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Thursday, 29 May 2014

'I, Hogarth' by Michael Dean - a review

Front cover of 'I, Hogarth' by Michael Dean

‘A work of fiction’

I, Hogarth is a very readable book which tells the story of William Hogarth, the famous Georgian painter and engraver. It vividly describes 18th century London and gives a background to many of the scenes that Hogarth represented in his work. Described as a ‘raucous novel of a raucous age’, in places I found it a little too coarse for my taste. It was easier to read than a traditional biography and gave me a real taste of what Hogarth was like. But at the end I had to ask, was it the right flavour?

The author’s note explains that I, Hogarth “is a work of fiction, so some real events have been bent to the demands of the narrative: others omitted altogether, others invented.” And therein lies my problem. I do not know which parts of what I have read were true, and which were not.

What was Hogarth really like?

David Garrick and his wife, Eva-Maria Veigel by William Hogarth (1757-64)
David Garrick and his wife, Eva-Maria Veigel
by William Hogarth (1757-64)
I am not an expert on William Hogarth. I know that he was a painter in the early Georgian period and that he produced several series of engravings on moral themes. I have seen some of his original work – his colourful portrait of David and Maria Garrick at The First Georgians exhibition and the original paintings of A Rake’s Progress in the Picture Room of Sir John Soane’s Museum. And of course, I have seen many of his prints, both on and offline.

Of the man I knew little. Dean depicts Hogarth as a man who started low and, through his own genius, built a successful career and married the daughter of the painter Sir James Thornhill. That much is history. But did Hogarth really frequent bawdy houses with such regularity and catch the pox? Did the man who painted pictures warning against the perilous life of the rake and the harlot have so few morals himself?

Fact or fiction?

The problem with a work of fiction based on fact is that it is impossible to separate the truth from the fiction. For example, I knew that the paintings of A Rake’s Progress had not gone up in flames, as it says in Dean’s book, as I had seen the originals. But what of A Harlot’s Progress? Did they burn as Dean says or was that made up too? A little research showed me that both sets of paintings really had been owned by William Beckford, and that A Harlot’s Progress had indeed been destroyed by a fire at Beckford’s home at Fonthill Splendens in Wiltshire in 1755. 

A Harlot's Progress, Plate 1 by William Hogarth (1732)
© British Museum
I have to conclude that though this was, for the most part, an entertaining read, I find the genre of a fictional account of a historical person’s life confusing and dissatisfying. As a historian, I want to know fact. I don’t mind that fact being acted out for me with scenes that could have been true, but to change the truth, without any indication of what has been altered in the author’s note, leaves me with too many unanswered questions.

I, Hogarth is available on Amazon.

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet (1758-1838)

Sir Richard Colt Hoare - a painting at Stourhead
Sir Richard Colt Hoare - a painting at Stourhead
Profile

Sir Richard Colt Hoare (9 December 1758 – 19 May 1838) was an antiquarian and historian and the owner of the Stourhead estate in Wiltshire.

Family background

Richard Colt Hoare was born in Barnes, Surrey, on 9 December 1758, the eldest son of Sir Richard Hoare, 1st Baronet, who had married his first cousin, Anne Hoare, the younger daughter of Henry Hoare of Stourhead, senior partner of Hoare’s Bank. Richard’s mother died when he was six months old and his father remarried. He had six children by his second wife, Frances Acland, and Richard grew up with his half-siblings in Surrey.

Hoare's Bank

Richard pursued his classical studies with a tutor whilst training for a role in the family business, Hoare’s Bank. His grandfather, known as ‘Henry the Magnificent’, gave him a house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and an allowance of £2000 a year when he came of age.

Marriage

On 18 August 1783, Richard married Hester Lyttelton, daughter of William Lyttelton of Hagley, 1st Baron Lyttelton. They had one son, Henry, on 17 September 1784, but tragically, Hester died the following year, on 22 August 1785.

Grand Tour

Shortly after the death of his wife, Richard inherited Stourhead from his grandfather, Henry Hoare, on the condition that he left the bank. Henry made this stipulation to ensure the survival of the Stourhead estate in the event that the bank should fail in the future.
 
