Friday, July 6, 2012

Mrs. Sheridan's Fete June 1806

The above column appeared in La Belle Assemblee published June 1, 1806. What is not stated, and became known only later in Sheridan's memoirs, was that many of the servants at the fete were actually bailiffs and their assistants in livery obtained from the costume department of Sheridan's Drury Lane Theatre!

Richard Brinsley Sheridan, playwright, politician, and theatre-owner was at the time Treasurer of the Navy, and the house in Somerset-place was a perk of the position. Frequently in financial straits, Sheridan held his party despite the demands of his creditors. He held the post of Treasurer of the Navy for only one year and his memoirs state
" which office, he no otherwise distinguished himself than by giving a grand fete at Somerset House..."
Mrs. Sheridan, the hostess, was his second wife; a daughter of the Dean of Winchester, the fete must have taxed her powers of organization and her capacity for hospitality.

The fete might have looked like this "City Ball at the Mansion House" by Cruickshank
or this below, a "Squeeze at Carlton House"

It was reported that "nothing could surpass the gaiety and splendour of the entertainment, which went off as well as was anticipated." I know that I would love to have attended, or at least be a fly upon the wall!

'Til next time,


1 comment:

Anne Gallagher said...

It sounds like a great time. Wish I could have been there as well...