Kelly McDonald spoke to us yesterday about her research project and the mystery of Emma Austen’s Aunt Emma [Emma Austen married Jane Austen’s nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh]. It was a great presentation taking us into the various avenues of her research into Emma’s family, and with terrific participation from all in the audience, we are now hooked on this not-yet-solved mystery and will await updates – there is a novel in here somewhere I know! Here are Kelly’s thoughts on it all… reblogged from her blog Two Teens in the Time of Austen, with thanks.
Two Teens in the Time of Austen
I want to thank JASNA-Vermont for inviting me to speak at their June gathering yesterday – and for dipping with me in the waters of RESEARCH into the family of the Austens. So little time, so MUCH information! My illustrated talk entitled “The Mystery of Emma Austen’s Aunt Emma” was an “interactive” presentation – and people really spoke up, made observations, added comments, asked questions. It was GREAT! Later, one audience member even told me my “research reads like a thrilling mystery!” Heartening words, indeed. No one can ever guess the “desert” a writer *feels* to be stranded in, when the research is this intensive and taking years to produce something substantive.
I figure I’m closing in on a THOUSAND letters and several HUNDRED diaries – and more turns up. I just returned (after midnight, last friday…) from a research jaunt to New York City.
Very helpful staff at NYU…
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I can attest to Deb’s remarks on Kelly’s presentation. It was beyond wonderful. Kelly’s enthusiasm for her subject as well as her extensive knowledge impressed everyone. Since her subject is a work in progress, I hope our group will get updates from time to time on this exciting mystery. Amazing work, Kelly!!
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Hi Kelly. your talk sounds as though it was extremely successful. I wish i could have been there. Under the picture of Humphrey Repton you mention your wish to come across Repton’s red book for Suttons.
I was wondering what ,Suttons, refers to. There is Sutton Place, a Tudor mansion in Surrey with extensive gardens. i don’t think Repton is associated with that house.however . I pointed out the gates of the Sutton House estate to Deb when I drove her to Southampton. There is also a town in Surrey called Sutton. There is a seed firm called ,Suttons, that originated from the time of Humphrey Repton, which is still going strong.
I was just interested in your reference to Suttons. I can’t think of another estate with Suttons in the title.
Have you tried the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew? I don’t know whether they have any of Repton’s Red books. On the other hand he didn’t create a red book for all of his gardening projects.But I am sure you know more about that than me.
Just another thought Kelly. Have you been to Grove House in Roehampton? It is part of Roehampton Institute of Education.(University) It is within jogging distance of my front door. I have a friend who lectures in computer studies there. If you would like I can take some photographs of the house for you.
All the best, Tony
A link that might interest you.
One of my favourite poets,the Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins lived and trained as a Jesuit at Manresa House which was formerly Parkstead House and now also part of Roehampton University alongside Grove House. Many wealthy people in the 18th century built mansions and created estates, some designed by Capability Brown, in Roehampton with views overlooking Richmond Park.