This file is about some of the friends Henrietta (Etta) and Henry Paget had. They had a lot more friends than those mentioned below – they were a very sociable couple. But only some of them are traceable now, the ones - mostly male – who have had books written about them, or figure in books on other people. I’m sure that the networks of male friends that form the basis of those books were mirrored in relationships between their women-folk – mothers, wives, daughters – but precious little information about the women’s networks has survived.


Just explaining why this file exists: Henrietta and Henry Marriott Paget were both members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Henrietta was initiated in 1892 and Henry in 1894.




I have more to say about the Heatherley School of Fine Art in my file on Etta and Henry as artists. The most important people Etta and Henry met at Heatherley’s were each other; but I also want to mention three other men and one woman they made friends with there.



Samuel Butler (born 1835 and thus much older than either of them) is better-known as the author of the Utopian satire Erewhon than as an artist; but he did pay for space at Heatherley’s for some years after Erewhon was published (in 1872), and made friends there. Erewhon was published anonymously, but I presume he told his friends that he was the author. In a letter to his sister, written in August 1879, Samuel described having worked “intimately” with both Henry and Etta, at Heatherley’s, for nearly ten years. Henry was also one of a group of people who regularly met at Samuel’s home on Euston Road. It’s likely that this group was all-male, Butler being notoriously misogynistic; though Etta is quoted as having been fond of Samuel (I doubt if the reverse was true) and going with Henry to call on him from time to time. When Etta and Henry got married, they went on a long wedding trip which included some weeks staying with Samuel in Switzerland.


I think the friendship tailed off, however, after 1879. Henry Paget knuckled down to earning enough to keep his wife and children. Samuel – as you might expect – was a lifelong bachelor. By a series of lucky inheritances he was rich enough by the late 1880s to spend large parts of the year in Italy. It’s noticeable that in his memoir of Samuel, Henry Festing Jones doesn’t mention the Pagets after that wedding trip. And in 1914, when Henry gave a speech at the annual Erewhon Dinner, he focused on his student days with Samuel in the 70s.




Another student at Heatherley’s who later gave up art for something else creative was Johnston Forbes-Robertson (1853-1937), the great actor and actor-manager. Though Forbes-Robertson spent time at Heatherley’s, Henry Paget could have met him first at the Royal Academy schools, before Forbes-Robertson was offered a professional acting role in a play in 1874. Forbes-Robertson then joined Henry Irving’s theatre company, playing second-leads to Irving, before founding his own company. He was considered a great Shakespearean actor, with very good diction; and was the best Hamlet of his day. In 1900 he married actress Gertrude Elliott (1874-1950). Forbes-Robertson was knighted in 1913, and retired from acting in 1915 though he continued to produce plays. Etta and Henry’s friendship with Forbes-Robertson also lasted many years, though as he was often out of London on tour I don’t think they met regularly. Their daughter Dorothy (born 1882) wanted to be an actress from her childhood. In the early 1900s, Dorothy was able to find some acting work but I get the impression that – in this over-subscribed profession – she wasn’t good enough to work regularly. Around 1906, Dorothy joined Forbes-Robertson’s theatre company and I wonder how much of a personal favour to her parents that job was. In any case, she and her parents will all have had to take it as read that Gertrude Elliott would have the pick of the female roles in any play the company produced. The editors of W B Yeats’ letters mentioned that Dorothy’s best performance was as Charmian in Forbes-Robertson’s production of Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra, that toured the USA in 1906/07 before having a season at the Savoy Theatre in London. She was still with the company in 1908 and appeared as the Player Queen in a production of Hamlet that toured the north of England; she married Percy Rhodes, the man who played the Ghost of Hamlet’s father in that production.



THOMAS COOPER GOTCH and CAROLINE GOTCH though most of the available information is about Thomas.

One fellow-student of the Pagets at Heatherley’s who actually stuck with painting was Thomas Cooper Gotch. Etta and Henry also knew Gotch’s future wife Caroline Burland Yates; she too was at Heatherley’s. Though Gotch did not like Heatherley’s and left after only a few months, he was very active socially while he was there. He and a group which included Etta, Henry and Caroline Yates formed a Shakespeare reading club; and he got to know not only Etta and Henry, but also Henry’s artist brothers Sidney and Walter, and one of their sisters – the account I found didn’t say which one. It was Henry who first introduced Gotch to Samuel Butler. And many years later Henry tried (unsuccessfully I think) to persuade the publisher Charles Kegan Paul to take punt on some of Gotch’s poetry.



ISABEL DE STEIGER who probably carries on into BEDFORD PARK

Though the evidence for the next friendship is mostly educated guesses by me, I think that Etta at least got to know future GD member Isabel de Steiger at Heatherley’s. I explain why I think they knew each other before they were in the GD, in my file on the Pagets’ GD activities.



Sources Heatherley’s:

Heatherley’s was founded in 1845 and still exists, though not at the rooms Etta and Henry will have known, in Newman Street off Oxford Street: see its website at

The Collected Letters of George Gissing 1892-1895 by Gissing and Paul F Matthieson, Arthur C Young and Pierre Coustillas. Ohio University Press 1994 p272 footnote 8 (which is actually about Henry’s younger brother Walter Paget 1863-1935) says that all three Paget brothers studied at Heatherley’s School of Art.


