Notes on the Victorian era
Allen : Dr Matthew Allen (d1845) worked as an apothecary at the asylum in York before setting up his own establishment in Epping Forest.
Apostles : Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833) was the son of the historian Henry Hallam and an aspiring poet in his own right, having studied the poetry of Dante and Petrarch whilst in Italy. Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885) was an active politician, who also wrote on a variety of subjects, including the poet Keats, whose poetry he championed. James Spedding (1808-1881) is chiefly remembered as the editor of the works of Francis Bacon.
Arnold : Thomas Arnold (1795 - 1842) was headmaster at Rugby School from 1828 to 1842. He introduced mathematics, modern history and modern languages to the school syllabus, and aimed to teach, in order of importance, first of all religious and moral principle, secondly gentlemanly conduct, and thirdly intellectual ability.
Athenaeum : The Athenaeum was founded in 1828. From the time Charles Wentworth Dilke was placed in charge in 1830, it prospered, becoming the foremost literary periodical of the Victorian era.
Austrian rule : the Treaties of Paris and Vienna, which marked the end of the Napoleonic wars, led to a redrawing of the political map of Europe, in which the Austrians (Hapsburgs) became the dominant power in Italy. The illiberal and oppressive character of the Austrian rule in Italy made it very unpopular.
Balliol College, Oxford was founded by John Balliol in around 1263, making it the oldest college in Oxford. It originally had sixteen students, each of whom received an allowance of eight pence a week. The college became prosperous in the late 16th century, but by the mid 17th century student numbers dropped, and, to make matters worse, during the civil war the college had to support the King’s troops. The king also ‘borrowed’ the college’s ready cash, and sold all its domestic silver. No repayment of this debt has ever been offered.
Barnes : William Barnes (1801-1886) was the son of a farmer in the Blackmoor Vale in Dorset, who studied at St John’ College, Cambridge. He wrote poems in Dorset dialect.
Blackwoods : Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine was first published in 1817. It was a Tory rival to the Whig Edinburgh Review, and featured imaginative literature, English poetry, essays and prose fiction. It pioneered the presentation of European (particularly German) literature to a British audience.
Bowdoin College was founded in 1794 by Governor Samuel Adams. Nathaniel Hawthorne graduated in the same year as Longfellow.
Bronte : Patrick Brontë was originally from Cork in Ireland. He had himself published a series of books of poetry during the 1810’s.
Browning : Robert Browning (1812-1889) is now best known for his poems The Pied Piper from Hamelin and Home Thoughts from Abroad. He eloped with Elizabeth Barrett, who was also a poet, to Italy in 1846.
Carbonari : The Carbonari originated in the late 18th century in either Italy or France. They sought to bring about either a republic or a constitutional monarchy, and to defend the rights of the people against all forms of absolutism. They did not exclude the use of arms and assassination to achieve their ends.
Carlyle : Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was the son of a Scottish stonemason and small farmer, who became one of the most influential historians and essayists of the 19th century.
Carnegie : Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) emigrated from Scotland to the USA in 1848, and got employment with the Pennysylvania Railway company. He built up a considerable fortune by a combination of work and shrewd investment.
Carte : Richard D’Oyley Carte was a promoter, and manager of the Savoy Theatre in London.
Christ Church, Oxford was founded by Henry VIII in 1546. Dodgson’s father had attended this college.
Clergy Daughters : The Clergy Daughters School was founded in 1823 by the Reverend Carus-Wilson. It was depicted with loathing by Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre.
Clough : Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) became head boy at Rugby, and went on to study at Balliol, where he disappointed by achieving only a second class degree. On hearing the result, he walked back to Rugby (some 50 miles) to tell Dr Arnold ‘I have failed’. He went through several crises of conscience about his Christian faith, resigning his fellowship at Oriel College when he realised that he could not sign the 39 articles of the Church of England in good faith. He became principal at University Hall, London and subsequently worked in the Education Office.
