Tickets and Passes of London from the David Young Collection
Date of Auction: 5th June 2019
Sold for £100
Estimate: £150 - £200
FootnoteProvenance: Bt October 2004.
Carlisle House, located on Soho square, was the venue for Teresa Cornelys’s fabulous masquerades, which were the talk of London society in the 1760s. ‘Mrs’ Cornelys (1723-97), a former lover of Antonio Casanova, by whom she had a daughter, was originally a singer at King’s Theatre in the Haymarket. In 1760, with the help of her then lover, John Fermor, she took a lease on Carlisle House and, while redecorating it, became acquainted with the Duchess of Kingston, maid of honour of Princess Augusta, mother of the new king George III. Between them they gathered together influential and wealthy people to subscribe to Cornelys’s social events, the first of which was held in November 1760. Increasingly popular among the fashionable set with up to 600 guests at each meeting, contemporaries described these packed gatherings, and the clothes and outrageous outfits being worn by some, with peculiar disdain. In 1771 Cornelys began staging operatic performances, but without the necessary licence, for which she was fined at Bow Street and then indicted for keeping “a common disorderly house”. The following year she was declared bankrupt and then led a chequered life, ultimately dying in the Fleet prison; her obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine described her as “the distinguished priestess of fashion”