Samuel Butler:

The Correspondence of Samuel Butler with his Sister May edited and with an introduction by Daniel F Howard. University of Cambridge Press; University of California Press 1962: pp80-81 and p81 footnote 3: letter Samuel to May, 21 August 1879, written from Mesocco, Grisons in Switzerland. Samuel let Mary know that he’d be staying at the address on the letter until September.

Samuel Butler: A Memoir Part 2 by Henry Festing Jones. Googlebooks using the 2004 edition: p430. George Bernard Shaw also spoke at the 1914 Erewhon Dinner, which was the first one that women had been allowed to attend.

Samuel Butler’s wikipedia page suggests that Samuel was homosexual. Henry Festing Jones was the last in a series of intense relationships Samuel had with other men; though the wikipedia article doubts that any of the relationships involved sex.


Johnston Forbes-Robertson:

Samuel Butler; Author of Erewhon 1835-1902 : A Memoir Part 1 by Henry Festing Jones 1968: p134 names Johnston Forbes-Robertson as a fellow student at Heatherley’s.

Forbes-Robertson’s wikipedia page and for the date of his first acting job.

I found the reference to Dorothy as Charmian in Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 2 1896-1900 editors Warwick Gould, John Kelly, Deirdre Toomey. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997: p395 footnote 1. Searching google I found several reviews of the production but none of them gave a full cast-list and none of them mentioned Charmian; so I don’t know what contemporary theatre critics thought of Dorothy’s performance. Forbes-Robertson played Caesar – a role Shaw had written with him in mind – and Gertrude Elliott played Cleopatra.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser Thur 19 March 1908 p12 gives the cast-list for the Forbes-Robertson’s production of Hamlet, which was playing at the Princes Theatre. The production was made into a silent (!) film in 1913. The wikipedia page on the film gives the cast; though Percy Rhodes was still playing the ghost, Olive Richardson was the Player Queen. Perhaps Dorothy – who had children by this time – had left the company.


Thomas Cooper Gotch:

A Long Engagement 1878-81: Cameos from the Life and Times of Thomas Cooper Gotch by Pamela Lomax 2002. Shears and Hogg Publications. Based on Gotch’s papers at the Tate Archive which include letters from Henry Paget. About Heatherley’s address in 1878: p3. About Gotch’s friendship with Etta and Henry: p3. About Henry, Butler and Gotch: p46.

Winter in Florence 1891-92: Cameos from the Life of Thomas Cooper Gotch by Pamela Lomax 2001. Shears and Hogg Publications. P1 establishes that after several years living in Paris, the Gotches were amongst the first artists to settle in Cornwall, moving there in 1887. So the friendship between the Pagets and the Gotches won’t have been an ‘every day’ one. This book has no mention of the Pagets in it.




The Yeats family:

John Butler Yeats and his family moved to Bedford Park at about the same time as the Pagets. They leased 8 Woodstock Road from 1879 to 1881, spent the next few years in Ireland and then moved into 3 Blenheim Road Bedford Park in March 1888. Henry and Etta and their family soon knew all the Yeatses but (this may be an accident of the records that have survived) it seems that two relationships in particular were close: that of John Butler Yeats and Henry Paget – two artists together; and that of W B Yeats and Florence Farr – the poet/dramatist and his muse.


In 1890 John Butler Yeats wrote to his friend John O’Leary (whom Henry Paget painted that year), “The Pagets I of course see constantly”. John drew Etta several times though he doesn’t seem to have worked up any of the sketches into a finished portrait. She was a woman with children and only one servant - perhaps she didn’t have time to sit for him for that long! He also went with Henry on at least one occasion to hear talks at the Art Workers’ Guild (Henry was a member). When the Pagets left Bedford Park in 1896, John missed that almost daily contact with them very much.


Henry Paget painted a portrait of W B Yeats - complete with beard – in April 1889. It’s now in the Ulster Museum.


The friendship between W B Yeats (Willie) and Florence Farr went in two different directions, resulting in several plays, and in attempts to recite poetry and drama with musical accompaniment. Many of those projects involved the Pagets. Theh friendship also resulted in Florence being initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn, whither Etta and Henry and several others amongst their friends followed her; though I note that none of Etta or Henry’s siblings did so. Recital-with-music is a technique Florence is best known for now; perhaps you can think of it as an early version of performance poetry. It was an idea of W B Yeats, and Etta and GD member Blanche Elliott also tried it; though Florence was the only one to do so in public. Florence began, at least, by reciting pieces by Yeats – extracts from the play Countess Cathleen, for example; and the poem Inisfree - accompanying herself on a hand-held harp. Though Florence’s biographer mentions Henry trying to mend some kind of stringed instrument as early as 1897, Florence did not give a public performance with harp until 1901. Etta’s two daughters learned to play the psaltery to accompany Florence in her early concerts; though I haven’t found any records of them doing the reciting as well.