Collinson : James Collinson (1825-1881) was a lesser known member of the PRB, nicknamed the ‘dormouse’. On his conversion to Catholicism he entered a Jesuit college, but abandoned training for the priesthood in 1855, and in 1858 married Eliza Wheeler.
Cornhill Magazine : had a circulation of some 50,000. It was first edited by Thackeray, then G.H.Lewes, partner of George Eliot. It had published such authors as Thackeray, Eliot, Trollope, Wilkie Collins and Mrs Gaskell.
Craigie House was constructed for the Royalist John Vassal in 1759. George Washington used it as his headquarters during the American War of Independence.
Currer Bell : Charlotte Ellis Bell : Emily Acton Bell : Anne
Dame school : a school in which the rudiments of reading and writing were taught by a woman in her own home.
Dante (1263-1321) was an Italian poet. His best known work is the Divine Comedy, a spiritual journey written in the form of an imagined visit to hell, purgatory and paradise.
Demon : Lear’s epilepsy began when he was about seven. His seizures were 'petit-mal' and resulted in short black-outs, or absences. His sister Harriet had taught him to control his seizures with a combination of relaxation and will-power. When he felt the aura which preceded an attack, Lear would retire, usually to another room, where he would lie down and try to stay calm. As the years went by his seizures became more severe, but less frequent. He kept diaries in which he placed an 'X' next to the dates he had seizures, and a score of between 1 to 10 to mark the severity.
Dickens : Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was a writer and novelist, who addressed many social issues in his novels, particularly concerning the urban poor of London.
Edinburgh Review : The Edinburgh Review was a quarterly magazine founded in 1802. It tended to favour the Whigs in politics, and published critical reviews of the poetry of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Byron. It ceased publication in 1929.
Epping Forest : is the largest open space in the London area, measuring 4x19km, two thirds of which is wooded.
Eton College was founded near Windsor in 1440 by Henry VI. A year later he founded King’s College Cambridge, which was to be supplied with scholars from Eton. He lavished income from lands on the school, most of which was promptly taken away when he was deposed in 1461.
Examiner : The Examiner was a weekly periodical which combined articles on politics, literature, drama and the plastic arts. It was presented as a collection of essays rather than as journalism.
Freemason : during the late 18th century, the freemasons were responsible for spreading the ideals of the Enlightenment.
Germ : The Germ was first published on 1 January 1850. Four issues appeared which were noteworthy mainly for 11 poems by Dante Gabriel and 7 by Christina Rossetti.
Gladstone : William Gladstone (1809-1898) was leader of the Liberal Party from 1867, and Prime Minister on four occasions. His ministries introduced a series of social and political reforms.
Godwin : William Godwin (1756-1836) was first a dissenting minister, then an atheist and a philosopher with anarchist ideas. He married Mary Wollstoncraft, who died giving birth to their daughter, the Mary who was to become Shelley’s second wife.
Gordon : George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) had achieved considerable success as a poet before first meeting with Shelley. He had left England after a scandal involving his wife, Annabella Millbanke, and his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. He never returned to England, though he kept the presses busy with a series of best selling long poems.
Gould : John Gould (1804-1881) learned taxidermy at Windsor Castle, where his father was foreman of gardeners. In 1827 he became taxidermist to the Zoological Society. His 5 volumes of The Birds of Europe appeared between 1832 and 1837.
Guinea : £1.1s.0d (£1.05). Tradesmen were paid in pounds, but gentlemen in guineas. It was a tradition for a barrister to be paid in guineas, but to keep only the pounds, giving the shillings to his clerk. The guinea was originally a gold coin worth £1.1s.0d. which was first coined for the African trade.
Hallam : Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-1833) was the son of the historian Henry Hallam and an aspiring poet in his own right, having studied the poetry of Dante and Petrarch whilst in Italy.
Harrow School was founded in 1572 by a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I to John Lyon, a local farmer. It was one of the nine ‘Clarendon’ schools specifically named in the Public Schools Act of 1868.
Harvard College was established in 1636 by a vote of the Great and General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard of Charlestown, a young minister who, on his death in 1638, left his library and half of his estate to the college.
