Page 76. " the gallery of beauties at Hampton-Court "
Lady Mary Bentinck (1679-1726)
Public DomainLady Mary Bentinck (1679-1726) - Credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller

The Hampton Court Beauties are a series of portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller, commissioned by Queen Mary II of England and depicting the most glamorous ladies from the court of William II.  They adorn the state rooms of King William III at Hampton Court Palace. 

A generation previously, Sir Peter Lely had been commissioned to depict the most beautiful ladies of the court of King Charles II of England, a series christened the Windsor beauties.  The Hampton Court Beauties are considerably plainer and less erotic than the Windsor Beauties, reflecting the changes at court. 

Isabella, Dutchess of Grafton
Public DomainIsabella, Dutchess of Grafton - Credit: Willem Wissing

There were 12 original Hampton Court Beauties. Those whose names and portraits survived through the years are:

Isabella Bennet, Duchess of Grafton (1667–1713)

Margaret Cecil, Countess of Ranelagh (1672–1727)

Carey Fraser, Countess of Peterborough (c.1658-1709)

Frances Whitmore, Lady Middleton (1666–1694)

Mary Scrope, later Mrs Pitt (born 1676)

Diana de Vere
Public DomainDiana de Vere - Credit: John Smith, after Sir Godfrey Kneller

Diana De Vere, Duchess of St Albans (1679–1742)

Lady Mary Bentinck, Countess of Essex (died 1726)

Mary Compton, Countess of Dorset (1669–1691)


Page 76. " each bright Churchill of the Galaxy, and all the toasts of the Kit-cat "
Anne Churchill, Countess of Sunderland
Public DomainAnne Churchill, Countess of Sunderland - Credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller

The Kit-Cat Club was an early 18th century club, with strong political and literary associations, committed to the furtherance of the Whig objectives of Parliamentary democracy and a limited monarchy. Its first meetings were held at a tavern in Shire Lane, near Temple Bar, which was run by an innkeeper called Christopher (Kit) Catling. He gave his name to the mutton pies known as 'Kit Kats' from which the club took its name.  A famous characteristic of the Kit-Kat was its toasting-glasses, used for drinking the health of the reigning beauties of the day.  The toasting glasses were engraved with verses in their praise.

Some of those who were toasted include Lady Godolphin, Lady Sunderland, Lady Bridgewater, and Lady Monthermer, all daughters of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.

Page 76. " most like the picture of Lady Ranelagh, and I have heard more still to the famous Duchess of Mazarine "
Portrait of Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin, 1675
Public DomainPortrait of Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin, 1675 - Credit: Jacob Ferdinand Voet

Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh (1615 - 1691) was a leading Anglo-Irish intellectual.  She was the daughter of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork. She married Arthur Jones, 2nd Viscount Ranelagh, in 1630.  She left Ireland after the rebellion of 1641, and moved to London. 

Hortense Mancini, duchesse Mazarin (1646 – 1699) was the favourite niece of Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister of France, and a mistress of Charles II, King of England.  Charles in fact proposed, but as he was in exile at the time, Cardinal Mazarin rejected the offer, thinking he had limited prospects (Charles was reinstated as King of England a few months later).  Hortense was the fourth of five famous Mancini sisters, who along with two of their female Martinozzi cousins, were known at the court of King Louis XIV of France as the Mazarinettes, and renowned for their beauty.

Page 76. " Sir John Suckling's description in those lines "
Sir John Suckling
Public DomainSir John Suckling - Credit: Sir Anthony Van Dyck

Sir John Suckling (1609 - 1642) was an English poet, known for careless gaiety and wit.  A collection of his poems was first published in 1646 as Fragmenta aurea.  He is best known for his poem "Ballad upon a Wedding,” on the marriage of Roger Boyle and Lady Margaret Howard.  Fielding quotes these lines from Ballad:

Her lips were red, and one was thin;

Compared with that was next her chin,

Some bee had stung it newly.

