Weekly Wrap-Up No. 5!

I avoided using the Internet this weekend and was able to get some substantial work done, so I apologise for the tardiness of this post. My husband and I went up to visit his parents in Northampton on Saturday and we cooked them a homemade Indian curry.

Earlier in the week, I met up with my friend, Pitt historian Jacqui Reiter, for two research visits to Windsor Castle and the castle’s amazing St. George’s Chapel. The wreath laid by the Royal Stuart Society was still on display on a stool in front of Charles I’s ledger stone.

Next, I’ve just received another fabulous guest post for you all to enjoy this week. I got a few new (well, secondhand) history books in the post this week, including this (supported by a Vanna White-style Blackie the Cat):

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100 Facts About the Stuarts is now at 54/100 facts, so that’s progressing quite nicely. I’ll have to actually write more about each fact though, so I’m nowhere near done but at least I’m gathering the facts in a timely manner.

My novella for the Steel and Lace Anthology is coming on even better than I thought.

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Also, I’m still trucking with the second Amberley history book and my Anthea: Confessions of a Restoration Actress.

Highlights:

Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, Italian Late Baroque composer, died on this day 1 February 1743 (b. 1657).

 

This week we celebrated this birth of dear Nell Gwynn.

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I got in trouble for posting the image on the left on a Facebook history page because it was a nude. Sorry, but Nell is usually depicted in her portraits with at least one of her nipples on display. It was subsequently deleted, but not on my page because there was a lot of nudity in 17th-century paintings and if that’s offensive, then I don’t know what to say!

Biagio Marini, Italian #Baroque composer, was born on the 5 February 1594.

On the 6th of February…

Charles II, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, died after a rather hideous time at the hands of his physicians…

From my book, “His Last Mistress: “After he had suffered the stroke, King Charles II was subjected to ‘cures’ from his physicians – which instead of helping the ailing monarch, exacerbated his condition. They bled him, blistered his flesh, administered emetics and enemas, administered potentially toxic cordials and herbs – all of which made his last four days on Earth a complete misery. The physicians had, in effect, finished him off.”

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This week:

I’ll be heading on over to the London Metropolitan Archives this week. I’m also searching for the letters between Frances Apsley and Queen Mary II, which National Archives have stated are at the British Library and the British Library doesn’t even have it in their database. And some people think history is boring! Ha! This is like detective work, and I love it.

I hope you all have a great week!

<3, A x

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Hear ye! 6 thoughts — so far — on “Weekly Wrap-Up No. 5!”:

  1. Sarah Johnson

    I’d love to hear the process you go through to conduct a search like this. I have visions of piles of old parchment documents stacked up on pallets in a locked room and a naked lightbulb swinging overhead. Please say it isn’t so …

    Reply
    1. Andrea Zuvich Post author

      Rest assured, it’s not quite like that – but I do love the mental picture you’ve given me! There are usually fluorescent lights in the Nat’l Archives, but the lighting is somewhat dimmer in the British Library. I have yet to examine documents under a swinging lightbulb – but who knows? I definitely haven’t visited all the research facilities I need to yet! 😛

      Reply
  2. Dr Peter Le Fevre

    Andrea
    Frances Apsley’s letters are part of British Library Bathurst Loan 57 unless the Department of Manuscripts have incorporated them into the main Additional Manuscripts series. They did that with the Portland Loan Series(Robert Harley Earl of Oxford) some years ago.

    There is an article which came out in 2008 by Dr Molly McCain ‘Love, Friendship and Power: Queen Mary’s Letters to Frances Apsley,

    Reply
    1. Andrea Zuvich Post author

      Thank you, Dr Le Fevre! I have been looking for MS Loan 57 at the BL, but as I kept finding nothing, it must be as you have said. I will contact the Department of Manuscripts and find out where they are. Yes, I enjoyed reading that article by Dr McCain. I just have some questions that can only be answered by looking at the original documents for myself. Thanks again!

      Reply
  3. Beth

    A number of Mary’s letters to Frances Apsley were printed in Vol. 214 of the Quarterly Review (January – April 1911). The full text is available in Google Books, although it might take some digging to find it.

    The McClain article makes some interesting points about the relationship between friendship and patronage in seventeenth-century courts, but it has some significant flaws – not least a tendency to selective quotation.

    For example, McClain includes a lengthy quote from an August 1678 letter from Mary to Frances, in which she announces her pregnancy by saying that she has “played the whore a little” and is expecting a “bastard.” There is speculation in the article about what such language indicates regarding Mary’s relationship with her “husband” Frances. What is not mentioned is that Mary immediately goes on to say that “I have spoke as you may think in jest all this while.” The fact that Mary herself referred to it as a joke would seem to be significant for an analysis of this letter’s meaning, but that would not fit with McClain’s interpretation so this part of the letter is ignored. Also omitted is any discussion of the beginning of the letter, where Mary hopes that letting Frances in on the secret of her pregnancy will make amends for the fact that she has not written to Frances in months.

    There is also no mention in the article of Mary’s letter to Frances of March 1678, in which she reacts to William’s departure for the army by writing, “I find till this time I never knew sorrow for what can be more cruel in the world than parting with what one loves.” This is one of the best known of the letters; one that is quoted in almost every biography of Mary. However, acknowledgement that Mary’s feelings for her “husband” Frances were not of a nature to hinder her from forming a passionate attachment to her actual husband within weeks of their marriage would not be compatible with McClain’s portrayal of Mary’s relationships with Frances and William, so this letter is completely disregarded.

    In evaluating the letters between Mary and Frances, historians often seem to forget how silly and gushing young girls can be. There are a lot of things I wrote as a teenager that I would be horrified to have anyone see now. Unfortunately, so little personal information about Mary has survived that the letters to Frances tend to receive attention that is out of all proportion to their significance within the entirety of Mary’s life.

    Reply
    1. Andrea Zuvich Post author

      Dear Beth, thank you for your excellent comments!

      The McClain article makes some interesting points about the relationship between friendship and patronage in seventeenth-century courts, but it has some significant flaws – not least a tendency to selective quotation.

      This selective quoting which you referred to is indeed a source of irritation to me. I am often at odds with modern historians, especially with those who try to pigeonhole Mary, William, and even Anne, with modern sexual labels (in order sometimes to promote their own agenda perhaps?).

      In evaluating the letters between Mary and Frances, historians often seem to forget how silly and gushing young girls can be. There are a lot of things I wrote as a teenager that I would be horrified to have anyone see now. Unfortunately, so little personal information about Mary has survived that the letters to Frances tend to receive attention that is out of all proportion to their significance within the entirety of Mary’s life.

      Absolutely – I couldn’t agree more. I, too, wrote some utterly absurd, gushing things when I was in my early teens. Mary’s writing naturally matured as she grew older. I also wish historians would stop making the early letters between the two girls of such importance. I role-played at that age (which is similar to what children do with Barbies and action figures) and I wouldn’t appreciate anyone analysing that to be anything more than what it was.

      I’ve read all of the letters I have been able to find reproduced elsewhere, (along with Mary’s letters to William, etc) but there’s always something substantial to be learned with the original documents. I hope to be able to see them sometime within the next fortnight or so. Thanks again for your thoughts! 🙂

      Reply

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