Our wonderful group of Arts Society volunteers continue their work to record, clean and assess the thousands of books at West Horsley Place. At the moment they are working in the Old Library and dicoverd an edition of 'The Initials' by Jemima von Tautphoeus, published in 1853. Inside the book was tucked a letter from the baroness to Mrs Milnes (Annabel Crewe-Milnes 1814-1874, wife of Richard Monckton Milnes, the founder of our book collection.)




Dear Mrs Milnes,

Thank you very much for Mr Milnes’s poems – it is a long long time since I have seen anything of this kind in english (sic) and I quite enjoy the idea of reading them.

Baron Tautphoeus joins me in best wishes for your and Mrs Milnes safe and pleasant journey and in the hope that our acquaintance may be improved at some not too distant period I beg you believe me. Yours very truly obliged

J Tautphoeus

Saturday morning

Sophien Strasse 1 /2



This letter was obviously written after an encounter and an exchange of gifts on one of the Milnes’s European journeys.

Baroness Tautphoeus was born Jemima Montgomery, in County Donegal in 1809.  She was a cousin of the novelist Maria Edgeworth. Nothing is known of her life until her marriage in 1838 to Cajetan Josef Friedrich, Baron Tautphoeus, of the Bavarian nobility.  She spent the rest of her life in Bavaria, her home being the family castle of Marquardtstein.  The address on this letter, Sophien Strasse 1 /2, could locate it in several German cities, but for a member of a noble Bavarian family Baden Baden is a likely place, where Sophienstrasse 1 is an enormous and opulent villa to this day. Some research into the Milnes’s movements in the 1850s might yield a clue.

The Baroness wrote four romantic novels, all very popular in their day, and now completely forgotten:  The Initials (1850); Cyrilla (1853); Quits (1857); and At Odds (1863).  Thackeray considered them among the finest expressions by a writer in English of German life (Dict. Of Irish Biog.).  The author wrote At Odds during a period of ill health, was dissatisfied with the result, and wrote nothing further in the remaining 30 years of her life.  She died in 1893, having lost her husband and only son in the same year (1885).