The Wellington Connection: Shoes, Rather Than Boots

The French, the Prince of Wales, gunfire, political upheaval . . . really, you’d have thought the Duke of Wellington had enough on his plate, but more often than not it was left to His Grace to attend to a hundred myriad details each week regarding the military, politics, his social and his family life. Everyone turned to the Duke of Wellington for assistance and perhaps this was at least in part because he was so good at seeing to the details of a thing, as evidenced in the thread of dispatches below that deal with shoes for both human and horse. As we read, it becomes evident that Wellington had a knack for looking at a problem from every angle and for finding it’s most expedient solution. He always offered explanation and gave the whys and wherefores behind his requests in order to stress the practicalities surrounding them. Unfortunately, not everyone at the war office was as efficient, or as concerned about the day to day running of a vast army who traveled both on their stomachs and their feet.

The Dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington:

To the Earl of Liverpool. Cartaxo, 7th Dec. 1810.

I enclose a return of the number of men and horses required to complete the regiments of British cavalry in this country. As the appointments of the heavy cavalry are so much more weighty than those of the light dragoons, and the larger horses of the former are with difficulty kept in condition, it would have been desirable to have a larger proportion of the light dragoons, or hussars, with this army; but as the officers, the men, and their horses, are now accustomed to the food they receive, and to the climate, I do not recommend that the regiments should be changed, or that any additional regiments should be sent out, excepting possibly the remaining 2 squadrons of the 3d hussars, K.G.L., of which 2 squadrons are already at Cadiz.

Your Lordship will observe that nearly 1000 horses are wanting to complete the several regiments to the number of men they now have, and 1460 to complete to their several establishments. I would recommend that no horses should be sent for service to this country which will not be 6 years old in May; and that mares should be sent in preference to horses, as it has been found that they bear the work better than the horses.

I also beg leave to recommend that about 50 or 60 horses or mares of a superior description should be  purchased, at the price of £40 or £50 each, as a remount for the officers of the cavalry, who cannot find horses in the Peninsula at present fit for this service, and would pay this price for these horses.
As great difficulty has been experienced in making shoes and shoe nails for the horses of the cavalry by their farriers, particularly after the cavalry have been actively employed for any length of time, and many horses have been consequently lost, I recommend that 4000 sets of horse shoes, and a double proportion of horse shoe nails, should be sent to the Commissary Gen. for the use of the cavalry, of the same description with those provided for the horses of the Royal artillery. The regiments to which these shoes would be issued would of course pay for them.

A year after Wellington had done with horse shoes, it appears he turned his pen to the matter of shoes for his troops –

Selections from the Dispatches and General Orders of Field Marshall the Duke of Wellington –

To the Earl of Liverpool. Celorico, 31st March, 1811.

The demand for shoes increases to such a degree that it is desirable that 150,000 pairs should be sent to the Tagus as soon as it may be practicable. It is very desirable that the shoes sent to the army should be of the best quality for wear, and should be made of the largest size.

 

The destruction of this necessary article to a soldier is very much increased by the bad quality of the shoes sent out, and by their being in general too small: and as the operations of the army have now been removed to a distance from Lisbon, the inconvenience and difficulty of supplying their consumption are much increased; at the same time, that, as the soldiers pay for the shoes they receive, it is but just towards them that they should be of the best quality for their purpose, and should fit them.’

And yet another missive on the same subject:

A Memoir of Field-Marshal, the Duke of Wellington: with Interspersed Notices … By John Marius Wilson

“We are sadly in want of shoes, and the carts upon the road from Lisbon to Coimbra have been so ill used that I fear we cannot depend upon the communication; and if we could, I believe we should receive them sooner by sea. It will require 40 carts to bring up 20,000 pairs of shoes, which we want; and I shall be very much obliged to you if you will ask the Admiral to allow one of his ships of war to take them on board, and bring them as soon as possible to the mouth of the Mondego.”

And on arriving at Coimbra with the army, and finding there only 6,000 pairs of shoes, the Duke of Wellington felt obliged to issue general orders for economizing the distribution of them, and to write to Lord Castlereagh begging that a further supply of 30,000 pairs might speedily be sent to Lisbon, and that, at the same time, large supplies might be sent of biscuit, oats, and hay.

