OPERA HOUSE IN THE HAY MARKET
Godolphin, Francis, second earl of Godolphin (1678–1766), politician and officer of the royal household. Autograph letter signed to an unnamed correspondent, 2 sides, 4to, Baylies near Windsor, June 17th 1756. Commenting upon the opera in London and social matters. "Nothing but the importance of the subject can excuse my giving you the Trouble of Reading the Inclosed [not present] which coming from a Lady I could not help mentioning her Request to you may have heard of her formerly as daughter of Ld Bingley and wife to Mr. George Fox who has changed his name to Lane, she is a great patroness of Signor de Giardini and has procured him the large Opera House in the Hay Market, in the room of Signor Vanneschi who proposes having an opera in some other place, and they are both endeavouring to get as many subscriptions as they can in hopes of ruining each other......... Ld. Berkeley is very well and enjoying his summer retreat in his own Square in London ".
The lady mentioned by Godolphin is Harriet Benson (c.1705-1771), daughter of Robert Benson, Baron of Bingley & Lady Elizabeth Finch, who married George Fox-Lane, 1st Baron Bingley (c1697-1773), bringing him estates worth £100,000, including Bramham, Yorkshire. The opera house dispute involving Signor Vanneschi is mentioned in the published ‘Letters of Horace Walpole’.