HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO QUEEN VICTORIA – 24 May 1819

Victoria H here: I have always had a special feeling for Queen Victoria, obviously because it was the name my father — with his entirely British heritage — chose for me.
The above view of the Queen in 1838 is one of my favorite portraits.
Above, the Queen in her 1838 coronation robes by American artist Thomas Sully (1783–1872). The painting hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City though it has been copied many times and can be found in various configurations many places.

Above, Artist Sir George Hayter (1792-1871) also painted Victoria in her coronation robes.  The ceremony took place on June 28, 1938, about a year after Victoria became Queen at age 18 after the death of her uncle, William IV (1765-1937).

Victoria was Queen until her death in 1901, the longest reign in English history at the time. The Hayter painting is in the National Collection in Britain and a copy of it hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Victoria’s name became the title of an age characterized by a revolution in industry, transportation, communication, medicine, culture, and, perhaps, family relationships and sexual behavior. At the beginning of her reign, horses and sailing ships provided transportation. At the end of her life, we had dirigibles and the Wright Brothers first flew just a couple of years later.  Wonder what Victoria would have thought of blogging?

In celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth this year, Number One London Tour will be exploring all aspects of the Queen’s life, from her birth at Kensington Palace to her death in 1901 at Osborn House on the Isle of Wight, on our 2019 Queen Victoria Tour. Full details and Tour itinerary can be found here.

A LADY’S BOOK OF LOVE and Lotteries in Regency England

BY LOUISA CORNELL

My very first Regency Romance for Scarsdale Publishing goes live on May 22nd ! I am thrilled to be writing a book in Scarsdale’s popular and highly successful Marriage Maker series.

Sir Stirling James, the man Society calls the Marriage Maker, is back this Season to work his magic at uniting couples—and never has his talent been more tested.

Miss Emmaline Peachum needs a hero. She’ll settle for a husband, however, if he can rescue her reputation from further scandal and save her beloved library from the bailiff and his henchmen. But what sort of gentleman will agree to marry the daughter of England’s most notorious con artist?

After eighteen years in His Majesty’s Navy, Captain Lord Arthur Farnsworth wants to retire to the life of a country gentleman. But first he must discharge his final duty to his men and retrieve the money that was swindled from them.

Sir Stirling James offers the captain the perfect opportunity to find the missing funds. Arthur will marry the bookish hoyden whose father cheated his men of their last farthing and seduce her into telling him where the money can be found.

The problem with this plan lies with the defiant, beautiful, and wickedly witty Miss Emmaline Peachum, who must have inherited her father’s larcenous tendencies. While Captain Farnsworth is intent on retribution, she is stealing his heart.

 

Lotteries in Regency England

 

A Lottery is a taxation Upon all the fools in creation;

And Heav’n be prais’d It is easily rais’d. . . The Lottery

Henry Fielding

 

In writing Stealing Minerva I had to do a bit of research on lotteries in early England. My heroine’s father is a con artist who swindles thousands of pounds from citizens of every walk of life by setting up a fake lottery and absconding with the money.

There were state lotteries in England as early as 1690. They were established and run by the Bank of England. They were used to raise money for good causes, government projects, the British Museum at Montague House, and even helped finance the war against Napoleon.

Lottery tickets were quite expensive. In addition to individuals, boroughs bought lottery tickets in order to raise money for the feeding and clothing of poor children. The Church had no issues with clerics gambling on lottery tickets to raise money for their parishes. People who could not afford to buy a full lottery ticket pooled their money and bought shares in a single ticket, sometimes advertising for partners in the newspaper.

Daily Advertiser (London, England), Wednesday, September 24, 1777

Here is a sample of what a winning ticket might be worth.

Then, as now, a winning lottery ticket might change a person’s life forever. In 1798, four people on servants’ wages won 20,000 pounds (a value of 1.2 million pounds today!) The lucky winners were a female servant from Holborn, a servant of the Duke of Roxburgh, a keeper of a fruit stall and a vegetable carrier from Covent Garden.

Most lottery tickets were winners of at least the price of the ticket. However, every fourth or so ticket might be a blank – a losing ticket. Forward thinking institutions came up with insurance programs for lottery players, a way to insure one received at least the value of their ticket back.

As today, lottery ticket drawings were public events, although not nearly as rowdy and glamorous. They were public in order to display the event as fair and aboveboard.

“Coopers Hall, Lottery Drawing”, from Ackermanns Microcosm of London”, dating from 1809 (Courtesy of the Lewis Walpole Library)

In spite of this there were a number of lottery scandals and scams during the Georgian / Regency era. To find out how one such scam worked check out my novella A Lady’s Book of Love ! It has been up for preorder and goes live on Amazon TODAY !!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C6QSHJF/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1523840315&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Lady%27s+Book+of+Love+by+Louisa+Cornell

EXCERPT :

“You don’t strike me as the sort of woman to surrender so easily.”