Stourhead
Stourhead
Deprived of both wife and career, Richard went on a Grand Tour, and for the next six years, he travelled extensively abroad, keeping detailed diaries. These were later published in Recollections abroad: journals of tours on the continent, 1785-1791 (1815-18). He subsequently toured throughout Britain and Ireland, recording his travels with the same meticulous detail.

Antiquarian
 
Richard was very interested in the history and archaeology of Wiltshire and amassed a huge collection of books and drawings. He was the author of The Ancient History of South Wiltshire (1812, 1819) and wrote the majority of The History of Modern Wiltshire (1822-44).

He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and admitted to the Society of Dilettanti in 1792. In 1825, he gave his collection of Italian topographical and historical works to the British Museum.

Sportsman
 
Richard was a keen sportsman and bought a fishing lodge in Bala in Gwynedd, Wales, in 1796. He also had a house in St James’ Square, London.

Stourhead

The Temple of Apollo in the gardens at Stourhead
The Temple of Apollo in the gardens at Stourhead
Richard developed the gardens at Stourhead, planting trees and collecting exotic plants, leading to his election as a member of the Linnean Society in 1812.

Finding that the house at Stourhead did not have enough room for his collections, in 1800, he added two wings, one for the Library to house his books and the other the Picture Gallery to display his paintings.(1)

Richard Colt Hoare in his library at Stourhead
Richard Colt Hoare in his Library at Stourhead
Patron of the arts

Chippendale chairs in the Picture Room, Stourhead
Chippendale chairs in the Picture Room, Stourhead
Between 1798 and 1820, Richard employed Thomas Chippendale the Younger to make furnishings for Stourhead to the value of around £3,500. Chippendale’s work included furniture for Richard’s two new rooms, some pieces in the Egyptian style and others in an advanced Grecian taste.

Sarcophagus planter by Chippendale in the Picture Room, Stourhead
Sarcophagus planter by Chippendale in the Picture Room, Stourhead
Richard commissioned works from the water-colourist Francis Nicholson, the portrait artist Samuel Woodforde and JMW Turner.

An unsatisfactory son

The relationship between Richard and his son Henry was very strained. Henry was devoted to a life of pleasure and his father was left to settle his debts. Henry died in 1836 leaving one daughter, Ann.

Illness and death

Richard suffered from gout and rheumatism and became increasingly deaf. He lived mainly at Stourhead with occasional visits to Bath. He died on 19 May 1838 at Stourhead and was buried at St Peter’s, Stourton. There is a marble statue to his memory in Salisbury Cathedral.

Salisbury Cathedral
Salisbury Cathedral
Note
(1) These were the only rooms to escape the fire which devastated the house at Stourhead in 1902.

Sources used include:
Hutchings, Victoria, Hoare, Henry (1705-1785) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009; accessed 15 May 2014)
Hutchings, Victoria, Hoare, Sir Richard Colt (1758-1838) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009; accessed 15 May 2014)
Lomax, James, Chippendale, Thomas (bap 1718, d1779) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009, accessed 22 May 2014)

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato

Blog update (May 2014)

Whilst researching a post on some paintings at Stourhead for my newsletter, I discovered that the painting which I had previously labelled as Hester Lyttelton, Sir Richard Colt Hoare's wife, was in fact of NOT of her at all! Someone had previously suggested that the painting was not of Hester, but as it was inscribed as such, I thought I was on safe ground. But no! According to the detailed description of this painting in the National Trust Collections, it was probably of Mrs John O'Neill (someone that I had never heard of before!)

Probably Mrs John O'Neill - a painting at Stourhead
Probably Mrs John O'Neill - a painting at Stourhead  

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Stourhead – a Regency History guide

The Palladian mansion at Stourhead
The Palladian mansion at Stourhead
Where is it?

Stourhead is a Palladian mansion with beautifully landscaped gardens situated near Mere in Wiltshire.

History

The Stourton estate was bought by the banker, Henry Hoare, in 1717. He replaced the existing manor house with a Palladian mansion and christened it Stourhead. His son, also called Henry Hoare, was responsible for landscaping the gardens.

The Stone Bridge, Stourhead
The Stone Bridge, Stourhead
In 1902, the central section of the house was completely gutted by fire and Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare oversaw its restoration. In 1946, after his only son was killed in the war, Sir Henry gave Stourhead to the National Trust in order to keep the estate intact.