Supplementary Despatches and Memoranda of Field Marshal Arthur, Duke of Wellington, Freneda, 30th Nov., 1812 –

1. The Commander of the Forces has directed that those non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the infantry and artillery who were present at the siege of Burgos, and those who were present with their regiments in Spain between the 15th and 19th November, as well Portuguese as English, shall receive a pair of shoes gratis from the Commissary.

2. The officers commanding regiments will accordingly make requisitions for these shoes.

3. Many soldiers are probably already provided with the required quantity of shoes. The officers commanding regiments will make a list of the names of these soldiers, and will have this list lodged with the Paymaster-General, in satisfaction of the demand of the Commissary-General for as many pairs of shoes last delivered to the regiment as there will be names in the list.

4. The soldiers whose names will be in these lists are not to be charged for a pair of shoes each man last received by them from the Commissary, in their accounts with the Captain of their company.

5. Of course the requisitions for shoes under this order are not to include the names of those who will be included in the lists adverted to in Nos. 3 and 4.

6. The shoes which will be required under these orders will be delivered between this time and the 1st February next.

 

 

And next it appears that the Duke had at some point been sent the wrong kind of shoes, adding to his level of frustration:

 

To Earl Bathurst, Lesaca, 23rd August, 1813.

My Dear Lord,
——–  has sent me several pairs of his shoes, which I have endeavored to prevail upon him to desist from sending me, in terms not to mortify him. They are, in fact, of no use whatever. Those who travel on foot in this country do not wear shoes of that description. The Basques and Navarrois, and even some of the Castillians, wear sandals. The shoes worn by the common people, who do wear shoes, are made of brown leather. A man who should have on his feet, or in his possession, a pair of such shoes would be suspected immediately. They are, besides, too small for any common man. They are really quite useless, and it is better that no more should be sent.

Later in life, the Duke turned his great attention to detail upon the health and welfare of his friends and family. In the case of Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts, matters again turned to shoes. In Lady Unknown: The Life of Angela Byrdett-Coutts author Edna Healey tells us that Wellington wrote to Angela:

`Don’t forget you are to leave a pair of your shoes for me that I may have some galoshes made for you. I am in earnest with this; you like walking and appear not to mind much in which state of streets you go out in . . . all that I care about is that you must be kept dry when you go out into the wet streets.’

A pair of the Duke’s own gutta-percha galoshes are preserved at Stratfield-Saye. And in order to round out our piece on Wellington and shoes, here’s a link to an ad in a 1944 issue of Life Magazine featuring the Duke of Wellington.

John Singer Sargent – The British Portraits

 

John Singer Sargent, the son of an American doctor, was born in Florence in 1856. He studied painting in Italy and France and in 1884 caused a sensation at the Paris Salon with his painting of Madame Gautreau. Exhibited as Madame X, people complained that the painting was provocatively erotic.

The scandal persuaded Sargent to move to England and over the next few years established himself as the country’s leading portrait painter. Sargent had no assistants; he handled all the tasks, such as preparing his canvases, varnishing the painting, arranging for photography, shipping, and documentation. He commanded about $5,000 per portrait, or about $130,000 in current dollars. Following are portraits representative of Sargent’s prolific, and much prized, portraiture featurning British subjects.

Lady Agnew of Lochnaw
1892-93
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh
In late 1892, Sargent began work on the portrait of Lady Agnew, commissioned by Andrew Noel Agnew, a barrister who had inherited the baronetcy and estates of Lochnaw in Galloway. The sitter was his young wife, Gertrude Vernon (1865-1932).

