[ Susan Euphemia, Duchess of Hamilton, daughter of William Beckford of Fonthill. ] Long Autograph Letter Signed ('S E H & B') to 'dearest dear Lolotte' (Charlotte Stuart), regarding the misfortunes of Madame Regnaudin of the Royal Academy of Music.

Susan Euphemia Douglas-Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton (1786-1859), wife of Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton, and daughter of William Beckford of Fonthill [ Royal Academy of Music ]
Publication details: 
'Hamilton Palace [ Lanarkshire, Scotland ] | July 9th: [ between 1822 and 1825 ]'.
SKU: 19577

Susan Euphemia Beckford, daughter of William Beckford of Fonthill, had married the 10th Duke of Hamilton in 1810. The recipient Charlotte Stuart (d.1867) was the daughter of Margaret, Lady Pulteney, by her first husband Andrew Stuart of Torrance. In 1830 she married Robert Harington, son of Sir John Edward Harington of Ridlington, 8th Baronet. The present item is two closely written pages, 4to. On bifolium of wove paper with watermark 'C WILMOT | 1822'. In good condition, lightly aged. Closely and neatly written over 63 lines. An excellent letter dealing with an unusual topic: the unsympathetic treatment of a professional woman at work in Regency London. The subject is Brigitte Bavosi (1795-1825), singing 'Professor' at the Royal Academy of Music, wife of August Regnaudin, London wine merchant. There are several references to Madame Regnaudin in Cazalet's 'History of the Royal Academy of Music' (1854). On p.78 she is listed among the 'Professors', and there is the following comment in an undated letter of Sir John Murray to Lord Burghersh (p.51): 'Under Madame Regnaudin the improvement in singing is truly surprising. She is to take charge of the new scholars, and to give us eight hours a week more.' The Duchess begins her letter: 'I shall not take the will for the deed dearest dear Lolotte, & so on with Prince Fortunatus's Cap – let it inspire the necessary arrangem[en]ts for your Journey to Scotland & pray come to me as soon as you can conveniently – If it sd suit you better to defer the wished for visit till the Autumn September or October for instance, I submit (however reluctantly) to you decision but come you must dearest & sweetest – The Duke is almost as anxious to have you as I am & as to the Children they think of little else – I have had a long confidential Letter from Monsieur Regnaudin. He is quite alarmed at his wife's extreme depression I see, & anxious that she sd come here at the same time he does not know what to do about the Academy – Her presence if she continues to hold her place there will be required on the 2d. of August. Hearing there might be a want of delicacy in asking for a further leave of absence – I can enter into her feelings, & I must say they raise him in my opinion – but I think after such an illness as Madame R. the Committee (nominally Gentlemen) should propose a few weeks relaxation to the interesting Invalid, & the idea of treating her exactly as they wd. The most ordinary person excites my warmest indignation – I really despair of seeing her equal to the task of thro' wt. what she has begun, & were I Monsr. R. I wd. insist upon her withdrawing her name from the Establishment – It is a delicate subject for other people to decide upon, & I am aware of the importance to him poor man of having something to reckon upon at the same time her health is the first thing to be consider'd, & she meets wt: such perpetual disappointments not only on the subject of her Salary but in the want of due respect to her opinion, that the sooner she gets out of the crape the better according to my ideas.' In the second half of the letter she discusses topics including the possibility of 'Amelia […] teaching Suzie Singing & Italian', 'Douglas & Suzie' being 'mad about riding', and instructions to Charlotte Stuart to purchase from 'Robarts in Chandos St No. 1' of 'a nice soft black Velvet Gown for me', and 'a Spencer for me & one for Didi'. Note: "[William Beckford's] love of music was inherited by his second daughter, Susan Euphemia, to whom in 1828 he gave this Pleyel piano, now in the Hamilton Collection at Lennoxlove. Her musical interests were well known. Probably during a visit to Italy in 1821, she was made an honorary member of the Philharmonic Academy. The Lennoxlove Archives still include the Latin diploma she received, the programme, in Italian, for a concert she presumably attended and a document with a paper seal entitled 'C U C Curiante micenio Custode Generale d?Arcadia, all Melita ed Erudita Signora Susanna Eufemia, duchessa D'Hamilton e Brandon, Acclamazione.' In about 1835 Willes Maddox painted her sitting at a piano." From the papers of the Harington baronets of Ridlington.