Georgian connections

Henry Hoare I (1677-1725)

Henry Hoare was a partner in Hoare’s Bank, which his father, Sir Richard Hoare, had founded in 1672. He bought Stourton manor in 1717 and replaced the existing building with a Palladian mansion designed by Colen Campbell which he renamed Stourhead.

The front of the Palladian mansion at Stourhead
The front of the Palladian mansion at Stourhead
Henry married his cousin Jane and had 11 children. His two surviving sons, Henry and Richard, succeeded him in the bank. He increased his wealth by successful speculation, especially in South Sea Company stock.

Henry was known for his philanthropy to the poor which gained him the nickname ‘Good Henry’.

Henry Hoare II (1705-1785)

Henry’s eldest son, also called Henry, inherited the estate in 1725, just after the house was completed. He became a partner in Hoare’s bank in the same year, at the age of 19, a position he held for the rest of his life. Henry was MP for Salisbury (1734-41).

In 1726, Henry married Anne Masham but she died a year later leaving a daughter who did not live to adulthood. He remarried in 1728 and had five children with his second wife, Susan Colt. Sadly, two of his three sons died in infanthood and the other in his early twenties. His younger daughter Anne married her first cousin, Richard Hoare, but also died young. Their son, Richard Colt Hoare, inherited his grandfather’s estate.

The lake, Stourhead
The lake, Stourhead
After the death of his second wife, Henry devoted himself to Stourhead. He dammed the River Stour to create an ornamental lake and commissioned Henry Flitcroft to design buildings around it – the classical temples of Flora (1745) and Apollo (1765) and the Pantheon (1753-4). The sculptor John Michael Rysbrack worked at Stourhead and his Hercules (1756) is in the Pantheon. Other features added include the Stone Bridge, a cascade, the Grotto and the Hermit’s Cave. When they were finished, the gardens attracted numerous visitors and were widely admired.

Temple of Flora, Stourhead
Temple of Flora, Stourhead
Henry was a prolific collector and acquired many works of art which he displayed at Stourhead. He gained the nickname ‘Henry the Magnificent’.

Sir Richard Colt Hoare, 2nd Baronet (1758-1838)

Richard Colt Hoare married Hester Lyttelton in 1783 and they had a son, Henry, the following year. In August 1785, Hester died. The following month, Henry’s grandfather died and he inherited the Stourhead estate on condition that he left the bank. Deprived of both wife and career, Richard went on a Grand Tour over the next six years, keeping detailed diaries of his travels.

The Library, Stourhead
The Library, Stourhead
Richard returned home and spent the next forty years developing the house and gardens at Stourhead. He was a keen antiquarian and spent many years researching the history of Wiltshire, amassing a huge collection of books and drawings. He also collected many works of art and he added two wings to Stourhead to hold his collections – the Library at one end and the Picture Gallery at the other. Thomas Chippendale the Younger made furniture for these and other rooms at Stourhead. These were the only rooms to escape the fire of 1902.

The Library, Stourhead
The Library, Stourhead
What can you see today?

• The Palladian exterior of Stourhead designed by Colen Campbell

The Palladian exterior of Stourhead

• A Canaletto (under cover in the library)

• Library steps by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

Library steps made by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

• Wedgwood pots on the mantelpiece in the Picture Room

Wedgwood pots on the mantelpiece in the Picture Room, Stourhead

• Sarcophagus-shaped planters in the Picture Room

Sarcophagus-shaped planters in the Picture Room

• Stripy sofa by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

Stripy sofa by Thomas Chippendale the Younger

• Landscaped gardens centred around an ornamental lake with a stone bridge (see above)
 
• Ornamental buildings around the lake designed by Henry Flitcroft – the Temples of Flora and Apollo and the Pantheon.

The newly restored Pantheon at Stourhead
The newly restored Pantheon at Stourhead
Inside the Pantheon during renovation work 2014
Inside the Pantheon during renovation work in 2014
(I thought it looked like a Dr Who set!)
The Pantheon statues at Stourhead restored (2015)
The Pantheon statues at Stourhead restored (2015)
 • The Grotto beside the lake with its statue of the River God

View over the lake from the Grotto, Stourhead
View over the lake from the Grotto, Stourhead
Inside the Grotto, Stourhead
Inside the Grotto, Stourhead
 • The Gothic Cottage

The Gothic Cottage, Stourhead

Last visited: September 2015.