In 1894 Florence persuaded Willie to write a short play for Henry and Etta’s daughter Dorothy who was already stage-struck at the age of two. W B Yeats wrote Land of Heart’s Desire for her, and she played the fairy child. Florence coached Dorothy in the role on the little stage in one of the rooms in 1 The Orchard, where the Pagets lived. Land of Heart’s Desire was performed at the Avenue Theatre in 1894, in a double-bill with a work by John Todhunter – a very Bedford Park affair. I think Henry Paget designed the sets for the double production: John Butler Yeats sent his daughter Lily a description of Henry trying to mend a set of tapestries in time for the performance, laying them out on the floor and crawling all over them – presumably with needle and thread – and not wanting to stop work even for his meals.


In 1899 Willie wanted Dorothy to play the title role in a production of his play Countess Cathleen, and was furious when his collaborator, George Moore, wouldn’t have it on the grounds that she lacked experience. Instead, May Whitty played the Countess and Dorothy was given a Prologue to speak. The involvement of the Pagets in W B Yeats’ plays went on until 1905, when Henry was asked to design the sets for a production of Yeats’ The Shadowy Waters.


John Todhunter:

Like the Yeats’s, John Todhunter (1839-1916) was Irish. He and his wife Dora (née Digby) lived for a short time Bedford Park in 1881, at 27 Bath Road. They then went back to Ireland until 1887/88, when they moved into number 3 The Orchard (called Oxfordcroft), where they were the Pagets’ next-door-neighbours. The Todhunters had three children.


John Butler Yeats and John Todhunter had been close friends in Ireland and renewed that friendship in Bedford Park. Both men had given up a career in the professions for something more creative; John had trained as a barrister and dropped out to become a painter; Todhunter was a qualified doctor who dropped out for a life in literature. They also both suffered from not being quite good enough at their chosen creative field to be successful and remembered. Todhunter wrote poems and plays, essays and biographies, gave lectures on a variety of literary subjects, and did a translation of poems from the German.


It’s likely the Pagets didn’t know the Todhunters very well in the mid-1880s because they played no part in the production of John Todhunter’s Helena of Troas, a retelling of the last days of Troy, which caused quite a stir in May 1886: it was a very high-profile production, with the Prince of Wales agreeing to be its patron and attending the first performance, and professional actors including Herbert Beerbohm Tree and his wife Helen Maud Holt taking the major roles. It involved reorganising Hengler’s Circus to be as much like an ancient Greek theatre as possible. Henry did a drawing of the Circus, as altered for the play, and the Pagets probably went to one of the six performances of it.


Florence Farr collaborated with John Todhunter in performances of several of his plays in the early 1890s; and the Pagets had some involvement in two of them, amateur productions, staged in Bedford Park. The performance of A Sicilian Idyll in 1890 was a very Bedford Park affair, staged in the local community rooms and with Florence Farr and Henry Paget taking its leading roles. Despite being an amateur performance it got a review in the Times. The Times’ reviewer praised its scenery and costumes – some of which were probably designed and made by the Pagets – and also Florence’s performance as Amaryllis; but clearly felt the play was let down by Henry Paget’s inability to do the “Petruchio-like Aleander” justice.


In March 1894, Todhunter’s play A Comedy of Sighs was in another double-bill with Willie Yeats’ Land of Heart’s Desire, the play for children in which Dorothy Paget made her stage debut. Florence Farr produced both plays and starred in them and Henry Paget did work on the set. George Bernard Shaw went to the first performance and I’m sure the Pagets did too, though I can’t find confirmation of that. Land of Heart’s Desire went off well enough but A Comedy of Sighs was a disaster. The Times’ review described it as full of misplaced wit, spoken to “a running commentary of titters” from the audience. Todhunter was jeered when he took a curtain call and afterwards a lot of blame for what went wrong flew about, most of it landing on Florence’s shoulders.


There were productions of works by Todhunter after A Comedy of Sighs, but not many and I’m not sure the Pagets were involved with any of them.


The Todhunters were still living at 3 The Orchard when John died in 1916.


Not sure he’s a friend really – George Bernard Shaw:

Shaw was Florence Farr’s friend more than he was a friend of the Pagets. He wrote the part of Blanche Sartorius in Widowers’ Houses (1892) for her and hoped to have a relationship with Florence like the one he eventually had with Beatrice Tanner – Mrs Patrick Campbell. Unless it’s been wrongly dated, Shaw and Henry Paget must have known each other in 1888 – a sketch Henry did of Shaw on a page in his pocket-book was kept by Shaw. Shaw’s published diaries begin with 1885 but the first meeting with any of the Pagets that is mentioned in them was when Shaw called on Florence on 8 December 1890 and found Etta with her. The next time a Paget is mentioned is in January 1892 when Shaw and Henry Paget came across each other at a dress rehearsal of Hamlet at the Haymarket Theatre. Shaw’s subsequent diary references to the Pagets are no compliment to them: he spent the evening with them on 11 March 1892 but only after he’d been next door and found the Todhunters were not at home; he called on the Pagets on 18 December 1892 after he had missed the train he should have caught to call on someone else. Then he seems not to have seen the Pagets until 23 January 1894, when he went round to Florence Farr’s rooms in Dalling Road. He hoped – as he usually did – to find her alone but instead found W B Yeats with her. Florence then took both her visitors to the Pagets where – Shaw noted – they played with “[Henry] Paget’s toy cannons and soldiers for a while” before staying to tea. Shaw read everyone the prologue to the play he was working on at the time, which was not named in his diary but was probably Arms and the Man.