 

Hon. Victoria Stanley – 1899
Winifred, Duchess of Portland (Winifred Dallas-Yorke) – 1902

Countess of Warwick and Son (Frances Evelyn ‘Daisy’ Maynard) – 1905

 

The Countess of Essex – 1906

 

Theresa (‘Nellie’) Marchioness of Londonderry – 1912

 

Sibyl Sasson-Countess of Rocksavage  (later Marchioness of Cholmondeley)  – 1913

 

Sir Philip Sassoon – 1923 (Sybil’s brother)
Tate Gallery, London

 

Mrs. George Nathaniel Curzon (Grace Elvina, Marchioness Curzon of Kedleston) – 1925

 

The Hon. Lilian Maud Glen Coats, later Duchess of Wellington
For a complete online catalogue of the works of John Singer Sargent, click here.

HELLO, HANDSOME – COURTESY OF SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE

by Kristine Hughes Patrone

Recently, I was Googling portraits of the Duke of Wellington by Sir Thomas Lawrence (as one does) and the search returned images that were decidedly not Wellington. And I must say, some of the sitters were exceedingly handsome, and some of them were portraits I hadn’t seen before. So I Googled some more and you’ll find the results of my search below. Enjoy!

Portrait of Frederic Lock of Norbury Park, Surrey. Youngest child of William Lock, a London art critic. 
 
 
William Lock the Younger, elder brother to Frederic, above. 
 
From Yale Center for British ArtIt has been suggested that Lawrence’s sensitive portrait of the younger William Lock may be a study for an untraced portrait of the sitter exhibited as the royal Academy in 1791. Lock’s attire and hairstyle indicate a later dating however, and Lawrence did not usually make preliminary drawings for his paintings, preferring to prepare them by drawing directly on the canvas with chalk. . . . The sitter was the son of the connoisseur William Lock (1732-1810), was one of Lawrence’s first sitter and a close friend of the artist. The younger Lock (1767-1847) was a keen patron of the arts and an aspiring artist, but after viewing Rome he lost faith in his talent and gave up painting, though he continued to draw. 
 
Arthur Atherley MP 1772 – 1844
 
This portrait was painted by Lawrence when Atherley was an Eatonian. Afterwards, he went to Trinity College and went on to stand as MP for Southampton for four terms. He was a founding member of the Fox Club. He also served as a justice of the peace in Sussex and died at Tower House, Brighton. 
 
 
The finished portrait now hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but an unfinished sketch of the same subject, above, was recently purchased from a private owner by the Holburne Museum, Bath. You can read more about that here
 
 
John Arthur Douglas Bloomfield, 2nd Baron Bloomfield 1802 – 1879
 
Astonishingly, Wikipedia tells me that Bloomfield was privately educated and became an attache to Vienna at the age of sixteen. This may have been due, at least in part, to the position of his father, the 1st Baron Bloomfield, about whom Wikipedia says: “He was an Aide-de-Camp, then Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal to the Prince of Wales and finally was Private Secretary to the King, Keeper of the Privy Purse, and Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall from 1817 to 1822. One of issues that Bloomfield had to contend with a Private Secretary was King’s extravagant spending.” However, things did not end well for the elder Baron Bloomfield. You’ll find the story here.  
 
 
Richard Hart Davis Jr. 1791 – 1854
 
 
Charles William Bell
 
French video on Lawrence’s painting technique
 
 
Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux 1778 – 1868
 
Anti-slavery campaigner, attorney to Queen Caroline and one of the first Englishmen to fall in love with Cannes and make it into a popular resort. Like Wellington, Brougham was named by Harriet Wilson in her Memoirs. Unlike Wellington, he caved and paid the hush money her publisher demanded to keep his name out of the book. Brougham’s name is still familiar to us, as a style of coach was named for a vehicle he designed, which was carried on until recent memory as a style of automobile. Find his full biographical story here.
 
And finally . . . . .
 
Sir Thomas Lawrence, unfinished self portrait, circa 1825
 

 

The Wellington Connection – Beer

Once upon a time in England, an alehouse/tavern licence was very expensive and was based upon the size of the premises. Many who sought to open such an enterprise were financially prohibited from doing so until the Duke of Wellington’s Beer House Act of 1830 changed the playing field dramatically. The Act reduced the licence fee to two guineas, permitting the sale of beer and cider only. The main object of the Act was to reduce the consumption of spirits, such as gin and other strong liquors.