Sources used include:
Hutchings, Victoria, Hoare, Henry (1677-1725) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009; accessed 15 May 2014)
Hutchings, Victoria, Hoare, Henry (1705-1785) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009; accessed 15 May 2014)
Hutchings, Victoria, Hoare, Sir Richard Colt (1758-1838) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009; accessed 15 May 2014)

Hoare’s Bank website
National Trust Stourhead website

More of Andrew's photographs of Stourhead here.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Bath Assembly Rooms in Jane Austen’s novels

The Upper Rooms, Bath
The Upper Rooms, Bath
By the time of the Regency, Bath was no longer the fashionable resort that it had once been. The rise in popularity of sea bathing had sent the ton flocking to towns such as Weymouth and Brighton, leaving Bath to the invalids and those who could not afford to keep up a fashionable lifestyle in London.

Bath society was served by two sets of Assembly Rooms, the Lower Rooms and the New or Upper Rooms.

Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 to 1805, and she used her personal experience to bring the city to life in her books. Two of her novels are partly set in Bath: Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.

Jane Austen's home in Bath (1801-1805)
Jane Austen's home in Bath (1801-1805)
Persuasion

The Assembly Rooms play a small but important part in Persuasion; they are the backdrop for a pivotal scene in the story. The heroine, Anne Elliot, is eager to visit the Rooms in the hope of meeting Captain Wentworth, but she is prevented by her father’s snobbish attitude.

“The theatre or the rooms… were not fashionable enough for the Elliots, whose evening amusements were solely in the elegant stupidity of private parties, in which they were getting more and more engaged.” (1)
 
A concert in the Upper Rooms

However, Sir Walter and his elder daughter Elizabeth are eager to attend a concert at the Rooms in the company of their exalted relative, Lady Dalrymple. “It was a concert for the benefit of a person patronised by Lady Dalrymple. Of course they must attend.” (1)

The Tea Room, Assembly Rooms, Bath
The Tea Room, Assembly Rooms, Bath,
where concerts were held every Wednesday
Although Jane Austen does not specifically say that the concert was being held in the Upper Rooms, as opposed to the Lower Rooms, it is clear that it was, because she mentions a room there, the Octagon Room, by name:

“Sir Walter, his two daughters, and Mrs Clay, were the earliest of all their party at the rooms in the evening; and as Lady Dalrymple must be waited for, they took their station by one of the fires in the Octagon Room.” (1)

The Octagon Room, Assembly Rooms, Bath
The Octagon Room, Assembly Rooms, Bath
The Concert Room referred to was the Tea Room, which was mainly used for concerts and refreshments. It is at this concert that Anne Elliot begins to hope that her affection for Captain Wentworth is returned when that gentleman storms off in a jealous rage.

Northanger Abbey 

In Northanger Abbey, the heroine, Catherine Morland, often visits both the Upper and Lower Rooms.

A crowd at the Upper Rooms

The Ballroom, Assembly Rooms, Bath
The Ballroom, Assembly Rooms, Bath
Catherine eagerly anticipates “the important evening” which was “to usher her into the Upper Rooms”. Unfortunately, “Mrs Allen was so long in dressing that they did not enter the ballroom till late. The season was full, the room crowded, and the two ladies squeezed in as well as they could. As for Mr Allen, he repaired directly to the card-room, and left them to enjoy a mob by themselves.” (2)

Mrs Allen proceeds to spend the whole evening bemoaning her lack of acquaintances in Bath which prevent her from being able to supply Catherine with a partner. However, Catherine’s vanity is satisfied by overhearing two gentlemen pronouncing her “to be a pretty girl”. (2)

An important introduction at the Lower Rooms

Catherine is more successful when she visits the Lower Rooms: “They made their appearance in the Lower Rooms; and here fortune was more favourable to our heroine. The master of the ceremonies introduced to her a very gentlemanlike young man as a partner; his name was Tilney.” (2)

Catherine’s conversation with Mr Tilney reveals that she visited the Upper Rooms on Monday, the theatre on Tuesday and a concert on Wednesday. The programme of events at the Upper Rooms indicates that it was a dress ball that she attended at the Upper Rooms and that the concert was also held there.

