Paper Presented to the Women’s History Network Conference, ‘Women, Art and Culture: Historical Perspectives’, Southampton University 2-4 September 2005
Mary Bold (below) was one of six daughters born to Peter Bold MP (1705-62) of Bold Hall near Liverpool and his wife Anna Maria. In 1765 she married Thomas Hunt MP and moved into the newly refurbished Mollington Hall in Cheshire. Mrs Mary Hunt immediately sat for two portraits: the first illustrated here, was by Joseph Wright of Derby and the second,
this – a more striking three-quarter length portrait by George Romney. Thomas Hunt’s elder brother George (1720-1798) had relinquished all rights to Mollington Hall once he had succeeded to his mother’s estate of Lanhydrock in Cornwall; therefore in 1788 at the time of Thomas Hunt’s death, Mollington Hall, the Hunt’s town houses and his Cambridgeshire estate were bequeathed to his wife Mary. Furthermore, she was appointed the sole guardian of their only surviving child, Anna Maria, controlling unlimited funds for her ‘Maintenance’. Mrs Hunt devoted the next nine years of her life to Mollington Hall before it was sold in 1796 to John Feilden of WhittonPark, Blackburn. The sale enforced a permanent moved to herLondon town house at No 76 South Audley Street in the parish of St George, Middlesex.
Mary Bold 1761 -1824 by George Romney
This paper will portray Mrs Mary Hunt as a consumer of taste and elegance in both life and death. First, we will look at her London townhouse and its interiors fulfilling, in part, the Georgian model of propriety and affluence. Second, primary source material held at Lanhydrock House permits us a rare insight into the last months of Mrs Hunt’s life experiencing, through her private and public financial transactions, her declining heath, anguished death and lavish funeral.
Mrs Hunt was an extremely dedicated mother. Illustrated below is a portrait of her daughter Anna Maria (1771-1861) painted in seven sittings between 30 March and 1 June 1792by George Romney at his studio in Cavendish Square– the picture was commissioned by her uncle George Hunt and was paid for and delivered to Seymour Placeon 20 June 1793. In 1799, George Hunt conferred the Cornish estate of Lanhydrock with huge mineral reserves, an impressive mansion and an estate encompassing a third of Cornwall onto his niece. Both mother and daughter were regular visitors to Lanhydrock, a property they affectionately called their ‘country cottage’. Well travelled, the couple also took summer seasons in Brighton, Tunbridge Wells and Ramsgate as well as excursions to the family home of Bold Hall in Lancashire. On 2 November 1804 Anna Maria married the successful London barrister Charles Bagenal Agar (1769-1811), the youngest son of the Viscount Clifden. The marriage licence records that the ceremony was held ‘in the dwelling house of Mrs Mary Hunt in South Audley Street’. The couple soon sought a marital home near to South Audley Street looking first at property on the south side of Upper Brook Street but eventually taking 19 Hereford Street, St Marylebone. In 1807, Anna Maria returned to the parish of St George, to be near her ailing mother, taking the lease of No 1 Dean Street the house immediately adjoining No 76 South Audley Street. Anna Maria’s life went on to be somewhat tragic. Of her three children two died young, Charles, aged 4 and Edward, aged 9. Furthermore, her husband died prematurely in 1811 after only 7 years of marriage – she out lived him by fifty-years. In the will of Charles Agar both Anna Maria and Mary Hunt were named as guardians to his children Thomas James (1808-82) and, the then unborn, Edward.
Anna Maria Hunt 1771-1861) by George Romney
When No 76 South Audley Street was built the area south of Grosvenor Chapel was no more than fields and parkland. By 1746 when Rocque’s Map of London was published the neighbourhood had developed substantially, particularly the 100 acres to the north where the Grosvenor estate was laid out. Despite making the locality so much more sophisticated both in architecture and culture the well-rutted road still infamously harboured lawless gangs and desperate delinquents. Mrs Hunt’s house was positioned on the corner of South Audley Street and Dean Street (now Deanery Street), looking across towards Audley Square and Issac Ware’s Palladian masterwork – Chesterfield House. It was notably the first house outside of the southern extent of the Grosvenor Estate, the ground lease being owned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. This five-storey corner townhouse with polygonal bay windows on each street frontage was built, no later than 1740, by ‘one of the most successful builder / architects of his time’-Edward Shepherd. Architecturally the house remains uncharacteristic of Shepherd’s work especially when compared to his more prestigious houses at No’s 71-75 South Audley Street situated immediately to the north on the Grosvenor estate. As Shepherd was paying the rates on No.76 in 1740, it is likely, as The Survey of London notes, that Shepherd himself lived there while he continued his architectural commissions in the Mayfair area. Thomas Hunt paid the rates on this house from 1768 until his death in 1788 when Mrs Hunt took over payments until her own death in 1824. The only break in this schedule was in 1793-4 when Lady Williams Wynne paid as the property’s tenant..
No 76 was an impressive property. It retained a spacious frontage of ‘40 feet and 8 inches’ along two streets and, to the rear, a diminutive forty-seven feet four inches square garden looked beyond to what an 1803 London Guide referred to as the ‘refreshing sward’ of Hyde Park where ‘people of fashion often go in their carriages…and send their servants with jugs for its [spring] water’. The window tax accrued in 1824 was for 37 windows amounting to £6 7s 8d while the house tax was £14 3s 4d. Photographic evidence confirms that the terraced houses between Dean Street and Tilney Street were largely built in darkened brick although No.76, it would appear, was had a stuccowork finish. Indeed, a recipe for green stucco wash addressed to Mrs Hunt survives in the Lanhydrock archive and seems to be redolent of a similar desire to render the exterior of Lanhydrock House in a yellow wash during the late eighteenth century.
On 20 May 1824, four weeks after Mrs Hunt’s death, a probate inventory was taken recording the ‘Household Furniture, Plate, Linen, China, Glass, Books, Wine and other Effects of the late Mrs Hunt. The appraisers listed the house from top to bottom; therefore each room on each floor can be identified with some certainty. At the very top was three attic rooms, two at the front and one to the rear while the second floor comprised of two front rooms with a larger back chamber, all being bedrooms. Overlooking the road on the first floor was a front drawing room with adjoining anti room and at the rear was the back drawing room. The front of the house can be identified as being on Dean Street where the front door was positioned. This led into a ground floor hall with an impressive staircase leading into a Dining Room with a large Library to the rear overlooking the garden. The service areas in the basement consisted of a Housekeeper’s Room, Pantry and large kitchen.
Architecturally Mrs Hunt’s interiors were impressive although not overly ostentatious. The Survey of London records that ‘some of the ceilings strikingly resembled those at No.74’ and indeed photographic evidence from No.76 prior to demolition in 1970, now housed the London Metropolitan Archive, shows Shepherd’s typical heavy plasterwork style on display on both houses. Nowhere was this more recognisable than in the ground floor Library where the heavy, coffered ceiling overwhelms the rest of the room’s decoration indeed resembling that of the Portuguese Embassy at No.74 South Audley Street. In 1824, due to Mrs Hunt’s incapibilities, this Library housed her ‘4 poster bedstead and furniture’. The reason for moving the bed downstairs would appear to be as much for convenience as for comfort – in particular any heat transfer from the main kitchen below would have been a major benefit. Other than the bed, few items are mentioned in this room, and those that are mentioned remain austere as, for example, ‘green morine curtains’, 4 painted rush seats and a wainscot bureau.
The Dining Room too, had modest architectural embellishment but remained the most comprehensively furnished room in the house. A ‘6ft mah.y dining table on pillar and claw’ and ‘2 flap dining table’ graced the centre of the room alongside a mahogany sideboard, a painted deal pillar and claw table with green cover, 12 mahogany chairs, a Pembroke table, brass wine cooler, pot cupboard, a six leaved screen and a plate warmer.
The crimson Front Drawing Room with its sophisticated domed ceiling had simple furnishings as aKidderminstercarpet, 12 japanned cane seat chairs and a matching sofa, card tables, girandole and bronze candelabra with marble pedestals and a single portrait in gilt frame. The back Drawing Room showed little in the way of ceiling decoration although the walls displayed some simple, yet elegant stuccoed panels. Again, the crimson curtains, a Kidderminster carpet and unadorned furnishings as a pier glass, 12 rush chairs, 2 glass candelabra, 2 small tables, a drawing in a frame and the only named portrait – that of Soame Jenyns MP. These two Drawing rooms occupied the bay windowed areas. To complete the first floor was a small room adjoining the Front Drawing Room. Only a spinning wheel, deal bookshelves, 6 rush chairs and some gaming cards and counters were identified as being in this room.
The second floor bedrooms were all functional and tastefully furnished. Unfortunately no photographs were taken of these rooms prior to demolition. One bedroom had ‘a stained beech tent bedstead with painted cotton furniture’ and, in the main Back Chamber there was a mahogany 4 post bedstead with green morine furniture. This master bedroom also contained an oval and swing pier glass between the two windows both draped with cotton curtains, a Watmanteau chest of drawers, two mahogany tables, night convenience and a wainscot cupboard and bureau. All of the bedrooms had aKidderminstercarpet; many of the carpets in the house were underlain with Brussels carpet. Of the uncarpeted Attic rooms, all three were sparsely furnished although two of the rooms contained 4 post bedsteads. The inventory indicates that the house furnishings were practical rather than opulent, demonstrating that, although influenced by contemporary fashions there was reluctance for extravagant spending in her senior years. There were no high status carpets, chintz and cotton curtains were mixed with heavy morine fabrics and there appears to be a distinct lack of beautification. Yet, the colour schemes of crimson and green were popular by the standards of the day and advocated by the likes of contemporary stylists as D.R. Hay. The rooms did contained elements of Regency comfort, defined by the poet John Keats as ‘fireside joys’ as, for example, pole fire screens, carved and gilt girandole, a reading stand, tea caddies, a spinning wheel and card tables. The complete contents of the house were ‘valued and appraised at the sum of £409 15s 6d’ which included listed items of copperware, the contents of the wine cellar, china and glass, linen, plate, books and finally ‘the whole of the wearing apparel’.
Although entertaining, it would seem, was a thing of the past the wine cellar boasted 70 bottles of port, 98 of sherry, 151 of Madeira, 71 of Buccllas, 32 of Lisbon, 32 of Vidonia and 3 of rum along with 37 dozen empty bottles ready for collection. Beer was also delivered frequently from the nearby Swan Brewhouse with the last delivery being on the 15 April. Mrs Hunt’s reading materials were listed separately being predominately published sermons by the likes of Blair, Carr and Gilpen, and contemporary literature as Eveline, Ceceilia, Tom Jones, Mysteries of Udolpho and the Vicar of Wakefield. Her regular newspaper was the Herald and her £1 1s annual subscription to the Philanthropic Society’s Manufactory in St George’s Field ensured that repairs of all kinds, from bookbinding to shoe repairs, tailors work to the supply of rope were taken into account.
A collection of invoices and receipts dating from New Year 1824 shows that despite Mrs Hunt’s state of debility, her life continued to have some semblance of normality. In the house itself maintenance work was carried out on the kitchen range, the copperware was repaired and tinned, the glazier inserted some green glass into a stained panel, the chimney sweep and draper called and kitchen utensils were purchased. Stoddart &Co repaired a mahogany table in January, the plumbers repaired the water pump in March and Glossop, the oilman, delivered 2 gallon of spurn oil every fortnight. As for the staff, the butler, John Tyrell, received a new striped waistcoat, a pair of black velveteen breeches, a light blue livery second cloth coat and a hat costing in total over £13.
Many of the invoices correlate to the cost of living in London. Tax was a costly outgoing. Mrs Hunt’s two resident staff accrued a male servant’s tax of £1 11s plus hair powder tax at £1 3s 6d. Interestingly enough the servants wages were often listed and paid through Anna Maria’s household accounts although the money was always recompensed by her mother. Mrs Hunt’s four wheeled carriage, which was on hire from a T Barnes, cost £67 8s per annum complete with fitments with a further expense of £3 tax per annum. As the invoice was dated for the year commencing 2 May 1824, it would appear that Anna Maria had the use of it throughout that year, she continued to pay the tax of £3 for 1825. Other excises incurred included amorial bearing tax at £1 4s, Parish tax comprising of church rate, poor and highways rate, watch rate and paving, repairing, cleansing and lighting rate, combined totalled £9 7s for 2 quarters. The pew rent for Grosvenor Chapel amounted to £6 16s 6d per annum, this was paid 6 days before Mrs Hunt’s death. Lastly, to the Office of Grand Junction Water Works,Brook Street, water rates were due to the sum of £3 3s and a receipt from a Mr James London for £1 1s was paid for the watering ofSouth Audley Street.
Mrs Hunt’s physical deterioration was also well documented. By the age of 51 her teeth and gums were particularly painful, she accordingly took Crews Tincture, a mixture of myrrh and bark to alleviate the pain. Another prescription for Spence’s bark Tincture was given by ‘Jones the Chemist of Covent Garden opposite Bridges Street’. There appears to have been some adverse affects from this dubious concoction as a subsequent piece of correspondence records ‘Mr Spence would have you see Jones himself I believe there is something more than bark in the bottle’. Soon after she was applying camphorated julep to her aching teeth and using Farquhar’s water dock medicine for ‘decoction’. However, her health was worsening by 1804 when she was considered ‘…too ill to execute’ Anna Maria’s marriage settlement. In 1813, while at Bedford Square in Brighton, Mrs Hunt was receiving prescriptions from London for senna laxatives, a jaundice cure, emetic and a mixture to alleviate pain in the bowel. Thereafter movements of the bowel seemed to take some prominence in letters to her daughter. The amount of draughts prescribed in her last two weeks had increased from three to six and there was a regular application of leeches. Bedsores too were a problem, cold creams and blister dressings were recommend. She had heat in the windpipe, her eyes and mouth had developed sores which were treated relatively effectively and Mr Fordham, surgeon and apothecary has also visited prescribing further sleeping pills and fever powders. In the last three and a half months of her life Mr Andrews the apothecary had supplied in total a considerable £56 5s 6d of medicines and cures.
Mrs Mary Hunt died two days after a visit by Mr Andrews on 19 April 1824. The day after Mrs Hunt’s death Jonathon Jones removed ‘the feather bed & bolster of the best bed’ for cleaning, stuffing and pressing. On 21 April Mrs Hunt’s death notice was inserted into the Herald, the Times, the Carrier and the Chronicle at a cost of £1 17s. The announcement ran
On the 19th inst., at her house, in South Audley- Street, loved and respected by all that knew her, Mary, relict of the late Thomas Hunt, Esq., aged 85.
The Stamp office recorded that she had £194 7s 6d cash in the house, £4,548 16s 2d in the bank and her estate was valued at £55,742 6s 7d on which 1% stamp duty was charged. Her only surviving daughter Anna Maria Agar was the sole beneficiary of the will although her most loyal servants Mary Jones, Phillippa Sleep and John Tyrell, were given very generous bequests of £600, £500 and £400 respectively. On 2 June 1824 the same staff received outstanding wages for the period up to and including 19 April. Two staff, Sarah Tyrell and Dorothy Shipman also received outstanding wages with lesser legacies of £10 each. John Tyrell, Mrs Hunt’s Butler, helped sort out her estate paying many of the bills.
Mrs Hunt’s funeral was, as expected, a lavish affair. The undertaker Mr Jones of 29 Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, presented his bill on the 28 May 1824for £99 15s 6d. By comparison when Mrs Hunt’s grandson died 6 years prior, his funeral amounted to £38 7s 6d. On 20 April mourning hats were commissioned from Joseph Slack for the Butler and 2 footmen and four days later Ann Hird made mourning livery for the butler comprising of black second cloth coat, waistcoat and breeches with epaulet. A further invoice also dated 24 April for Ann Hird itemises some higher status mourning clothing being a superfine black cloth coat and a black kerseymere waistcoat and breeches. Amongst the funeral accoutrements were the best black ‘ostridge’ feathers, a hearse and 2 mourning coaches with 6 horses and 10 horses respectively and a funeral hatchment. Of the personnel required for such a grand affair, 4 coach pages, 8 horse pages, 3 coach men, 2 porters, 4 manservant’s and 3 feather men were employed with an allowance for their refreshment given at £1 13s. Another major expense were the dues presented to ‘St Georges new ground for new longer vault’. On 14 June 1824 Mrs Agar paid 40 guineas for ‘a space in No 3 New Burial Vault in St Georges Row 6ft 6in long and 2ft 6in wide’. On the 28 July the bodies of Anna Maria’s husband, two children and mother were removed from various parts of the burial vault into the private vault at a cost of 15s. Two days later William Parker, Furnishing Ironmonger, was paid £22 4s for ‘ironwork to enclose a private burial vault and inscription plate on the gate in vault under the chapel in St Georges Row’ the ‘large brass plate’ read ‘The family Burial Vault of Mrs A.M.Agar’.
As for No76 South Audley Streetthe marriage settlement of Anna Maria and Charles Bagenal Agar from 1804 states that
…upon the death of her mother [Anna Maria] will become entitled by virtue of her said father’s will to have two dwelling houses situate in South Audley Street aforesaid of the yearly value of £300.
After the irksome task of winding up her mother’s estate Anna Maria took a well deserved thirteen week break in Ramsgate. Before visiting family in Chesterin December she had to sort out the future of No.76 South Audley Street.  An agreement of lease was drawn up in August 1824 ‘by Joseph Slack of South Audley Street on the part of Mrs Agar of 1 Dean Street and Robert Jerrad of Oxford Street on the part of Lady Maria Cotes of 37 Charles Street Berkley Square’. Slack was evidently a trusted friend of Mrs Hunt and Anna Maria Agar as in June 1815 he witnessed a promissory note between the two for seven thousand pounds. In September 1824 Dame Maria Cotes occupied the house complete with all fixtures at a rent of £290 per annum. Finally, as an incidental footnote to this paper maybe the cosmopolitan nature of theSouth Audley Street area was portrayed by an interesting clause added to the lease
…a further yearly rent or sum of £50 in case the dwelling be used or occupied as for a Butchers House or shops or Slaughter House Brewhouse or Coffee House or shall be used by a Tallow Chandler or Melter of Tallow, Soapmaker, tobacco pipe maker victualler distiller farrier pewterer working brazier or blacksmith or in for or about any other noisy noxious or offensive trade or business whatsoever.
 J.W. Clarke, Mollington Hall,
 Alex Kidson, George Romney (1734-1802), National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p78
 George and Thomas Hunt were the first and third born of Mary Vere Robartes (d.1758) of Lanhydrock and Thomas Hunt (1684-1739). Will of Thomas Hunt dated4 June 1788.Cornwall Record Office CL 1307. Thomas Hunt was buried ‘near the remains of my Dear Child in thechurch ofSt Mary’s in the City ofChester’, his eldest daughter Mary Vere died in 1780 aged 14.
 Housed in a small jewellery case are numerous outstanding invoices and settled receipts carefully gathered together by her dedicated daughter, Mrs Anna Maria Agar in the weeks after her mother’s death.
 Thanks to Alex Kidson for this information. George Hunt lived at6 Seymour Street
 LAN/2/JLE/19 & 21 letters dated6/1/1804 &6/10/1804. CRO CL416
 CL303. (CL416). Mary Hunt and Elizabeth Lewis were witnesses to the marriage.
 There subsequent homes were at11 Great Cumberland Street and in 1808 they moved out of town toKingston-on-Thames.
 CRO CL416, Baptism registers
 Charles Agar probate
 For an excellent background to this area ofMayfair in the eighteenth century refer to Tara Draper, ‘No 10 Hertford Street, Georgian Group Journal, Volume IX, 1999, pp116-17E. Beresford Chancellor p208, Tim Mowl and Brian Earnshaw, An Insular Rococo, 1999, p174
Westminster Archives Centre, St George,Hanover Square Ratebooks, 1740. For details of Shepherd’s career see Colvin, pp.864-5. Survey ofLondon, Chapter XVI, p 290
Westminster Archives Centre, St George,Hanover Square Ratebooks, 1795-1824. Mrs Hunt also paid rates fore her tenants between 1789-1792. I would like to thank John Greenacombe of the Survey of London for his help.
 CL303. The Picture of London for 1803,London, 1803, pp63-4. CL303
 Payments made to ‘Mortlock, Collector, 19,New Norfolk Street’.
 Paul Holden. Lanhydrock House, (National Trust, 2008)
 Taken by H. Mathews, 16 Bridge Row, Walbrook and Jonathan Jones,29 Duke Street,Grosvenor Square.
 In particular compare LMA 69/1267 (No 76 Library) to NMR 75/12/23698 (No 74)
 Appraisal was dated19 May 1824 the day before the inventory date. The invoice of £12 was received by Jonathan Jones on28 May 1824.
 W & C Feetham, Patent Stove makers and Furnishing Ironmongers No 9 Ludgate Hill andNo296 Oxford Street. Invoice for purchases between 9 January and 15 April. Geo Watts painter and plumber £11 3s 6d
 Messrs Stoddart & Elgin, 13 South Street, Joseph Sear, Plumber 35 Mount Street, Francis Glossop 180 Piccadilly opp Burlington House,
 See note – hat bought from Joseph Slack, Hatter and Hosier of 62 South Audley Street costing £1 11s
 The bill was paid on26 May 1824. Tax paid on Lady Day 1825.
 The water works office was on the Corner of South Molton Street.
 Recipe for ‘Tincture for the Teeth’ 1791
 Undated recipe being ‘1 pint Tincture of bark, 1 pint arquabesade’ once mixed with 4 times the quantity of water.
 Note marked ‘Mrs Hunt Spence for teeth’
 LAN.EP.393 & 4. Her concern over health issues extended to her daughter pregnancy when a Mary Sawbridge and Mrs Barnes recommended a ‘plaister’ applied to the back to prevent miscarriage Her concern over health issues extended to her daughter pregnancy when a Mary Sawbridge and Mrs Barnes recommended a ‘plaister’ applied to the back to prevent miscarriage. LAN.EP.388. Dated 19 May and delivered to Mrs Hunt by a faithful servant
 Draughts numbered 1-4 from Mr Brande cover datedOct 17 1813
 A letter from C. Berers, dated May 6th states ‘I hope you will find as much good, as I have, and is very pleasant and cool to ones throat – I recommend it to all that have heat in the wind-pipe’. E.P. Fordham, Surgeon invoice for 7 February to10 April 1824 amounted to £2 3s 6d
 Letter C Berers to Mrs Hunt, Audley Street, Thursday May 6th.
 Invoice dated20 April 1824. J Jones of 29 Duke Street,Grosvenor Square charged £2 5s..
 The Times,Wednesday, April 21, 1824.
 Stamp Office Register HY No.2 Fol. 430 dated15 July 1825
 In July 1824 John Tyrell received the annual ground rent of £1 11s of John Bridges
 Full itinerary of expenses dated19 April 1824 ‘The Hon Mrs Agar (to J Jones ) for the Funeral of Mrs Mary Hunt’. The money was paid to Jonathon Jones on28 May 1824
 Bill from Bruneton Shinger,10 Marshall St,Golden Square. DatedJuly 25 1818.
 Invoiced dated15 April 1824 from Ann Hird, seamstress. With two further second cloth jackets, pair of cord breeches and waistcoat the invoice amounted to £11 6s 6d.
 Paid to the Parish of St George Hanover Square received by Mr Parker. The agreement says that the enclosure will be surrounded by ‘iron railing at the expense of the said Mrs Agar’ and that the ‘regular burial fee to be paid on each corpse being brought into the vault – the sum now paid being to secure the place – £42.
 Invoice dated 27 July William Parker, no185 Oxford Street. Receipt dated 30 July.
 Courtney Library HJ/1977/44
 Written on29 June 1815 and signed by Mary Hunt.