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Filming at Tatton: Elizabeth Egerton and her music

You could have stumbled across a scene from Pemberley last week at Tatton Park in Cheshire during filming on a musical theme in the Neo-Classical mansion house. Uncanny and curiously moving was the sight of Elizabeth Egerton (otherwise known as Emma Bryant), singing Handel’s “Angels Ever Bright and Fair” in the Library, accompanied on the harpsichord ( by internationally acclaimed musician Ms. Penelope Cave). Emma, Penelope and colleagues from Southampton University, had come to Tatton to create four short films based on the findings of research into Elizabeth Egerton’s music collection, which has resided in the Music Room since the early 1800’s, only to be re-discovered during an intensive AHRC funded doctoral research project called  “Music Collections, Music Rooms and Musical Practice in British Country Houses, 1780-1860”.

The project has taken three years to date, and detailed study has been made of material at Tatton, and at Killerton House in Devon. Uncovering all sorts of hidden aspects to the lives of two women, Elizabeth Egerton of Tatton (1777-1853), and Lydia Hoare of Killerton (1786-1856), their lives in late Georgian and Regency England have been pieced together by the careful sifting and analysis of archive material by three doctoral students, Leena Rana, Penelope Cave and Katrina Faulds of Southampton University.

Elizabeth-Sykes-Mrs-Wilbraham-Egerton-by-Sir-Thomas-Lawrence-©-Tatton-Park-Cheshire-East-Council-National-Trust_websize

Elizabeth Sykes, Mrs Wilbraham Egerton, by Sir Thomas Lawrence © Tatton Park/Cheshire East Council/National Trust.

 

Emma Bryant as Elizabeth Egerton and Penelope Cave as Miss Pitman in the Library at Tatton Park. Filming by Wash Media. ©Tatton Park-Cheshire East Council-National Trust-Caroline Schofield

Emma Bryant as Elizabeth Egerton and Penelope Cave as Miss Pitman in the Library at Tatton Park. Filming by Wash Media. ©Tatton Park-Cheshire East Council-National Trust-Caroline Schofield

Scenes redolent of Jane Austen’s novels, unfolded during filming, to tell the Hidden Histories of how music was part of every day life for the Egerton’s, both at Tatton and at their London home in St. James’s Square, bringing with it a colour and vibrancy which is easily under-estimated in this age of television and internet.

In the Yellow Drawing Room, Miss Charlotte Lucy Beatrix Egerton (Amelia Brookes-Everist) was receiving a music lesson from Miss Pitman.

Amelia Brooks-Everist as Miss Charlotte Lucy Beatrix Egerton ©Tatton Park/Cheshire East Council/National Trust/Caroline Schofield

Amelia Brooks-Everist as Miss Charlotte Lucy Beatrix Egerton ©Tatton Park/Cheshire East Council/National Trust/Caroline Schofield

Whilst performances by the Pleyel Ensemble and pieces by Hart, Musard and Weber, well known to a cultivated early 19th century audience,  drifted  through from the Broadwood grand piano in the Music Room, Miss Charlotte was being introduced to the steps of a new dance by her dancing master (Stuart Marsden). Stuart was recently seen giving dance instruction on the BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice : Having a Ball”, where the famous Netherfield Ball was re-enacted at Chawton Manor, one time home to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward.

An action packed week of preparation by Tatton’s Mansion team, involving the careful movement of the Egerton family’s Kirckman harpsichord, the arrival of a Broadwood piano on loan from a private collection, the retrieval of delicate musical manuscripts from the archive, and the preparation of the Music Room, Library, Yellow Drawing Room and Staircase Hall for filming, contributed to a productive two days. Four films are currently in the ‘Wash Media’ editing suite: At Home with Music, Lessons at the Piano Forte, Invitation to the Dance and Country House Collections, and will be launched through the Tatton Park, Hidden Histories and Southampton University web-sites later in the year.

Sadly things did not end well for Miss Charlotte Lucy Beatrix Egerton, but that’s another Hidden History……..

 

Caroline Schofield

Mansion & Collections Manager, Tatton Park

 

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