The entertainments at the Upper Rooms
from A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places
by J Feltham (1815)
What Catherine wore

Mr Tilney teases Catherine about what she will write in her journal and gives us a description of what Catherine wore to the Lower Rooms:

"‘Yes, I know exactly what you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings—plain black shoes—appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by his nonsense.’" (2)

Ball dress  from La Belle Assemblée (1807)
Ball dress
from La Belle Assemblée (1807)
The Master of Ceremonies

Mr Tilney proceeds to tell Catherine what he would like her to write in her journal, and in so doing, mentions by name the Master of Ceremonies:

"‘I danced with a very agreeable young man, introduced by Mr King; had a great deal of conversation with him—seems a most extraordinary genius—hope I may know more of him.’” (2)

James King, Master of Ceremonies
James King, Master of Ceremonies
at the Lower Rooms until 1805
from The New Bath Guide (1799)
At first glance, it seems as if Jane Austen has got her facts wrong. When Northanger Abbey was published in 1818, Mr King had long since ceased to be the Master of Ceremonies at the Lower Rooms; he was promoted to the Upper Rooms in 1805. However, Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey in the late 1790s and first submitted it for publication in 1803, at which time Mr King was still presiding over the Lower Rooms.

Dancing partners

A conversation between Isabella Thorpe and Catherine’s brother James brings up the question of whether it is necessary to change dancing partners at the Upper Rooms. It is, of course, laughable that Jane Austen puts the words of propriety into the flirtatious Isabella’s mouth:

“‘How can you be so teasing; only conceive, my dear Catherine, what your brother wants me to do. He wants me to dance with him again, though I tell him that it is a most improper thing, and entirely against the rules. It would make us the talk of the place, if we were not to change partners.’
‘Upon my honour,’ said James, ‘in these public assemblies, it is as often done as not.’” (2)

Entrance to the Assembly Rooms, Bath
Entrance to the Assembly Rooms, Bath
Read more about the Assembly Rooms on my blog:
Notes
(1) From Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818)
(2) From Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (1818)

Sources used include:
Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion (1818)
Crutwell, R (pub), The New Bath Guide (1799)
Feltham, John, A Guide to all the Watering and Sea-Bathing Places (1815)
Garnett, Oliver and Dunlop, Patricia, The Assembly Rooms, Bath, the Authorised Guide (c2011)

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Georgian Dukes of Cumberland

The Dukes of Cumberland from The Georgian Era by Clarke 1832

The trouble with names

One of the confusing things about the Georgian royals is that they were not very original when it came to names. As a result, we have four kings with the same name: George I, II, III and IV. At least they have numbers after their names to distinguish them!

The three Dukes

When I visited the First Georgians exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, one of the displays talked about the Duke of Cumberland’s collection of maps. But which Duke of Cumberland? During the Georgian period, there were three different Dukes of Cumberland. They had different Christian names – William, Henry and Ernest – but were usually referred to by their title alone. So which Duke of Cumberland was it talking about? I suspected it was the first Duke of Cumberland, but I was not sure.

Plan of the Battle of Culloden  from the First Georgians exhibition at the Queen's Gallery, London
Plan of the Battle of Culloden
on display at the First Georgians exhibition
I decided to research the three Dukes. I already knew about the third Duke, Ernest. But what were the other two like and how did they fit into the royal family? I needed to know when each Duke lived and died in order to know who the Duke of Cumberland was in a specific year.

I discovered that the title did not pass from father to son as might be expected, but was created afresh in each generation as neither of the first two Dukes had legitimate heirs to inherit the title. But despite this, the three Dukes had a lot in common. They were all forceful characters who exerted a strong influence over their current or future sovereigns and possessed scandalous reputations.

Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765)

William Duke of Cumberland from The Georgian Era (1832)

Prince William (26 April 1721(1) – 31 October 1765) was the third son of George II and Queen Caroline and uncle to George III. He was created Duke of Cumberland in 1726.