Heger : Pensionnat Heger, Brussels: of Charlotte's four novels, the action of two, Villette and The Professor, takes place in Brussels.
Horne : Richard Henry (later Hengist) Horne (1802-1884) was a poet, critic and editor, who contributed to Dickens’ Daily News and Household Words.
Hughes : Arthur Hughes (1832-1915) was a member of the Pre Raphaelite brotherhood, and produced highly detailed oil paintings on a variety of literary and genre subjects. He also illustrated Tom Browne’s Schooldays, George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin and William Allingham’s The Music Master.
Hunt 2 : Holman Hunt (1827-1910) was the son of a warehouseman, who gained admission to the Royal Academy Schools at his third attempt. He developed a painstaking style, which he characterised as an 'uncompromising assertion of the principles of truth in preference to beauty'33. One contemporary commentator wrote : ‘We expected a picture. What we found was a confused but earnest and honourable achievement in literature, expressed in the most strenuous terms, with a patience, a laboriousness, a determination of symbolical intention worthy of all respect.’34 He was one of the painters who formed the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood in 1849.
Hunt : Leigh Hunt (1784-1859) set up the Examiner with his brother John in 1808. The publication gave vociferous support to the radical faction, and promoted poets such as Shelley, Keats and Byron. In 1812 the Hunts were sentenced to 2 years in prison and fined £500 for publishing an article criticising the Prince Regent. Hunt continued to edit the periodical from prison. Of Keats he wrote ‘The character of his genius is that of energy and voluptuousness, each able at will to take leave of the other, and possessing in their union, a high feeling of humanity not common in the best authors...’16
Keats : John Keats (1795-1821) was one of the foremost Romantic poets of the early 19th century. He and Shelley met during 1817, but he declined an invitation to stay with Shelley at Marlow. He was already dying of consumption when he sailed for Italy in 1820. He died a few months after arriving in Rome, and was buried in the English cemetery.
Kings College was established by George IV in 1829, next to Somerset House on land granted in perpetuity by the Crown.
Liddon : Henry Parry Liddon (1829-1890) was the son of a naval captain. He was educated at King’s College School in London and Christ Church. He became canon of St Paul’s and established a reputation as an orator in the Church of England.
Linnaean : The Linnaean Society was formed in 1788. It is the oldest organisation in the world specifically devoted to the study and promotion of natural history. It was named after the Swedish doctor Carl von Linne (better known by his Latin name Linnaeus), who proposed the now universally accepted binomial classification of plants (genus and species). After his death, his library, plants and animals were purchased by James Edward Smith, who used this collection to form the basis for the Linnaean Society. Charles Darwin’s views on evolution were first expounded publicly at a meeting of the Society in 1858.
Lushington : Franklin Lushington was a young barrister and brother of the Government Secretary in Malta. Lear developed a strong attachment for him when he visited Malta in 1848. His passion was not reciprocated, though they made a tour of Southern Greece together.
Macmillan was founded in 1843 by two Scottish brothers, Daniel and Alexander Macmillan. The company began by publishing Charles Kingsley (1855), Thomas Hughes (1859), Christina Rossetti (1862), Matthew Arnold (1865), Lewis Carroll (1865), Alfred Lord Tennyson (1884), Thomas Hardy (1886) and Rudyard Kipling (1890).
Millais : John Everett Millais(1829-1896) entered the Royal Academy at the age of 11, and exhibited precociously from the age of 17. He married the critic Ruskin’s wife, after Ruskin’s marriage had been annulled on the grounds of non-consummation.
Milman : Henry Milman (1791-1868) was professor of poetry at Oxford from 1821-1831, and dean of St Paul’s. He wrote a number of dramas, some of which were successfully produced, but is mainly remembered for his historical works, which included a History of the Jews and The History of Latin Christianity.
Milnes : Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885) was an active politician, who also wrote on a variety of subjects, including the poet Keats, whose poetry he championed.
