food, and a good book. With all the turmoil in the world, it’s easy to forget how very fortunate one is, and how comforting the simple things can be. Today is a good time to remember those things. All best wishes for a safe, healthy and happy 2018!

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An Interview….

Annie Whitehead, noted author of TO BE A QUEEN, ALVAR THE KINGMAKER and contributor to 1066 TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, as well as one of the team in charge of the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, was very gracious and kind when she interviewed me for her own blog. You can see it HERE

Please visit her author page on Amazon to check out her work HERE

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Baroness Lehzen, Victoria’s Governess

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(Drawing of Louise Lehzen 1835 by Princess Victoria from Wikimedia Commons)

I have a post up on the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog. Today, I am discussing an important and formative influence on Queen Victoria: her governess and friend, Baroness Louise Lehzen. Please check it out by visiting the English Historical Fiction Authors. While you are there, please be sure to check out other great posts!

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A New Passion for China

I have always had a fondness for china.  It just FEELS good when used.  Somehow food looks prettier on a porcelain plate, and tea definitely tastes better out of a bone china mug or cup.  However, I have not actually purchased any for quite some time.  Recently, the passion reared its head and the urge to buy was irresistible.  Even more peculiar, none of these recent purchases go with my existing sets.

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Cream and sugar Nippon (Morimura) c 1911

I fell in love with this Nippon hand-painted cream and sugar set.  It has a Morimura mark and is definitely hand painted.  The tag indicated it was made between the 1890’s and about 1920’s.  I checked on line, and did not find an exact match for this pattern, but did find some similar that were all dated to 1911, which feels right.  Cream and sugar sets are so appealing, and can be used in other ways (as well as a useful adjunct for serving tea, with all the different kinds of milks and sweeteners we use these days!).

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Royal Albert Symphony Series 1970’s

 

The next item I fell in love with was the cup and saucer in the Royal Albert Symphany Series, with the little roses on the pale green background.  It doesn’t match the Old Country Roses tea set, but coordinates nicely; it would definitely work as an extra cup, if needed!  Royal Albert produced variations of this pattern for some time.  It was not hard to find that this particular pattern, the Symphany Series, was produced in the 1970’s, and appeared in different colors.  I was very happy with the pale green, and snapped it up.

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Queen Anne china (English), Regency pattern, 1940’s

My last find occurred in a delightful shop in Fernandina Beach.  It made me think of one of my favorite novels by Patricia Wentworth, SHE CAME BACK (American title), in which a main character  had “the familiar tea things-Queen Anne silver and bright flowered cups bordered with gold and apple green….” (1)  I was traveling and not expecting to make a purchase, but I could not resist.  It was a total impulse buy.  Again, it doesn’t match the tea set but tones with it beautifully in color and style.

None of these purchases were expensive, or intentional.  None are especially old or valuable.  However, all three were very satisfying.  While I doubt if I make any more purchases (at least for a while), I expect to enjoy using these new finds over time.  Unexpected pleasures!

(1) Wentworth, Patricia.  SHE CAME BACK. 1945: J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia and New York.  P. 141.

Photos by me.

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Where has this summer gone?

I thought that yesterday was the 4th of July; now it’s almost the middle of October! Where has this summer gone? On one hand, I look around and feel like the time just vanished. On the other, I do see signs of accomplishment. Work has been done on my next novel, which should be coming out this winter-more editing on what has been completed and more writing done, moving forward. On the work front, new procedures have been implemented and there are new programs yet to learn; again, moving forward. It seems funny; when I was a child, summer seemed endless (especially August, when I was waiting for school to start again). Now time seems to go by in the blink of an eye. It is truly alarming to go into a store and see Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations leering at me from all sides. Talk about rushing the season! I miss a more leisurely progression, where one has time to really enjoy the now, instead of rushing headlong through the pleasures of today to get to the next holiday or the next event. It seems so unappreciative, even disrespectful of our life and time. I will at least strike my own small blow: no Hallowe’en decorations until that week; no Thanksgiving decorations until that week; DEFINITELY no Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. It’s important to savor the pleasures of today. Time slips by quickly enough; there is no reason to try to make it go even faster.

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