In late 1895, the Pagets moved in with Florence in Dalling Road. Shaw – again wanting to see Florence on her own – began to find them a real nuisance! For example, on one particular day Shaw turned up, wanting to read his script of Candida to Florence; but he couldn’t get any quiet – the house was full of people with Henry at work in the midst of the hubbub, doing a drawing of the funeral of Sir Frederick Leighton. A more successful attempt by Shaw to read a play happened after the Pagets had moved to Hampstead: in February 1897, Shaw read his The Devil’s Disciple to Etta, Henry and Frederick York Powell; it’s not clear from his diary entry whether Florence was there as well. The play-reading never blossomed into a closer friendship between Shaw and the Pagets; though he did write a letter of condolence to Etta when Florence died, and kept up a sporadic contact with them until the 1940s.



The York Powells – Frederick and Florence:

I don’t think the Pagets knew Frederick York Powell and his family until they moved to Bedford Park. Frederick was born in 1850 to Frederick Powell and his wife Mary, née York. Frederick Powell senior ran an import/export business with offices in the City of London. The family was well-to-do and lived in Walthamstow, then still a village beyond London’s outskirts. The Pagets’ friend Frederick went to prep school and then Rugby, and then studied history and law at Christ Church Oxford; William George Kitchin, whose portrait Henry later painted, was instrumental in getting Frederick into Christ Church. Graduating in 1872 with a first, Frederick was offered a lectureship in law at Oxford University in 1874; and on the strength of that, married Florence Batten, a young widow. Frederick only lived in Oxford during the week; at the weekends he returned to London. After several years living in Clapton, Frederick, Florence and Florence’s two daughters – another Florence, and Carlotta - moved to 2 Priory Gardens Bedford Park, probably during 1880. They had a daughter (Florence’s third child, Frederick’s only one) in 1884; Mariella Powell was a couple of years younger than the Pagets’ Dorothy.


Frederick had been interested in the Icelandic sagas since childhood. In 1877, he started work with the Icelandic scholar Gúdrandr Vigfússon (1828-89), firstly on an English/Icelandic lexicon, then on translations of Icelandic literature, and lastly on the history of Icelandic culture, a project that was not finished at Vigfússon’s death. During term-time the work went on at Oxford but in the vacations, the two men would work in Bedford Park.


The memoir of Frederick York Powell that was compiled by his friend Oliver Elton does focus on Frederick’s friendships with the men who met at the talking-shops Frederick held – on Thursdays in Oxford and on Sunday afternoons in Bedford Park. Henry Paget definitely went to some at least of the Sunday sessions and I think so too did the men of the Yeats family. However, the friendship between Henry Paget and Frederick York Powell was more than just intellectual talk. The Pagets had helped Frederick weather 1888, a terrible year for him in which his wife died suddenly, aged only 38, and so did her daughter Carlotta. Elton mentions a day out that Henry and Frederick went on, in 1892 with one of the Pagets’ daughters; taking in Madame Tussaud’s before going out to Chorleywood. And in 1893, the Pagets and Frederick, his step-daughter Florence and daughter Mariella went on holiday together, firstly to Broadstairs and then to St German’s in Cornwall.


At Frederick’s request, Henry Paget painted a sketch of Vigfússon in 1880, and a fully worked-up portrait in 1885. In a letter to a friend Frederick described Henry “painting swiftly and hard...with the painter’s inspiration on him” while Frederick and Vigfússon carried on with their translation work, Henrietta sat sewing children’s clothes, and the children ran in and out of the room.


When the Pagets left Bedford Park, Frederick continued to visit them. However, their going caused him to feel less at home in Bedford Park himself. In 1902 he and his step-daughter and daughter moved permanently to Oxford. He may already have been ill by that time; he died in 1904.



Not quite a friendship – Charles Dodgson/Lewis Carroll:

In 1885, Henry painted a portrait of the Oxford University theologian Henry Parry Liddon. He went to Oxford to work on the painting, with Liddon seated in the college rooms of Liddon’s friend Charles Dodgson – Lewis Carroll. Dodgson took an interest in the work, and Henry suggested that when he had a nude model working for him, Dodgson come to his studio to do some drawings. Dodgson wrote to another friend that he hoped the nude model would be a child but was willing to settle for an adult woman if that was all that was available. On 5 June 1885, Dodgson spent two hours in the Pagets’ home, watching Henry working in the studio and meeting Gladys and Dorothy; though he doesn’t seem to have done any drawing himself during the visit and never did take up Henry’s offer of time with the nude model. So no friendship developed between Lewis Carroll and the Pagets.



Is this a friendship? - GD member Isabel de Steiger:

There’s no direct evidence for Etta and Henry knowing artist Isabel before they were all GD members but see my file on the Pagets in the GD, for why I think they were acquainted before then. Isabel had been at Heatherley’s when Etta and Henry were there, and she lived round the corner from them from 1886 to 1889, at 3 Woodstock Road Bedford Park. The Pagets are not mentioned in Isabel’s memoir, but hardly anyone from the GD is.




The Fairfax-Cholmeleys – Hugh Charles and Alice Jane:

A very detailed website on the life of Hugh Fairfax-Cholmeley states that he met Henry Paget at one of Frederick York Powell’s Sunday afternoons; in Bedford Park, in 1893 or 1894. On the face of it, Hugh and Henry didn’t have much in common: Hugh had been born into the landed gentry of Yorkshire in 1864, and had been a student of Frederick York Powell at Christ Church Oxford. However, Hugh broke down many barriers in his life and one of the first he pushed through was on leaving university, when he went to live for a time in the social-reform community of Toynbee Hall in London’s east end. He inherited the family estate at Brandsby in 1889 but kept up his connection to Toynbee Hall. He began to update the way his estate was run, and the relationship of himself and his family to the people they employed. The Pagets kept up some kind of friendship with him after they moved to Hampstead in 1897, and it led Hugh, in 1903, to commission Henry to paint a portrait of his fiancée Alice Jane Moverley (born in 1884), as a wedding present for her. In choosing to marry Alice, Hugh had really put his money where his mouth was, socially – she was the daughter of his gardener. However, there were limits to Hugh’s social-reforming zeal: before their marriage, Hugh sent Alice to London for a time, to be educated for her future status as the wife of a land-owner. He probably found a place for her to live in Hampstead, because they were married at St Dominic’s Priory, very close to the Pagets’ Hampstead home, in October 1903. So I think the Pagets knew Alice before she was married, as a friend. Hugh and Alice Fairfax-Cholmeley lived in Hampstead for a couple of years after the marriage, at 6 Wychcombe Gardens. Their two eldest children were born there. Henrietta Paget painted Alice with her son Francis; that painting and Henry’s wedding portrait of Alice were both shown at the Royal Academy in 1906. However, Hugh and Alice and their children left Hampstead to live permanently on the Brandsby estate in 1907, and I suppose the friendship between the two families lapsed.



Probably just HAMPSTEAD

The Dryhursts – Alfred Robert and Nannie:

I don’t think the Henry and Etta knew the Dryhursts before the Pagets moved to Hampstead. They were probably introduced to the Dryhursts by or through George Bernard Shaw. Shaw had known Alfred Dryhurst since 1886; they were both members of the Fabian Society. Nannie was also a close friend of Shaw though her politics and social views were more radical than either Shaw’s or her husband’s – for many years she wrote for the anarchist magazine Freedom, founded by Charlotte Wilson (its first editor) and Pyotr Kropotkin.


Alfred Dryhurst was a Londoner, born in 1860 to George Dryhurst and his wife Mary. George Dryhurst ran his own building firm and also owned a series of properties which he rented out. In 1878 Alfred went to work for the British Museum. Until 1908 he worked in the BM’s print library; then he was promoted to be the BM’s assistant secretary; remaining in that post until his retirement in 1924. Nannie Dryhurst was Irish, born as Hannah Anne in 1856 in Dublin to Alexander Robinson and his wife Emily. Alexander Robinson was a dyer; though he must have been rather more than a worker on the factory floor because Nannie was very well-educated: she could speak Irish Gaelic, French and German and was accomplished enough to work as a governess in London before her marriage.


Nannie Robinson and Alfred Dryhurst were married in 1884 in Dublin. They had two daughters, Norah and Sylvia; and at least by census day 1891 if not earlier, they were living at 11 Downshire Hill, a house owned by the Dryhurst family, just a few streets from where the Pagets would go to live in 1897.


Unlike the Pagets’ marriage, the Dryhursts’ marriage was unhappy. They were both very musical and shared a lack of any deep religious belief; but he was too conventional for her, she was too free-wheeling for him. From 1892 until at least 1895, Nannie had a sexual relationship with the war correspondent and journalist Henry Nevinson. From the point at which Alfred got proof beyond all doubt of the affair, he and Nannie had separate bedrooms and lived relatively separate lives; though they continued to inhabit the same house.


Etta’s sister Florence Farr (married name Emery) and her husband had separated and then divorced, but socially that had been easy for Etta and Henry to negotiate because the husband went to the USA and didn’t return. Nannie’s affair might have been over before the Pagets met the Dryhursts, but its consequences certainly weren’t. It took finesse to manage relationships with a couple who were separated but still inhabited the same drawing room. Etta and Henry negotiated the problems, however, and stayed friendly with both the Dryhursts for many years.


Like the Pagets, the Dryhursts had a busy social life at home. In the Dryhursts’ case, perhaps having people come round spared them having to pass evenings in the house on their own together. I imagine the Pagets started going to the kind of evenings Shaw recorded in his diary when, after dinner, he and Alfred would play piano duets, and then sit chatting with the other guests. In 1899 the kind of wide-ranging discussion visitors had at the Dryhursts’ house led to the formation of the Purcell Operatic Society. Nannie Dryhurst became its secretary, and it had been mostly her idea. Although I couldn’t find the Pagets mentioned in its wiki, it was the sort of society they had been involved with in Bedford Park: until 1902 it operated on a shoe-string, staging operas by Purcell and his contemporaries in which even the singers were amateurs. There’s a list of its better-known members on the wiki; they included the musicologist and instrument-maker Arnold Dolmetsch whom the Pagets knew through W B Yeats and Florence Farr.