“Some men think women are made for surrender. That we seek it so as not to have the burden of thinking or making our own decisions.”

“I am not one of those men.”

She snorted. “I am almost persuaded.” Her fingers ran along the spines of the books. He nearly sensed her touch on his skin. “Almost.”

“I don’t believe it is in a woman’s nature to surrender. It is something she is taught or has beaten into her. The one who maintains her true nature will fight long past a single hope of winning. And when life forces her to surrender, she despises herself for it. The only person she despises more is the man who has forced her to submit to that state so completely counter to her nature.”

She turned to face him, her back pressed against the shelves, a worn leather volume gripped tightly in her hands. “What would a man like you know of surrender?” She peered up at him, her eyes all too cynical and discerning to suit him.

His mind froze. His ability to dissemble fled, so he gave her the truth. “Far more than I care to admit, Miss Peachum. I cannot recommend it.”

“You? In war?” She gave him a subtle smile that threatened to take his breath away. “In love perhaps?”

“In life.”

 

For more historical romance by Louisa Cornell check out her Amazon Author page !

https://www.amazon.com/Louisa-Cornell/e/B00PYZQOA6/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

And for announcements about future books join Louisa’s Facebook Author page !

https://www.facebook.com/RegencyWriterLouisaCornell

Check out the rest of the books in the Marriage Maker Series !

http://scarsdalepublishing.com/

A BIRTHDAY LETTER FROM KING LEOPOLD

Queen Victoria’s birthday was on May 24th
From: The Letters of Queen Victoria by John Murray

 

The King of the Belgians to Queen Victoria.
Laeken, 21st May 1845.
My Dearest And Most Beloved Victoria,— Receive my sincerest and most heartfelt good wishes on the happy reappearance of your birthday. I need not dwell on my sentiments of devotion to you; they began with your life, and will only end with mine. The only claim I make is to be remembered with some little affection. Thank heaven, I have little to wish you, than that your present happiness may not be disturbed, and that those who are dear to you may be preserved for your happiness.
My gift is Charlotte’s portrait. The face is extremely like, and the likest that exists; the hair is a little too fair, it had become also darker. I take this opportunity to repeat that Charlotte was a noble-minded and highly gifted creature. She was nervous, as all the family have been; she could be violent, but then she was full of repentance for it, and her disposition highly generous and susceptible of great devotion. I am the more bound to say this, as I understood that you had some notion that she had been very imperious, and not mistress of her temper. Before her marriage some people by dint of flattery had tried to give her masculine tastes; and in short had pushed her to become one day a sort of Queen Elizabeth. These sentiments were already a little modified before her marriage. But she was particularly determined to be a good and obedient wife; some of her friends were anxious she should not; amongst these Madame de Flahaut must be mentioned en premiere ligne.
This became even a subject which severed the intimacy between them. Madame de Flahaut, much older than Charlotte, and of a sour and determined character, had gained an influence which partook on Charlotte’s part a little of fear. She was afraid of her, but when once supported took courage.
    People were much struck on the 2nd of May 1816 at Carlton House with the clearness and firmness with which she pronounced “and obey” etc., as there had been a general belief that it would be for the husband to give these promises. The Regent put me particularly on my guard, and said, “If you don’t resist she will govern you with a high hand.” Your own experience has convinced you that real affection changes many sentiments that may have been implanted into the mind of a young girl. With Charlotte it was the more meritorious, as from a very early period of her life she was considered as the heiress of the Crown; the Whigs flattered her extremely, and later, when she got by my intervention reconciled to the Tories, they also made great efforts to please her.
Her understanding was extremely good; she knew everybody, and I even afterwards found her judgment generally extremely correct. She had read a great deal and knew well what she had read. Generous she was almost too much, and her devotion was quite affecting, from a character so much pushed to be selfish and imperious.
I will here end my souvenir of poor dear Charlotte, but I thought that the subject could not but be interesting to you. Her constancy in wishing to marry me, which she maintained under difficulties of every description, has been the foundation of all that touched the family afterwards. You know, I believe, that your poor father was the chief promoter, though also the Yorks were; but our correspondence from 1814 till 1816 was entirely carried on through his kind intervention; it would otherwise have been impossible, as she was really treated as a sort of prisoner. Grant always to that good and generous Charlotte, who sleeps already with her beautiful little boy so long, where all will go to, an affectionate remembrance, and believe me she deserves it.
Forgive my long letter, and see in it, what it really is, a token of the great affection I have for you. Ever, my dearest Victoria, your devoted Uncle,
Leopold R.
Number One London will be celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Queen Victoria’s birth during the 2019 Queen Victoria Tour, visiting Kensington Palace, where she was born, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Brighton Pavilion and Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight, where the Queen died in 1901. Complete Tour details can be found here.