‘Butcher Cumberland’

William, Duke of Cumberland is most remembered for his role in the Battle of Culloden in 1746. His Whig supporters nicknamed him ‘Sweet William’ for successfully quashing the Jacobite rebels, but his Tory enemies dubbed him ‘Butcher Cumberland’ for showing no mercy to his enemies, even after they had surrendered.

Advisor to George III

George III by Jean-Étienne Liotard (1754) - on display at the First Georgians exhibition
A young George III by Jean-Étienne Liotard (1754)
- on display at the First Georgians exhibition
The Duke was one of George III’s key advisors in the early years of his reign and he resented the fact that George's mother Augusta was appointed Regent should George II die before George III had reached his majority rather than himself. He died unmarried in 1765. And yes, it was this Duke who was fond of collecting maps, some of which were on display in the First Georgians exhibition.

Prince Henry, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn (1745-1790)

Henry Duke of Cumberland from The Georgian Era (1832)
Prince Henry (7 November 1745(2) – 18 September 1790) was the fourth son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, and Princess Augusta, and a younger brother of George III. He was made Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn and Earl of Dublin in 1766. He died in 1790 without any legitimate issue.

Scandalous relationships

Henry, Duke of Cumberland, was known for his disreputable liaisons. In 1769, he was found in a compromising situation with Lady Grosvenor and her husband successfully sued him for ‘criminal conversation’, that is, adultery. Lord Grosvenor was awarded damages of £10,000 and the case generated lots of adverse publicity for the royal family.

Front cover of Copies of the Depositions of the Witnesses in cause of divorce of Lord and Lady Grosvenor 1771

But his crowning folly was his marriage in 1771 to the widow Anne Horton, a commoner with a dubious reputation. This union alienated his brother George III and triggered the Royal Marriages Act of 1772, which required the King’s permission for the marriage of any descendant of George II.

A bad influence

George, Prince of Wales,  from The Lady's Magazine (Feb 1792)
George, Prince of Wales,
from The Lady's Magazine (Feb 1792)
The Duke was reconciled to George III after offering his services during the Gordon Riots of 1780, but this new understanding did not last. Henry became increasingly friendly with George, Prince of Wales, and George III resented the unhealthy influence that the Duke had over his son.

Prince Ernest, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale and King of Hanover (1771-1851)

Ernest Duke of Cumberland from The Georgian Era (1832)

Prince Ernest (5 June 1771 – 18 November 1851) was the fifth son of George III and Queen Charlotte. He was made Duke of Cumberland in 1799 and became King of Hanover on William IV’s death in 1837. His son, George, succeeded him.

Salacious gossip

Like the previous holders of the title, Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, seemed to attract controversy. When his valet committed suicide in 1810, Ernest was accused of his murder. When it was rumoured that his sister Sophia had given birth to an illegitimate child, it was alleged that he was the father. When his cousin Princess Frederica’s husband died suddenly in 1814, conveniently releasing her from her marriage so that she could marry Ernest, his now twice widowed wife was suspected of murder.

Frederica Duchess of Cumberland from The Georgian Era (1832)
Radical politics

Ernest was a radical Tory and strongly Protestant in his politics. He was a strong influence on his brother George IV and urged him to stand against the Catholic Relief Act, temporarily bringing down Wellington’s government as a result. He was vehemently opposed to the Reform Act of 1832.

Read more about Ernest, Duke of Cumberland, here.

Notes
(1) As William was born before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752, his date of birth is sometimes given as 15 April 1721. This is the date based on the Julian calendar which was 11 days adrift from the Gregorian calendar.
(2) Henry’s birth date is sometimes given as 26 October 1745 (Oxford DNB) - see (1) above. I have also seen it recorded as 27 October 1745 (Wikisource) and 7 November 1744 (The Georgian Era), but think that on the new calendar, 7 November 1745 is right.

Sources used include:
Clarke, The Georgian Era, Memoirs of the most eminent persons, who have flourished in Great Britain (1832)
Kilburn, Matthew, Henry Frederick, Prince, Duke of Cumberland and Strathearn (1745-1790) Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn Jan 2008, accessed 1 May 2014)
Plumb, JH, The First Four Georges (1956)

My post on Ernest, Duke of Cumberland.

The pictures of the Dukes and Duchess of Cumberland are all from The Georgian Era by Clarke (1832).

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato