Friday, 28 May 2010

7th June 1761 Went wth Mr Hall to Kensington Gravel Pitts Holland house Fox's Esqr Shepards Bush Acton Little Eleing and went to the Earl of Warwicks House Branford Chiswick Devenshiers house and fine Gardens Crossd Kew Bridge to Kew Barn Elmes Rowhampton Putney Wansworth Battersey Nine Elms Lambeth so Home in all the places near 28 miles Spent 18d

Kensington Gravel Pits was famously healthy and clean - now approximately Notting Hill

This picture is a little later

It is by John Linnell and is in the Tate collection.

Holland House, sadly bomb damaged since Thomas's day, is in Holland Park. It is a Jacobean house, originally known as Cope's Castle but it passed into the Fox family and belong to Henry Fox when Thomas visited (almost certainly just the house and garden, tipping the housekeeper, not the owner whose portrait is shown below).

This is the nearest to a contemporary picture of Holland House that I can find.

It dates from 1812. And below here is one as it is today (thank you Steve Cadman for permission to use his photo - Steve has loads of great photographs of London on Flickr).

I can't find out where the Earl of Warwick's London house was. Thomas's punctuation is so vague that I am not sure whether it was in Brentford ("Branford") or not, but Chiswick House is still there and almost unchanged since Thomas saw it.

Devonshire House, like Chiswick House, designed by William Kent, was in Piccadilly.

The Duchess at the time was the famous Georgiana, subject of a recent film. This portrait is by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Kew Bridge was only completed in 1759. The current bridge is the third on the site. To see the one Thomas crossed and to read more about the history of the bridge click here.

Barn Elms is North of Barnes Common, named after a Georgian house which once stood there. The famous Kit-Kat Club met there and there is more history and a picture of the house here.

And finally Thomas goes "home" but he doesn't tell us where that is, which is infuriating!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

3 June 1761 Went to Drury Lane to see Jane Shore. Mrs Yates Elisia Mrs Sibber Mr Shore Mr Havers Hastings Mr Garick Gloster Mr Davis wth Harlequin Ranger 2/3

I've found the text of the play here. It was written by Nicholas Rowe "in imitation of Shakespear's style", first performed at Drury Lane in 1714 and based on the life of a real woman, Jane Shore, a mistress of Edward IV.

Thomas saw Mrs Yates earlier in 1761 , has has heard Mrs Cibber sing as well as act...picture here.
Her part is properly "Alicia".

Mr Havers is difficult but I think this may be him

Harlequin Ranger is the short comic piece. It was written by Henry Woodward, a protege of Lun who was a famous Harlequin. Here is one of many portraits of him which survive.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

1st June 1761 went to to Drury Lane to See King Lear.. Lear Garick Cordelia Mrs Sibber The King, Princess of Wales and the Rest of the Royal Family 2/3

Thomas has seen Garrick's Lear before and Mrs Cibber in another production but this must have been a very special event.

The King was the new George III. He was not yet married and his mother, Princess Augusta, the widow of his father, Frederick Prince of Wales, is the Princess of Wales mentioned.

The earliest portrait I can find of George III is by the Scottish artist, Allan Ramsay.

Here is his mother

Several other Princes and Princesses might be included in "the Rest of the Royal Family" but, of course, I don't know who was there.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

29th May 1761 Bout of Mr Venables at the Sign of the Beaver Piccadilly a Fine Beaver Hatt 21/- A Hatt Turning ..18d
Paid him for it before young Wade of Retford his apprentice.

I've found mention of a Mr Venables of Piccadilly - he was a subscriber towards a 1795 edition of Pilgrim's Progress.

Beaver hats were made initially from European Beaver but by this time most seem to have been made from pelts imported from North America. More here.

This hat seems likely to have been a tricorn - Some eighteenth century men's fashion is displayed here.

Thomas seems almost always very concerned that it is clear that he has paid. I find it interesting that he buys from a hatter whose apprentice is from his own home town. So often we seem to think that people didn't move much in the past but Thomas has many contacts who are spread over the country.