Morning Post : The Morning Post, founded in 1772, was bought by Daniel Stuart in 1795, when its circulation was only 350 copies daily. By employing writers such as Coleridge, Charles Lamb, William Wordsworth and Robert Southey, he increased the circulation to 4000 by 1802, more than twice that of any other daily newspaper. It was amalgamated with the Daily Telegraph in 1937.
Moxon : Edward Moxon (1801-1858) worked for the publisher Longman before setting up in business on his own account in 1830. He published illustrated editions of many of the major poets and also two volumes of his own sonnets in 1826 and 1837.
Northbrook : Lord Northbrook was Viceroy of India from 1872-6.
Oriel College was founded by Edward II in 1326.
Peel : Robert Peel (1788-1850) was Prime Minister from 1834-5 and again from 1841-6.
Petty-Fitzmaurice : Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, Lord Lansdowne (1780-1863), was a Liberal peer. Lansdowne House in Berkeley Square had a noted picture gallery and a large collection of Roman Sculpture.
Raphael, Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520) was an Italian painter and architect, and a leading figure in the High Renaissance.
Roe Head School was housed in a Georgian Manor House built by the Marriott family in 1740. It became a boarding school for girls in 1830.
Rossetti : Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) was educated at King’s College, then Cary’s Academy, which trained students for the Royal Academy, then the Royal Academy. He left after a year, however, and began training under the painter Ford Madox Brown. He married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal, a milliner’s assistant who had been his model, in 1860. She died in 1862, having taken an overdose of morphia. He developed strong sexual and romantic attachments to Fanny Cornforth, his housekeeper and mistress, and to Jane Morris, wife of the designer and social reformer William.
Rugby School : Thomas Arnold was headmaster at Rugby School from 1828 to 1842, introducing mathematics, modern history and modern languages to the syllabus and raising the academic standards generally. His reforms were influential and adopted by other public schools. It was founded as a Free Grammar School in 1567 in accordance with instructions attached to the will of Lawrence Sheriff, grocer to Queen Elizabeth I, who had been born in Rugby. He left, as an endowment, the parsonage at Brownsover and eight acres of a field known as Conduit Close in Middlesex, which yielded a rent of £23. Today that plot of land lies in London where Great Ormond Street crosses Lamb’s Conduit Street, and produces an income of £1.3M a year.
Ruskin : John Ruskin (1819-1900) championed J M W Turner, the Pre Raphaelites and Gothic architecture, which he saw as a religious expression of mediaeval piety
St Pauls : St Paul’s Cathedral was rebuilt between 1675 and 1711 to designs by Christopher Wren, in a style which is the closest England got to the Baroque. His design replaced the mediaeval cathedral, which had been largely destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666.
Sass : Sass’s School of Art : A guidebook from the 1820’s tells us that ‘The excellence of its design, the talent of its conductor, and the high opinion entertained of it by our most eminent painters, justly entitle it to a particular notice amongst the institutions connected with the arts... this institution may be considered the best in the kingdom as a probationary school for the Royal Academy, the Elgin Marbles, and the British Institution.’18 Students included Rossetti, Frith, Millais and Egg.Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was herself a skilled water-colourist, and took lessons with several eminent painters of the time.
Shelley : Mary Shelley (1797 - 1851) was the daughter of the political radical William Godwin and Mary Wollstoncraft and the wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley. She is chiefly remembered as the author of Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (1818).
Shelley 2 : Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 - 1822) was one of the Romantic poets and a political radical. He was drowned off the coast of Italy and his remains cremated on the beach by his friends, including Lord Byron. His ashes were buried in the English cemetery just outside the walls of Rome.
Sion College was founded in 1623 by the Revd Dr Thomas White for the general improvement of the London clergy, who had free access to its extensive library.
Sophocles (496-406BC) was a Greek tragedian who wrote some 120 plays, 7 of which survive. His plays were used as a model of tragic action by Aristotle in developing his theories on drama.