BRUMMELL FLEES TO FRANCE!

On 16-18 May 1816 Beau Brummell fled to France to escape debtor’s prison. Brummell was born on George Bryan Brummell (7 June 1778  to March 1840 aged 61)) at 10 Downing Street on 7th June 1778, the youngest son of William Brummell, an enterprising man who had risen to the position of Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. From such auspicious beginnings, Brummell utlimately fled London, and his position as the Leader of Fashion, in order to escape his debts.

When Brummell left London, he was living at No. 13 Chapel Street, Park Lane, to which house he had removed from Chesterfield Street some time before; it belonged to Mr. Hart, the Duke of Gloucester’s steward. Leaving behind most of his belongings, they were auctioned off in order to satisfy his creditors.

The notice for the Brummell auction which ran in the newspaper can be found in The Life of George Brummell, Esq., by William Jesse:

By order of the Sheriff of Middlesex!  Will be Sold by Auction By Mr. Christie, On the Premises, No. 13 Chapel Street, Park Lane, On Wednesday, May 22nd, and following Day.

As Jesse further tells us: Amongst the articles of Brummell’s furniture up for sale were a mahogany-framed sliding cheval dressing glass on castors, with two brass arms for one light each, a medicine chest, and colour box. The drawing-room had a chimney glass, in a carved ebony frame, chintz furniture and Brussels carpet; the back drawingroom had also a chimney glass, book-shelves, and library bookcase. The dinner service consisted of twelve oval dishes, twenty soup-plates, seventy-eight meat ditto, nine wine-coolers, a breakfast service for eight persons, three claret jugs, twelve hock glasses, forty wine ditto, decanters, &c There were sixteen pairs of sheets, forty huckaback towels, napkins, &c. Amongst the Sevres china was a pair of oval vases, which sold for nineteen guineas; they were green, with flowers and fruit, and mouldings of burnished gold. A small cup and cover of the same, eighteen pounds. An ewer and basin, mazarine blue and gold ground, richly ornamented with birds and exotics finely painted in compartments, with the name of each specimen upon them; the handle of this ewer was silver gilt, and the lot fetched twenty-six pounds. There were also a variety of chocolate cups and other articles, a clock of Vulliamy’s, a letter scale—(no doubt, all his letters were franked)—the design a figure of Cupid, weighing a heart with a brace of doves; this was in ormolu on a black marble plinth. A silver tea-kettle embossed and chased, brought forty-seven pounds. There were only six spoons and four forks—how did they happen to be left behind ?

 

Amongst the books were some good historical works, the Standard Poets, two editions of Shakespeare, his friend Ellis’s Specimens of Early English Metrical Romances, bound in curiously raised calf; the Quarterly and Edinburgh, the Memoirs of de Grammont, Chesterfield’s Letters, Berrington’s Abelard and Eloisa, and a large collection of novels now forgotten. A family party at dinner, by Holmes, fetched eighty-five guineas. There were also editions of Flaxman’s designs for the Iliad, Eschylus, and Burger’s Leonora; a copy of the Musee Francais, portraits for the Memoirs of de Grammont, prints by Cipriani and Bartolozzi, a portrait in oils of his father’s benefactor, Lord North, and portraits of Nelson, Pitt, the Duke of Rutland, and George the Third. The Beauvais Claret sold for five pounds eight shillings ; the Champagne, three pounds five shillings; and the Port, four pounds per dozen.

 

The sale was attended by many members of the fashionable world, every one being apparently anxious to purchase something; the Duke of York was not there, but he gave orders for some Sevres china to be bought for him. Purchases were made in this manner by many of his friends. Amongst the company present were Lords Bessborough and Yarmouth, Lady Warburton, Sir Henry Smyth, Sir H. Peyton, Sir W. Burgoyne, Sir T. Stepney, Colonels Sheddon and Cotton, General Phipps, Mr. Massy Dawson, Acland, of the Albany, Mr. Mills, of Park Street, Mr. Tower, and the Rev. — Belli.

 

The competition for the knick-knacks and articles of virtu was very great; amongst them was a very handsome snuff-box, which, on being opened by the auctioneer before it was put up, was found to contain a piece of paper with the following sentence, in Brummell’s handwriting, upon it:— “This snuff-box was intended for the Prince Regent, if he had conducted himself with more propriety towards me.” The proceeds of the sale amounted to about eleven hundred pounds, and the sum was paid to the Sheriff of Middlesex.

Originally published in 2010.