As the website Exeter Memories tells us: “During the 18th-century, the production and consumption of gin exploded, especially amongst the poor, causing violence and misery for many. Government attempts to prohibit the production of gin with the Gin Act of 1736 had little effect. Distilling changed from straight gin to “medicinal” spirits to circumvent the Act, and fanciful names such as Cuckold’s Comfort and My Lady’s Eye Water were used to describe the new drinks.

“The introduction of the Beer House Act of 1830 tried a different approach to reducing gin consumption and hence, public drunkenness. Anyone, on payment of 2 guineas to a magistrate could obtain a license to open a beer house. Permission was only granted for six days a week, with Sundays excepted. Only beer and cider could be sold.

“The result was a huge growth of beer houses and beer sellers, many from the front rooms of terrace houses and cottages. Another provision of the act was that existing taverns, inns and pubs could also brew their own beer on the premises. This had a knock effect, for there was a growth of demand for hops and barley for malting, thus bringing a new market for many farmers. Within eight years of the act being passed, 46,000 beer houses were opened, almost equalling the number of existing, pubs, taverns and inns.”

Midlands Pubs picks up the story from there – “Following the 1830 Act, beer production went through the roof. Large common brewers engaged travelling sales people to find new trading locations. These agents actively encouraged householders to open up a part of their property, usually the front parlour, in order to sell beer. They even offered to pay the two guinea licence on their behalf and would offer credit terms to their clients.

“Many of the new beer houses throughout the land named their pubs in honour of the Iron Duke. Their pub signs tended to display Wellington in his military roles and often celebrated his battle achievements that had captured the imagination of the public. However, more often than not, the new publicans were showing appreciation to the man who had helped them set up in business. Not all houses bought their beers from common brewers. Some chose to brew themselves whilst others employed a travelling brewer who would go from pub to pub producing the house ales.
“Naturally, some beer houses were more successful than others. Those who gained a reputation for their ales enjoyed good trade. The licensee would often use the profits to buy the neighbouring cottage into which the family would move whilst the existing house was expanded. Indeed, there are some pubs that have expanded into a full row of a terrace, the rooms being used as separate bar, parlour, smoke room, lounge and family room. The early beer house movement was all very laissez-faire.
“Although many beer houses were eradicated under later legislation, many survived and evolved into fully licensed premises. Accordingly, in addition to beer and cider, they were allowed to sell wines and spirits. 1869 was a key cut-off point, after which it was not so easy to obtain a full licence. Indeed, the 1869 Wine and Beerhouse Act was designed to curtail the number of pubs that were opening around the country. However, pubs that had obtained licences before this date did have a degree of protection in terms of magisterial control.
“Many houses that did not obtain a full licence managed to continue in business providing that the house conformed to all legislation and was kept orderly. These continued to simply sell beer and cider. For example, by 1890 almost half of Birmingham’s 2,178 public houses were beer houses. In fact, beer houses continued up until the 1950’s when finally a full licence was granted to those that had survived.”
The Duke of Wellington . . . what a guy!

Aristocratic Kennels

John Russel, 4th Duke of Bedford
Sir Joshua Reynolds

Aristocratic gentlemen have always enjoyed a good hunt, one of the finest being the Oakley Hunt, formed by the 4th Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey in 1793.

The Field Book (1833)  says: “The Duke of Bedford’s is an immense establishment, upon a scale of too great an extent for particular description; as it includes tennis court, riding house, etc., etc. In one stone-fronted building of two hundred and sixty-six feet in length, there are stalls for thirty-six hunters, and eleven loose boxes for sick or lame horses. The kennel is in length four hundred and five feet; having the boiling house in the centre, with feeding rooms adjoining, and a granary behind. On the right of the centre are apartments for two kennel-keepers, two long lodging-rooms for the hunting hounds; with flues running along the wall, to preserve an equal temperature in the severity of the winter season; spacious courts to each, furnished with a fountain in the middle, for the hounds to drink at; and water cocks fixed at proper distances, to cleanse the pavement when it may be required. Adjoining to these, are seven hospitals for sick and lame hounds, with yards to each. On the left, are divisions for litter, straw, and stores of any kind; with eleven apartments for bitches and puppies, and yards to each. There are, also, eleven of a similar description, for bitches in pup; and a large division for bitches at heat. In the front, is a reservoir of water which supplies the fountains and different cocks in the several yards within. Behind the whole, is a large airing ground, flesh-house, and all requisite conveniences. The huntsman’s dwelling is a handsome building adjoining. The number of hunting hounds kept in the kennel, is usually from sixty to seventy couples.”