Perhaps the Paget/Dryhurst relationships developed along gender lines: Henry with Alfred; Etta with Nannie. Though there’s not specific evidence, you can see how a friendship could develop between an artist trained at the Royal Academy and a man who worked with the British Museum’s print collection every day. In 1905, Alfred’s work on Raphael was published; I assume Henry had followed its progress from manuscript to publication, perhaps even advised Alfred on book production – something Henry knew a great deal about by then. There’s evidence for a friendship between the two women; though I find it difficult to imagine it extending to politics. As well as her journalism, Nannie also earned money by designing Christmas cards, so the two women had art and the problems of women artists in common. The last painting that Etta ever exhibited was a portrait of Nannie Dryhurst, shown at the Royal Academy in 1907.


Norah and Sylvia Dryhurst shared Dorothy Paget’s enthusiasm for theatre. In 1901 Norah was teaching drama at the Highbury Evening Continuation Schools and she also wrote reviews for the Daily Chronicle. In 1904 Norah and Sylvia took part in a production of W B Yeats’ The Land of Heart’s Desire; the play for children that he had written for Dorothy Paget. Perhaps the Pagets arranged with Yeats for that production to happen. In 1914 the Pagets and the Dryhursts became in-laws when Geoffrey Paget married Norah Dryhurst.


Kelly’s Directory of Middlesex 1882 private residents’ list is the first one to have the Pagets in it: p794. The residents of the house opposite 1 The Orchard Bedford Park in 1882 were barrister John Brodie-Innes and his wife Frances, both future GD members. The Brodie-Innes family moved to Scotland shortly afterwards and no sources for Florence Farr or the Pagets mention them, so perhaps the two families never got to know each other. Kellys’ Directory of Chiswick 1887-88 has the Pagets in it and on p244: the Todhunters are listed at 3 The Orchard.



For their periods living in Bedford Park I chose the website, article by Chris Deering for the information because it has more local detail than web pages on W B Yeats.


Prodigal Father: the Life of John Butler Yeats William Michael Murphy 2001 p154.

Prodigal Father Revisited: Artists and Writers in the World of John Butler Yeats edited by Janis Londraville. In the Locust Hill Literary Studies Series; 34. Published West Cornwall CT. The only article in which the Pagets are mentioned is pp351-74: Ex-”Pathriots”: Florence Farr Emery and John Butler Yeats by Josephine Johnson:p352.

Letters from Bedford Park: A Selection from the Correspondence (1890-1901) of John Butler Yeats edited by William M Murphy. Dublin: Cuala: pp353-54.


The sketches of Etta:

At reproduction of a drawing: pencil, 17cm x 11cm, signed by J B Yeats and dated by him 23 September 1894. “Etta” is written towards the bottom left. At artsalesindex.artinfo - the Blouin Art Sales Index there are a few more details about it: it was lot 119 in a sale called Important Irish Art, held at Whyte’s of Dublin November 2007.

Prodigal Father: the Life of John Butler Yeats William Michael Murphy 2001: p189 Etta doing her knitting, date uncertain but perhaps 1895; later owned by W B Yeats’ son Michael.



Henry’s portrait:

Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 4 1905-1907 editors John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard. Oxford University Press 2005: p93, p95 footnote 1.

Land of Heart’s Desire:

Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 2 1896-1900 editors Warwick Gould, John Kelly, Deirdre Toomey. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997: p395 footnote 1.

Prodigal Father Revisited: Artists and Writers in the World of JoBY editor Janis Londraville. In the Locust Hill Litrary Studies Series; 34. Published West Cornwall CT. The only article in which the Pagets are mentioned is pp351-74: Ex-”Pathriots”: Florence Farr Emery and John Butler Yeats by Josephine Johnson: p353 about Florence coaching Dorothy Paget for Land of Heart’s Desire, using the daïs that was in one of the rooms at 1 The Orchard.

W B Yeats and the Muses by Joseph M Hassett 2010: p42 confirming Land of Heart’s Desire was written with a part in it specially for Dorothy Paget.

Countess Cathleen/The Heather Field – double bill 1899:

Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 2 1896-1900 editors Warwick Gould, John Kelly, Deirdre Toomey. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997: p395 footnote 3. Letter [19 April 1899] is from W B Yeats to Dorothy explaining why she’s no longer going to be Countess Cathleen.

Shadowy Waters:

Collected Letters of W B Yeats volume 4 1905-1907 editors John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard. Oxford University Press 2005: p93, p95 and p95 footnote 1.



John Todhunter’s papers are now in Reading University. The catalogue is at // In the collection is a sketch of Todhunter by H M Paget and I think it’s probably the sketch that illustrates the entry for Todhunter on wikipedia.

Census 1881-1911.