Southey : Robert Southey (1774-1843) was poet laureate from 1813 to 1843, when he was succeeded by William Wordsworth. He is possibly best known today for his story Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
SPCK : The SPCK was founded in 1698. The primary concern of the Society's founders was to ‘counteract the growth of vice and immorality’, the cause of which they believed to be ‘gross ignorance of the principles of the Christian religion’35. They sought to address the situation by encouraging education, and by producing and distributing leaflets. Through the work of the SPCK they hoped to build a more learned clergy, and to find ways of communicating the basic principles of the Christian faith to a wider audience, both in Britain and overseas.
Spedding : James Spedding (1808-1881) is chiefly remembered as the editor of the works of Francis Bacon.
Stanley : Lord Stanley (1799-1869) was known before 1834 as Edward Smith Stanley, from 1834 to 1851 as Lord Stanley and after that, on the death of his father, as the 14th Earl of Derby. He had a passion for natural history and created a menagerie containing over 300 species of bird at his ancestral home, Knowsley Park in Lancashire.
Stephen : Leslie Stephen (1832-1904) was editor of the Cornhill Magazine from 1871 to 1882.
Swinburne : Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909) was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He established his reputation as a poet with the drama Atalanta in Calydon. His Poems and Ballads attracted censure for their anti Christian and explicitly sexual content.
Symonds : John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) wrote biographies of Shelley, Sir Philip Sidney, Michelangelo and Ben Jonson. Though he fathered 4 daughters, he was predominantly homosexual, and wrote the first history of Greek pederasty in 1873. He also publicised the suppression of the facts of Michelangelo’s homosexuality and translated his sonnets. He was given the nickname ‘Soddington’ Symonds by Algernon Swinburne.
Taylor & Hessey were publishers of the London Magazine, set up in 1820 by John Scott as a rival to the Gentleman’s Magazine. Scott championed the work of young writers like Hazlitt, Wordsworth, Carlyle and Lamb. In 1821 he accused Blackwoods Magazine of libel, and a representative of that magazine challenged him to a duel. He died as a result of his injuries. Scott’s policies were continued by John Taylor.
Tenniel : Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) was a staff cartoonist with Punch Magazine from 1850.
Tennyson : Charles Tennyson (1784-1861): On the death of his father in 1835 Charles Tennyson added ‘d'Eyncourt’ to his surname by Royal Licence, claiming descent from the Earls of d’Aincourt and Edward III. He built the neo Gothic Bayon’s Manor between 1836 and 1842, complete with drawbridge and portcullis.
Tennyson 2 : Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was Poet Laureate from 1850.
Tinsleys Magazine was published between 1867 and 1892.
Trinity College : Cambridge is the largest college in Cambridge. It was founded in 1546 by Henry VIII, combining Michaelhouse and King’s Hall. Most of its endowments came from land confiscated from monasteries.
Wellesley : Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) served as commander of the British Forces in Spain, driving the French back over the Pyrenees, and subsequently helping to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. He was Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830 and again in 1834.
Whig was a nickname for the party in England which championed both religious dissent and social and political reform. The name originated as a derogatory reference to a group of Scottish Covenanters around 1679. The Whig faction became the Liberal Party in the mid nineteenth century.
Wilson : John Wilson (alias Christopher North) (1785-1854) was a reviewer and essayist, who also wrote poetry and sentimental fiction. In partnership with John Lockhart he took over the editorship of Blackwood’s Magazine in 1817. Their first issue included what they claimed was a ‘Translation from an ancient Chaldee Manuscript, supposed to have been written by Daniel’39, based on a scroll found in the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale. In fact it was a satirical attack on the Whigs, written in Old Testament style by Wilson, Lockhart and James Hogg. It caused a scandal, and he left Edinburgh for a while, but he had achieved his object, the scandal having made him famous.
Wordsworth : William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an early enthusiast for the French revolution, and pioneered a more natural approach to poetry through the use of ‘ordinary’, or sometimes vernacular, language.
Wordsworth 2 :Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) was William’s sister and companion. She kept a long running journal.
Zoological : The Zoological Society of London was founded in 1826.
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