The Oakley Hounds

Yet by the end of the eighteenth century, fox-hunting was feeling the pinch of costs. The Napoleonic Wars brought heavy taxes and the Duke of Bedford, with his Oakley hounds, was taxed on an additional twenty-five more servants and twenty-seven more horses on top of an existing twenty-six servants and thirty horses. On March 20th, 1798, the Duke wrote to Samuel Whitbread: ‘I will continue my subscription of 500 [pounds sterling] so long as the hounds are kept at Oakley and Mr Pitt leaves me the money’. Difficulties ensued, and in 1809 the Duke of Bedford’s eldest son rescued the hunt when the expense of the hounds totalled 2,850 [pounds sterling] per year. ‘You will be glad to hear Tavistock has determined to undertake the arduous task,’ the Duke wrote on April 4th, ‘although it is rather hard on him to exact the sacrifice of half his income for the gratification of a few gentlemen who are unwilling to contribute anything towards their own amusement.”


Thomas Goosey and the Belvoir Hounds Leaving the Kennels

Other titled kennel owners were the Duke of Rutland and the Duke of Richmond. From The Sportsman’s Library by John Mills 1845:

“The best constructed kennel, taking it in every point of view, that I have seen, is that belonging to His Grace the Duke of Rutland, at Belvoir Castle; although there are others upon a grander scale.


Belvoir Kennels

The superb edifice of the Duke of Richmond at Goodwood, cost no less a sum than thirteen thousand pounds, in its erection. His Grace was his own architect and builder; and the magnificent design, and the perfection of its arrangements, show how capable he was of accomplishing his task.



The kennels at Goodwood

 “The distribution of the building is in five compartments: two of them thirty-six feet by fifteen; and three more, thirty by fifteen. In each of these are openings at the top, for the admission of external air when necessary; and stoves, to qualify the air when too cold. There are supplies of water, and drains into a tank of great depth below, full of rain water; from the surface of which, to the rise of the earth, is eleven feet: so that no unpleasantness arises from stench; and the whole can be occasionally cleared off by drains to more dependent depths and dung pits, where it becomes contributory to the purposes of agriculture. Round the whole pavement, five feet wide, airing yards, places for breeding, and other conveniences make a part of each wing. To produce a uniformity of elegance, neatness, and perfection, the huntsman and whipper-in have each a parlour, kitchen, and sleeping-room, appropriated to their own particular purposes.”



The Belvoir Hunt 2003

As we have read, owning a working hunt kennel was costly then, and is even costlier now. Edmund Yates, in his book, The Business of Pleasure (1879) put it this way – “In summing-up the question of expense, it will be well to bear in mind the axiom of a well-known sportsman of bygone days, that `a master of hounds will never have his hand out of his pocket, and must always have a guinea in it;’ but it may be laid down as a principle that the expense generally depends upon the prudence, experience, and interest possessed by the owner of the pack and the stud. Two men have worked different counties in a season, one at the fourth of the expense incurred by the other, and the difference in sport has been inappreciable. It may, however, be taken as a fact, that the expenses of a fox-hound pack for hunting twice a week, including cost of hounds, horses, huntsmen, and stable-attendants, will be about fifteen hundred; and for three times a week, two thousand pounds.”

In our present day, the cost of owning and maintaining a pack is one obstacle – the political climate against hunting is another thing entirely. Still, the hunts, and hunters, hang on. The Oakley Hunt is still going and you can visit their website here. The Duke of Rutland’s Belvoir Hunt remains active, as well. Visit their site here. The kennels at Goodwood are now a private members club.