Jane Austen’s Visit to Carlton House ~ November 13, 1815

Note: A post from the archives of 2010 – reposting it because today is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s visit to Carlton House!

************

Carlton House library

Carlton House Library

Today in Jane Austen’s life:  on November 13, 1815, Jane Austen visited Carlton House, the London home of the Prince Regent, at the invitation of the Prince’s Librarian James Stanier Clarke.  Austen was “asked” to dedicate her next book  – Emma – to the Prince – it is the only dedication in her six novels [her juvenilia was humorously dedicated to her family members – see Peter Sabor’s article in Persuasions 31 (2009) “Brotherly and Sisterly Dedications in Jane Austen’s Juvenilia”].

Carlton House – front view

This is Austen’s  letter to Clarke on the 15th:

Wednesday 15 November 1815

Sir,

I must take the liberty of asking You a question – Among the many flattering attentions which I rec’d from you at Carlton House, on Monday last, was the Information of my being at liberty to dedicate any future Work to HRH the P.R. without the necessity of any Solicitation on my part.  Such at least, I beleived to be your words; but as I am very anxious to be quite certain of what was intended, I intreat you to have the goodness to inform me how such Permission is to be understood, & whether it is incumbent on me to shew my sense of the Honour, by inscribing the Work now in the Press, to H.R.H. – I sh’d be equally concerned to appear either presumptuous or Ungrateful.-

I am etc…

[Le Faye, Ltr. 125 (D), p. 296]

James_Stanier_Clarke-wp.pg

James Stanier Clarke

Clarke responded immediately:

“It is certainly not incumbent on you to dedicate your work now in the Press to His Royal Highness: but if you wish to do the Regent that honour either now or at some future period, I am happy to send you that permission which need not require any more trouble or solicitation on your Part.”  (Ltr. 125 (A), p.296)

Austen and Clarke engaged in a lively correspondence about this dedication and Clarke’s efforts to have Austen write a book about a clergyman… Austen responded in her most humorous fashion:

“I am fully sensible than an Historical Romance founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg might be more to the purpose of Profit or Popularity, than such pictures of domestic Life in Country Villages as I deal in – but I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem. – I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other notice than to save my Life, & if it were indispensible for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I finished the first Chapter.- No – I must keep to my own style & go on in my own Way…” (Ltr. 138(D), p. 312).

It is unfortunate that no letter exists in which Jane writes Cassandra her impressions of Carlton House and the Prince’s request – it surely must have been written – how could Austen resist sharing her thoughts about Clarke and Carlton House with her sister! – it is likely one of those that Cassandra felt could not be passed on perhaps for its anti-P.R. sentiments. – In Letter 128 to Cassandra (Le Faye, 300), Austen writes “I did mention the P.R.- in my note to Mr. Murray, it brought me a fine compliment in return…” – which seems to indicate that Austen had written just previously to Cassandra about this request for a dedication.  But all we have is Austen’s very humorous dedication to Emma:

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT,

THIS WORK IS, BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS’S PERMISSION,
MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS’S
DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR

***********

 
 

 

Carlton House staircase

Further reading:

 

[Images from the Wikipedia article on Carlton House]

Austen on the Block! ~ Austen Portrait Auction Results

UPDATE:  NO SALE – A Pass [£28,000 highest bid]

Watching the Christies auction live! – the James Stanier Clarke Friendship Book with the illustration [as speculated] of Jane Austen had a highest bid of just £28,000 [estimate was 30,000 – 50,000]

Other items of interest in the sale:

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights. 1st Am. ed.:  PASS

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. 1st ed, 1st state:  £2800 [hammer price]

Samuel Richardson, Pamela. 1st ed.:  PASS

Shakespeare and John Fletcher, Two Noble Kinsman£26,000 [hammer price]

BUT, there was money passing hands at this auction ~ note this item!

MERIAN, Maria Sibylla (1647-1717). Blumenbuch. Nuremberg: Johann Andreas Graff, 1675-1677-1680.

Estimate:  £60,000 – £90,000  ($98,100 – $147,150)

Price realized:  £470,000 [ £565,250 ($924,184) with buyer’s premium]

Together, 3 fascicules, 2°. 2 leaves of letter-press text and 36 engraved plates COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, numbered in the plate 1-12, 14-124, 1-12, including an engraved title-page with a different elaborate botanical border as plate 1 to each fascicule. Watermarks: tower with counter-mark ‘S H’ (pts. 1 and 2); coat-of-arms of Amsterdam (pt. 2); crowned double eagle with pendant ‘4 S H’ (pt. 3). Plates trimmed to plate edge (208 x 150mm) and tipped onto modern paper mounts (305 x 221mm), text leaves trimmed to type-area; loose in modern marbled paper folding box (upper joints split). An 18th-century German hand has added numbering (sometimes on the plate) and German plant-names, now mounted as caption labels beneath each plate, the register also annotated, 19th-century manuscript title-page in German. Provenance: the von der Osten family, Schloss Plathe, Pomerania, and by descent; nationalised by the DDR, transferred to the state archive in Potsdam, and subsequently restituted to the family.

A REDISCOVERED, APPARENTLY UNIQUE COPY, FINELY COLOURED, OF THE TRUE FIRST EDITION OF MERIAN’S FIRST AND RAREST WORK. The Blumenbuch was issued in 3 parts consisting of 12 plates each in 1675, 1677 and 1680, respectively. In 1680 also appeared a composite issue of all three parts newly entitled Neues Blumenbuch and 2 leaves of text containing an introduction and a register of plant names. The present copy conforms to the first edition, issued as 3 fascicules, with individual title-pages dated 1675, 1677 and 1680. Furthermore, the watermarks conform to the Bern copy of the 1675 and 1677 fascicules. NO OTHER COMPLETE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION IS KNOWN. It is highly likely that it was acquired at or close to the time of publication by a von der Osten ancestor and has been in the family ownership for the subsequent 3 centuries. In c. 1900 it is recorded in the only surviving catalogue of the family library as being trimmed and mounted on loose sheets. Interestingly, several scholars have noted that the work seems to have remained in loose sheets for considerable periods; it is possible that the present copy was never bound.

The colouring in the present copy closely resembles that in copies considered to have been done by Merian herself (Dresden, London). If not by Merian, it is certainly by an accomplished contemporary artist, as is the Bern copy. In the introducton Merian states that she has produced the work as a model book, providing patterns to be copied in paint or embroidery. She thus joins a long tradition of florilegia serving this purpose. She also outlines briefly ‘tulip fever’ and the price of 2000 Dutch guilders paid for a single tulip, Semper Augustus. The plates for the Blumenbuch were not re-issued in Merian’s lifetime, but were reworked with the addition of insects for a 1730 edition, Histoire des Insectes de l’Europe. THE BLUMENBUCH IMAGES ARE THUS THE RAREST OF MERIAN’S PUBLISHED IMAGES.

Only five copies of individual fascicules survive: Vienna (pt. 1, ?lacking pl.2); Bern (pts. 1 and 2 [lacking II:12]); and Nuremberg (pt. 3, lacking pls. 8, 11, 12). Of the 1680 Neues Blumenbuch only 6 copies (3 with contemporary coluring) are known, in addition to a unique copy of coloured counterproof plates sold in Christie’s rooms in 2000. Blunt & Stearn, pp. 142-46; Nissen BBI 1340.

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont

On the Block! ~ A Jane Austen Portrait?

Christie’s Sale 8021:  Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts
8 June 2011
London, King Street 

[Jane Austen? by James Stanier Clarke]

James Stanier Clarke’s Friendship Book will be auctioned off tomorrow, June 8, 2011 at Christie’s London.  Clarke was the Prince Regent’s librarian at Carlton House – he famously invited Jane Austen to visit, requested her to dedicate her next book to the Prince [Emma], and carried on a lively correspondence with Austen – thankfully these letters survive to give us a rare insight into Austen’s own view of her talents.

This collection of Clarke’s watercolors is of interest to Jane Austen followers because it includes the portrait of a young woman, purportedly Jane Austen, as based on the research of Richard Wheeler [see: Richard James Wheeler,  James Stanier Clarke: His Watercolour Portrait of Jane Austen Painted 13th November 1815 in his “Friendship Book.” Kent: Codex, 1998]. 

There remain questions that this is indeed Austen – as there are only two known portraits, the small sketch by Cassandra in the National Portrait Gallery that all other “imaginary” portraits have been modeled on (and which family members said was not nearly a good likeness of her), and the second watercolor, also by Cassandra, offers us only a rear view – we are left with wanting more – what did she look like?!  

To get a great overview of the study of this possible Jane Austen image, please read this article by former JASNA President and Austen scholar Professor Joan Ray in Persuasions 27 (2005 ) [and co-authored by Richard James Wheeler]  – you can find it here in a pdf file: http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number27/ray-clarke.pdf

Read below from the Christie’s Auction Catalogue  for the description of the other watercolors in Clarke’s book.  The Austen portrait however is the main selling feature, and the catalogue does tell the tale of Austen’s famed visit to Clarke at Carlton House on November 13, 1815.*

James Stanier CLARKE (?1765-1834). Album amicorum, 1791-1804 and n.d., comprising approx 47 drawings and watercolours of portraits, figures, landscapes, maritime scenes and other subjects, including (f.53) a watercolour portrait of an elegantly-attired young woman bearing a muff which has been identified as a PORTRAIT OF JANE AUSTEN (perhaps executed by Clarke himself on the occasion of their meeting, 13 November 1815), as well as contributions by George ROMNEY (the temple of Fame atop a mountain, with a 5-line verse, 2 July 1792), John FLAXMAN (unsigned, a wash drawing of a seated young woman and two children), John RUSSELL (‘A telescopic appearance of the southern limbs of the Moon on the 7th of August 1787’, the inscription dated 1796), William HODGES (wash drawing and verse, 1794), an anonymous portrait of the future Queen Caroline, possibly by Clarke himself (as chaplain on the Jupiter on which she sailed to England in March/April 1795), and 12 sketches closely related to Nicholas Pocock’s illustrations for Clarke’s 1804 edition of William Falconer’s The Shipwreck: A Poem, together with 16 silhouettes and an engraving; and manuscript contributions including by William COWPER (‘I were indeed indifferent to fame Grudging two lines t’immortalize my name’, Weston-Underwood, 28 October 1793), William Hayley (1792), Johann Kaspar Lavater (1792), Charlotte Smith (1793), Anna Seward (poem to Clarke, 12 lines) and Thomas Masterman Hardy (‘late Capt of the Mutine’).

Physical description: Approx 47 inscriptions and 12 cut signatures, 109 leaves, oblong 8vo (99 x 157mm), (some leaves weak at inner margin), green morocco gilt, lettered on spine ‘Sacred to Friendship J.S.C.’; remains of marbled-paper slipcase.

Provenance: Richard Wheeler — by descent to the present owner. Perhaps the best-known incident in the life of James Stanier Clarke took place on 13 November 1815, when, as chaplain and librarian to the Prince Regent, he showed Jane Austen around Carlton House: it was he who passed on the proposal that resulted in Emma being dedicated to the Prince, and who famously suggested, in their ensuing correspondence, that Austen devote future efforts either to a portrait of ‘an English Clergyman … of the present day’ or to a ‘Historical Romance illustrative of the History of the august house of Cobourg’. Richard Wheeler, in James Stanier Clarke, His Watercolour Portrait of Jane Austen (1998), makes a forceful case, based in particular on comparison of facial measurements with other Austen portraits and on dress, for the identification of the portrait in the present album with the novelist. The other entries in the album are marked by a close early association of Clarke with the circle of the poet and biographer William Hayley at his estate at Eartham in Sussex; by a tour to Germany and Switzerland in 1792; and by his association with the navy which was to colour his life from 1795 onwards, even after his appointment as domestic chaplain to the future George IV and, from 1805, librarian of Carlton House.

Estimate:  £30,000 – £50,000  ($49,260 – $82,100) 

*****************************

Alas! – once again outside my range! – one wonders what will happen – the 2007  auction of  the Rice portrait, another hoped-for likeness of Austen, did not fare so well – it did not sell…

 [The Rice Portrait ~ Jane Austen?]

Further Reading:

*1.  read more about this visit to Carlton House here: https://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/a-visit-to-carlton-house-november-13-1815/

2. and here at Austenonly:  http://austenonly.com/2009/11/20/jane-austen-and-londona-visit-to-carlton-house/

3.  Chris Viveash.  James Stanier Clarke: Librarian to the Prince Regent, Naval Author, Friend of Jane Austen.  Winchester: Privately Printed / Sarsen Press, 2006.

[Image:  James Stanier Clarke, courtesy of Austenonly]

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont 

A Visit to Carlton House ~ November 13, 1815

Today in Jane Austen’s life:  on November 13, 1815, Jane Austen visited Carlton House, the London home of the Prince Regent, at the invitation of the Prince’s Librarian James Stanier Clarke.  Austen was “asked” to dedicate her next book  – Emma – to the Prince – it is the only dedication in her six novels [her juvenilia was humorously dedicated to her family members – see Peter Sabor’s article in Persuasions 31 (2009) “Brotherly and Sisterly Dedications in Jane Austen’s Juvenilia”]. 

Carlton House - front view

This is Austen’s  letter to Clarke on the 15th:

Wednesday 15 November 1815

Sir,

I must take the liberty of asking You a question – Among the many flattering attentions which I rec’d from you at Carlton House, on Monday last, was the Information of my being at liberty to dedicate any future Work to HRH the P.R. without the necessity of any Solicitation on my part.  Such at least, I beleived to be your words; but as I am very anxious to be quite certain of what was intended, I intreat you to have the goodness to inform me how such Permission is to be understood, & whether it is incumbent on me to shew my sense of the Honour, by inscribing the Work now in the Press, to H.R.H. – I sh’d be equally concerned to appear either presumptuous or Ungrateful.-

I am etc…

[Le Faye, Ltr. 125 (D), p. 296]

Clarke responded immediately:

“It is certainly not incumbent on you to dedicate your work now in the Press to His Royal Highness: but if you wish to do the Regent that honour either now or at some future period, I am happy to send you that permission which need not require any more trouble or solicitation on your Part.”  (Ltr. 125 (A), p.296)

Austen and Clarke engaged in a lively correspondence about this dedication and Clarke’s efforts to have Austen write a book about a clergyman… Austen responded in her most humorous fashion:

“I am fully sensible than an Historical Romance founded on the House of Saxe Cobourg might be more to the purpose of Profit or Popularity, than such pictures of domestic Life in Country Villages as I deal in – but I could no more write a Romance than an Epic Poem. – I could not sit seriously down to write a serious Romance under any other notice than to save my Life, & if it were indispensible for me to keep it up & never relax into laughing at myself or other people, I am sure I should be hung before I finished the first Chapter.- No – I must keep to my own style & go on in my own Way…” (Ltr. 138(D), p. 312).

It is unfortunate that no letter exists in which Jane writes Cassandra her impressions of Carlton House and the Prince’s request – it surely must have been written – how could Austen resist sharing her thoughts about Clarke and Carlton House with her sister! – it is likely one of those that Cassandra felt could not be passed on perhaps for its anti-P.R. sentiments. – In Letter 128 to Cassandra (Le Faye, 300), Austen writes “I did mention the P.R.- in my note to Mr. Murray, it brought me a fine compliment in return…” – which seems to indicate that Austen had written just previously to Cassandra about this request for a dedication.  But all we have is Austen’s very humorous dedication to Emma:

TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE REGENT,

THIS WORK IS, BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS’S PERMISSION,
MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED,
BY HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS’S
DUTIFUL AND OBEDIENT HUMBLE SERVANT,

THE AUTHOR

***********

 
 

Carlton House staircase

Further reading:

[Images from the Wikipedia article on Carlton House]