BURNEY, Charles (1726-1814). Musician, author and father of Fanny Burney.
Autograph draft (signed 'C.B.') of a letter to Rebecca, Lady Northwick (1740-1818), 1 page 8vo, no place, no date [ca 1811]. Docketed by Fanny Burney with one of her editorial symbols, headed by Burney 'Lady Rushout [Lady Northwick's earlier title] for Miss Paton'.
Asking her to support a performance of Miss Paton, a promising nine-year-old musician, and praising her own musicianship. With an autograph draft of a note to Miss Paton on the verso.
'... Your ladyship [is] ... able to play on your fine Organ in Handel's best style, with highly refined & cultivated powers of extemporaneous effusions & mistresslike strains as no dilettante performer I ever heard was able to produce. ...'
The Earl of Buchan [David Steuart Erskine] had asked Burney to promote the talents of Miss Paton, 'a miraculous child', so the 85-year-old Burney writes to Lady Northwick with the promise that he can supply tickets to Miss Paton's performance ('not being able to go out to canvass personally') and thereby 'convince Ld Buchan that I have not been .. .idle in a cause so powerfully recommended by his Lord[shi]p. ...'
On the verso is a further draft note by Burney to Miss Paton, sending money for Lady Northwick's and his own tickets and suggesting a time for meeting her and her parents.
Mary Ann Paton (1802-1864) first performed in concerts in Edinburgh at the age of eight, and was praised (as in this letter) for her 'musical knowledge & performance as well as perfect recitation of prose & verse'. She later became a well-known operatic soprano, her greatest triumph being her impersonation of Rezia in the first performance of Weber's 'Oberon' in 1826.
This draft has been marked by Fanny Burney with one of her characteristic editorial symbols: a slanted cross with four dots. She used these symbols to classify her father's letters in preparation for a projected volume of his correspondence which was to follow the 1832 edition of his memoirs.