Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mrs Hurst Dancing!

My Christmas present to myself was a copy of this wonderful book, Mrs Hurst Dancing, a collection of 70 absolutely charming watercolor sketches painted by Diana Sperling between 1812 and 1823. The book has been out of print for some years and I was able to get a very good hardbound copy for very little.

What marvelous pictures! I don't think there is any better collection of Regency daily life than this. Diana was from a well-to-do family, but they certainly didn't pamper themselves. Most of the scenes are of exuberant outdoor adventures involving stubborn donkeys, ankle-deep mud, wayward chickens, and sister Isabella falling off something.

I've spent a bit of time browsing for background information, and found an interesting book excerpt on the career of architect Benjamin Latrobe, who designed the U.S. Capitol building. An American, he was trained in England, and his first independent commission was for Hammerwood Park, Grinstead, Sussex, for Diana Sperling's father John. What an interesting connection! In this ebook, the transaction is described by Rudolph Ackermann.   A totally cool bit of info: the property was owned by Led Zeppelin during the 1970s, but sadly, it was rarely used and left to deteriorate until a recent fortuitous restoration.

Here's my book, with some of my Ackermann ladies celebrating! Why not check out another of my blogs, Ephemeral Adventures, where I record the lives of Dolly and Minerva within the confines of Ackermann's Respository.

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