Suckling also invented the card game Cribbage.  He is said to have sent numerous packs of marked playing cards to the aristocratic houses of England, and then to have travelled the country playing cribbage with the gentry, winning around £20,000 (an amount equivalent to £4 million today).

Page 76. " the rude answer which Lord Rochester once gave to a man, who had seen many things "

John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-1680), provides his rude answer in his poem, below:

Ship in stormy sea
Public DomainShip in stormy sea - Credit: Ivan Aivazovsky
To all curious Critics and Admirers of Meeter

Have you seen the raging stormy main

Toss a ship up, then cast her down again?

Sometimes she seems to touch the very skies,

And then again upon the sand she lies.

Or have you seen a bull, when he is jealous,

How he does tear the ground, and roars and bellows?

Or have you seen the pretty turtle-dove,

When she laments the absence of her love?

Or have you seen the fairies, when they sing

And dance with mirth together in a ring?

Or have you seen our gallants make a pudder,

With Fair and Grace, and Grace and Fair Anne Strudder?

Or have you seen the daughters of Apollo

Pour down their rhyming liquors in a hollow cane?

In spongy brain, congealing into verse?

If you have seen all this - then kiss mine arse

Page 80. " the younger Brutus had been condemned of ingratitude, and the elder of parricide "
The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons
Public DomainThe Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons - Credit: Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825)

Lucius Junius Brutus (the elder) was the founder of the Roman Republic.  He led the revolt that overthrew Rome’s last king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, around 509 BC.  The king was Brutus’ uncle, and was responsible for various reprehensible acts, including the execution of Brutus' brother. The last straw was the rape of the noblewoman Lucretia, Brutus’ kinswomen, by the king’s son.  After telling Brutus what had befallen her, Lucretia committed suicide.  Brutus led the people of Rome in banishing the Tarquins from the city, and then led them in an oath never to allow any man again to be king in Rome.

The royal family did not go down without a fight however.  They drew a number of leading Roman citizens into a plot to regain their power, including Brutus' wife and his two sons.  When the conspiracy was discovered, Brutus, together with his fellow consuls, determined that the conspirators must be put to death, including the members of Brutus’ family.  Brutus’ act of parricide was thus to preside over the execution of his sons. He was subsequently killed in battle – he and his cousin, a son of the vanquished king, speared each other to death.


Brutus the younger
Public DomainBrutus the younger - Credit: Michelangelo

Marcus Junius Brutus (the younger) (85 BC – 42 BC) was a descendent of this republican Brutus.  He was a Senator and one of Julius Caesar’s inner circle.  When Caesar had the Roman Senate declare him dictator for life, there were many among the Senators who feared Caesar sought to become king of Rome.  They persuaded Brutus to join a conspiracy to kill Caesar.  It is said that, on the day of the killing, Caesar blocked the initial knife thrusts but, upon seeing Brutus among the conspirators, resigned himself to die. 

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Marc Anthony says:

For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar's angel

Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar lov'd him!

This was the most unkindest cut of all

For when the noble Caesar saw him stab

Ingratitude, more strong than traitors' arms,

Quite vanquish'd him: then burst his mighty heart. . .

Anthony suggests that Caesar died not so much from his wounds, as from the realization of Brutus' treachery.

Page 81. " "Small things affect light minds" was the sentiment of a great master of the passion of love "

Title of a 1644 edition of Ovid's
Public DomainTitle of a 1644 edition of Ovid's "Ars amatoira" - Credit: Frankfurt: Kempffer 1644
The Ars amatoria (The Art of Love) is an instructional love elegy in three books by the Roman poet Ovid (see page 29 bookmark).  Fielding quotes Ovid’s phrase, parva leves capiunt animos, which translates as small things affect light minds, or light minds are taken with little things.

Page 81. " in the vulgar phrase, be crying roast-meat "

A classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue, by Francis Grose, 1785, explains that to cry roast meat is to boast of one’s situation.  Similarly, to rule the roast is to be the master, while roast meat clothes are Sunday clothes or holiday clothes. 

'O the Roast Beef of Old England'
Public Domain'O the Roast Beef of Old England' - Credit: William Hogarth

Page 83. " his most favourite tunes, were Old Sir Simon the King, St. George he was for England, Bobbing Joan, and some others "
Title page of the 1st edition of The Dancing Master (1651)
Public DomainTitle page of the 1st edition of The Dancing Master (1651) - Credit: John Playford

The music listened to by commoners and country folk was far removed from that of the English court.  Early printed collections were put together in the 1600s by individuals such as John Playford (The English Dancing Master, 1651), Samuel Pepys, and Robert Harley (the Roxburghe Ballads).  By the 18th century there were increasing numbers of collections of what was beginning to be defined as "folk" music, including Thomas D’Urfey’s Wit and Mirth: or, Pills to Purge Melancholy (1719–20) and Bishop Thomas Percy’s Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765). 

Songs like Old Sir Simon celebrated drinking and carousing, while poking fun at the politics and manners of the day. 

Page 85. " Congreve well says, "There is in true beauty something which vulgar souls cannot admire," "
William Congreve
Public DomainWilliam Congreve - Credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller

William Congreve (1670 –1729) was an English playwright and poet.  He wrote some of the most popular English plays of the Restoration period, of the late 17th century. By the age of thirty, he had written four comedies, and a tragedy, and achieved great success.  However, by 1700, when he was just 30, his career floundered.  Public taste had turned against the high-brow sexual comedy of manners which was his forte, and his work came under some vicious criticism, being described by some critics as immoral and profane.  He shifted his focus to politics, and held various minor political positions.  His literary output from 1700 was restricted to occasional poems and translations.  Fortunately, his early success had earned him a considerable fortune.  He died in London in January 1729, and was buried in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey. 

One of his most famous phrases is from The Mourning Bride (1697): "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," spoken by Zara in Act III.  Another, from Love for Love (1695), is: "O fie, miss, you must not kiss and tell."

Page 87. " the slaughter in those fields where Hudibrass and Trulla fought "

Hudibras is a 17th century mock heroic narrative poem by Samuel Butler.  It is set in the context of the English Civil War, and was published in three parts in 1663, 1664 and 1678.  Publication came only four years after King Charles II’s restoration – making it a very topical work.  The poem tells the story of Sir Hudibras, a knight errant who is conceited, arrogant, stupid, and driven by extreme religious fervour, but nonetheless heaped with immense, and ironic, praise.

Hudibras Vanquish'd by Trulla
Public DomainHudibras Vanquish'd by Trulla - Credit: William Hogarth
For his Religion, it was fit

To match his learning and his wit;

'Twas Presbyterian true blue;

For he was of that stubborn crew

Of errant saints, whom all men grant

To be the true Church Militant;

Such as do build their faith upon

The holy text of pike and gun;

Decide all controversies by

Infallible artillery;

And prove their doctrine orthodox

By apostolic blows and knocks

The poem is influenced by Cervantes’ Don Quixote, although Hudibras is a much less sympathetic character than Quixote. 

Page 91. " Mr. Freke would do well to enquire, before he published the next edition of his book "

John Freke (1688-1756) was elected assistant-surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital in 1726, and subsequently the first curator of the hospital museum.  He was elected surgeon in 1729, and held office until 1755, when gout and infirmity compelled him to resign. Besides being one of the chief surgeons within the city of London he had a reputation as a man of learning in science, a judge of painting and of music. He made experiments in electricity and published in 1748 “An Essay to show the Cause of Electricity and why some things are Non-Electricable, in which is also considered its Influence in the Blasts on Human Bodies, in the Blights on Trees, in the Damps in Mines, and as it may affect the Sensitive Plant.

It is this book to which Fielding is referring in the quote above. 

Page 92. " The verse is in Juvenal "

Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis, known in English as Juvenal, was a Roman poet of the late 1st and early 2nd century AD.  He authored the Satires, a collection of at least 16 poems covering a diverse range of topics.  The works are hyperbolic and comedic, and provide a wide-ranging discussion of society and social mores.  Juvenal describes the work as follows:

Back from when Deucalion climbed a mountain in a boat

as the clouds lifted the waters, and then asked for an oracle,

and then little by little spirit warmed the soft stones

and Pyrrha showed naked girls to their husbands,

whatever men do – prayer, fear, rage, pleasure

joy, running about – is the grist of my little book.

Page 95. " Are you then so profligate and abandoned a libertine "
Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)
Public DomainGiacomo Casanova (1725-1798) - Credit: Anton Raphael Mengs

A libertine is a person who views conventional morals as unnecessary or undesirable, and feels free to act outside what society considers ‘acceptable behaviour’ in pursuit of physical and sensory pleasures.  Libertinism was practised by some notable members of French and British society in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, including John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, Giacomo Casanova, Lord Byron, and the Marquis de Sade. 

The word ‘libertine’ is derived from the Roman mythological figure, Liber (meaning free), who represented husbandry and crops.  The term was coined by John Calvin, as a critical term for his opponents.  These opponents argued against Calvin's efforts to have church discipline enforced uniformly against all members Geneva’s society, in the mid-1550s.

Page 96. " As Sir Richard Steele says, "Gluttons, who give high prices for delicacies, are very worthy to be called generous." "
Sir Richard Steele
Public DomainSir Richard Steele - Credit: Jonathan Richardson

Sir Richard Steele (1672 –1729) was an Irish writer and politician.  He published his first booklet, The Christian Hero, in 1701.  It was written while he was serving in the army, and was meant as a pamphlet of moral instruction.  It met with considerable ridicule, however, as he was known not to follow its teachings – preferring drinking, occasional dueling, and debauchery.  In the same year he wrote a comedy, The Funeral, which met with wide success and was performed at Drury Lane.  He wrote a number of subsequent plays, and began publishing a thrice weekly journal, The Tatler, in April 1709.  The Tatler aimed "to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning, vanity, and affectation, and to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, and our behavior."

Together with Joseph Addison, he co-founded The Spectator.  He was also a member of the Kit-Kat Club He was knighted in 1714, and given responsibility for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  Here, he wrote and directed The Conscious Lovers, which was an immediate hit.  In 1724 he retired to Wales. 

Page 100. " Mr Bayle (I think, in his article of Helen) imputes this, and with greater probability, to their violent love of glory "

Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) was a French philosopher and writer. He was an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, and his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment.  In 1675 he was appointed chair of philosophy at the Protestant Academy of Sedan, in France.  In 1681 he fled religious repression in France and took up a position as professor of philosophy and history at the Ecole Illustre in Rotterdam. Between 1684 and 1687, he published Nouvelles de la république des lettres, a journal of literary criticism. His four volume Philosopphical Commentary is a plea for toleration in religious matters (1686-1688).

Helen of Troy
Public DomainHelen of Troy - Credit: Evelyn de Morgan, 1898

His Dictionnaire Historique et Critique (Historical and Critical Dictionary) was published in 1695.  It constituted one of the world’s first encyclopedias, and remained a highly important scholarly work for several generations after its publication. The English translation of work, by Pierre des Maizeaux, was named by US President Thomas Jefferson as one of the 100 foundational texts that formed the first collection of the Library of Congress. 

The Dictionary includes the story of Helen and the Fall of Troy.   

Page 100. " by the assistance of hartshorn and water "

Harts' horns are the horns of the male red deer.  Various remedies were prepared from shavings of the horns.  These included oil of hartshorn, prepared by distilling the bones or horns, salt of hartshorn (ammonium carbonate), obtained by dry distillation of the oil, and spirit of hartshorn, an aqueous solution of ammonia. Salt of hartshorn was used for treatment of fevers, and as a smelling salt.

Male red deer
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMale red deer - Credit: Lviatour