In Bedford Park:

Kelly’s Directory of Middlesex 1882 p794 John Todhunter at 27 Bath Road Bedford Park. Kelly’s Directory of Chiswick 1887-88 p236.

Probate Registry entry 1916.

Friendship with John Butler Yeats:

Prodigal Father: the Life of John Butler Yeats by William Michael Murphy 2001 p154.

Lady Gregory’s Diaries 1892-1902 edited and with an introduction by James Pethica. Gerrard’s Cross: Colin Smythe 1996: footnote p209, diary entries for February 1899 – Lady Gregory first met John Todhunter at “a Celtic evening at Yeats’s”; he and Florence Farr were both there.

Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897 annotated and edited by Stanley Weintraub. University Park Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press 1986: p143 entry for 2 February 1886; p731 entry for 15 June 1891; p1022 entry for 29 March 1894.


Productions of Todhunter’s plays:

Helena of Troas:

Times Fri 14 May 1886 p12; Fri 5 May 1886 p13; Tue 18 May 1886 p9.

A Sicilian Idyll, which despite being an amateur performance got a short review in the Times 10 May 1890 p17. Later productions of it: Times 11 June 1891 p8; 20 June 1891 p6.

The Comedy of Sighs:

The Letters of Aubrey Beardsley editors Henry Maas, J L Duncan and W G Good. London: Cassell 1970: p63 footnote 2: Florence Farr produced The Comedy of Sighs and commissioned Beardsley to do a drawing for its programme and publicity posters. There are no letters to any of the Pagets in the book.

Times 30 March 1894 p10; 11 April 1894 p8.

Obituary: Times 27 October 1916 p5.



Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897 in two volumes, annotated and edited by Stanley Weintraub. University Park Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press 1986. On the Pagets: p675; p788 footnote; p803; p882; p1002 p1008; p1102; p1118; p1156. And on the Dryhursts: each of the Dryhursts had a long set of entries in the Index, indicating a far closer relationship than Shaw ever had with the Pagets. The earliest references are to Alfred: p149 diary entry for 25 February 1886; and p208 entry for 27 October 1886. On each occasion, Shaw went to hear Alfred Dryhurst give a talk.

Times Wed 20 January 1892 p8 in the theatre ads: the full cast of the single performance of Hamlet due to take place the following day at the Haymarket Theatre. Herbert Beerbohm Tree was playing Hamlet and his wife was Ophelia. Some new scenery and costumes were being provided; the designers were named but none of them were Henry Paget, so I’m not quite sure what he was doing at the rehearsal.

Shaw’s letter to Etta on hearing of Florence’s death:

Bernard Shaw: the Ascent of the Superman by Sally Peters 1996 p284 footnote 34: 29 June 1917.

At, its sale of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts, November 2001, had a series of items Shaw sent or gave to various Pagets:

- sketch of Shaw, 1888, pencil and wash; on a leaf from one of Henry Paget’s notebooks

- letter Shaw to Henry Paget 3 January 1934

- the condolence letter to Etta

- items ?sent to Dorothy Rhodes 9 February 1915, 6 February 1924, 30 July 1946.


The York Powells:

Better family history searchers than I have failed to find any confirmation of Florence York Powell’s claims to have been born in Clifton in 1850; though at someone has found a Florence Anne Ella Silke born Clifton around 1850 living in Bessborough Gardens in 1867, the year she married William Foster Batten. The couple had two daughters, Florence Eliza Foster Batten (born 1867) and Carlotta Batten (died 1888).


In 2016 someone investigating William Foster Batten posted on Ancestry the suggestion that Florence Batten had married Frederick York Powell bigamously – that her husband was not dead but gone away. However, Frederick and the couple’s future friends probably never knew that, and it’s clear from Frederick’s letters that he was very happy with Florence: even several years after her death he was writing to a friend that her death “has made my house very different, and my life too”.


For Frederick York Powell: wikipedia.

Frederick York Powell: A Life and a Selectioin from his Letters and Occasional Writings. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1906. Edited by Oliver Elton who is a friend of his. 2 Volumes. Amongst the illustrations are a pencil drawing of Frederick by John Butler Yeats, Volume 1 opposite p439; and Henry’s portrait of Frederick, Volume 2 frontispiece. There are no letters in the book from before 1889. Description of Henry painting: volume 1 p96 Frederick York Powell to W P Ker 2 February 1889 including the quote above about his wife’s death.



Lewis Carroll and his Illustrators by Morton Norton Cohen and Edward Wakeling 2008: p238 , p239 footnote 6 quoting Dodgson’s Diaries pp435-36. This was the only reference to any of the Pagets in the book.



Isabel’s memoir Memorabilia p80, p168 but see also my life-by-dates of Isabel.


Bedford Park and Hampstead:

The Fairfax-Cholmeleys:

Most of my information on Hugh and Alice is taken from the well-researched website at //, headed The Last Squire of Brandsby. There are details of his land/social reforms and a timeline of his life; though please note it describes where Frederick York Powell was living as Bedford Square not Bedford Park. The website has a photograph of Hugh, Alice and their two eldest children, the Francis of Etta’s portrait and Mary Elizabeth, probably taken in 1907. I’m probably prejudiced by what else the website told me about Alice’s background, but to me she looks very ill-at-ease in that photograph.

At, information on the Brandsby estate and house, from Bulmer’s History and Directory of North Yorkshire 1890.

At //, the page on Hugh Fairfax-Cholmeley gives details of the gradual selling off of the house and estate, between 1908 and the 1940s.

Hugh and Alice’s daughter Mary Elizabeth (known as Elsie) married the author of this: My China Eye: Memoirs of a Jew and Journalist by Israel Epstein 2005. On p20 Epstein, remarking that Hugh was a paternalist reformer, gives details of Alice’s background and how she was prepared for her new social position.


The Dryhursts:

For the connection through George Bernard Shaw see his section above.

War, Journalism and the Shaping of the 20th Century: The Life and Times of Henry W Nevinson by Agnes V John. Published I B Tauris 2006. Text seen via google. In the Chapter The Romantic Rebel: Suffrage, Sex and Family: pp85-88.


Collected Letters of William Morris volume 3 1889-92. Edited and compiled by Norman Kelvin. 2014. Letter number 1828 written 1891 is the only one to Nannie Dryhurst; it’s a business letter and the footnote on Nannie is about her as a contributor to Freedom 1886 to around 1900. The text of the letter suggests that Nannie , as well as writing for it, was involved in production of the magazine.

On the magazine Freedom, which lasted until 2014: wikipedia.

Purcell Operatic Society. There’s a wiki with a list of well-known Society members.

Alfred: census 1861.

His marriage to Nannie: via Familysearch to Ireland Civil Registrations 1845-1958 GS film number 101254. July-September 1884 Dublin South.

A History of the British Museum Library 1753-1973 by Philip Rowland Harris. Published British Library 1998: p427 and footnote; p752.

A short entry at 1859-1949.

British Library catalogue has:

1899 Researches in the History of Economics by N F and A R Dryhurst. London: A & C Black. The full catalogue entry makes it clear this was a translation from the German; and I note that Nannie is listed first of the two authors. It’s likely that Nannie Dryhurst did most of the work.

1905 by A R Dryhurst: Raphael. London: Methuen and Co. 2nd edition 1909.

Both Dryhursts: census 1891, 1911; probate registry entries 1949 for Alfred; I couldn’t find an entry for Nannie.

Social life in Hampstead:

Bernard Shaw and the Webbs by Shaw, Alex C Michalos and Deborah C Poff 2002: p26.

Prodigal Father Revisited: Artists and Writers in the World of John Butler Yeats edited by Janis Londraville. In the Locust Hill Literary Studies Series; 34. Published West Cornwall CT: p366.



BASIC SOURCES I USED for all Golden Dawn members.


Membership of the Golden Dawn: The Golden Dawn Companion by R A Gilbert. Northampton: The Aquarian Press 1986. Between pages 125 and 175, Gilbert lists the names, initiation dates and addresses of all those people who became members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or its many daughter Orders between 1888 and 1914. The list is based on the Golden Dawn’s administrative records and its Members’ Roll - the large piece of parchment on which all new members signed their name at their initiation. All this information had been inherited by Gilbert but it’s now in the Freemasons’ Library at the United Grand Lodge of England building on Great Queen Street Covent Garden. Please note, though, that the records of the Amen-Ra Temple in Edinburgh were destroyed in 1900/01. I have recently (July 2014) discovered that some records of the Horus Temple at Bradford have survived, though most have not; however those that have survived are not yet accessible to the public.


For the history of the GD during the 1890s I usually use Ellic Howe’s The Magicians of the Golden Dawn: A Documentary History of a Magical Order 1887-1923. Published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1972. Foreword by Gerald Yorke. Howe is a historian of printing rather than of magic; he also makes no claims to be a magician himself, or even an occultist. He has no axe to grind.


Family history: freebmd; (census and probate);; familysearch; Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage; Burke’s Landed Gentry; Armorial Families;; and a wide variety of family trees on the web.


Famous-people sources: mostly about men, of course, but very useful even for the female members of GD. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Who Was Who. Times Digital Archive.


Useful source for business and legal information: London Gazette and its Scottish counterpart Edinburgh Gazette. Now easy to find (with the right search information) on the web.


For the GD members who were freemasons, the membership database of the United Grand Lodge of England is now available via Ancestry: it gives the date of the freemason’s first initiation; and the craft lodges he was a member of.

To take careers in craft freemasonry further, the website of the the Freemasons’ Library is a good resource: // Its catalogue has very detailed entries and the website has all sorts of other resources.

You can get from the pages to a database of freemasons’ newspapers and magazines, digitised to 1900. You can also reach that directly at


Wikipedia; Google; Google Books - my three best resources. I also used other web pages, but with some caution, as - from the historian’s point of view - they vary in quality a great deal.


To put contemporary prices and incomes into perspective, I have used which Roger Wright found for me. To help you interpret the ‘today’ figure, measuringworth gives several options. I pick the ‘historic standard of living’ option which is usually the lowest, often by a considerable margin!




22 January 2019

Find the web pages of Roger Wright and Sally Davis, including my list of people initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn between 1888 and 1901, at: