The poet Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was born in Dublin but lived in Sloperton, near Bowood House, where he was a frequent visitor at the social gatherings of his patron, the Marquis of Lansdowne. Together with the Marquis of Lansdowne and the Wiltshire poets Crabbe and Bowles, he was present at the grand opening of the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in January 1825. From his diaries we get a flavour of this evening:
The grand opening today of the Literary Institution in Bath. Attended the inaugural lecture by Sir G. Gibbs, at two. Walked about a little afterwards - and to dinner at six. Lord Lansdowne was in the chair [...] "Lord L. alluded to us in his first speech, as among the literary ornaments, if not of Bath itself of its precinct [...].
Thomas Moore then himself gave a speech, received by "a burst of enthusiasm" by his audience in which he talked of the "springs of health with which nature had gift the fair city of Bath".
Thomas Moore and his wife Bessie were frequent visitors to the city, as their beloved daughter Anastasia went to school here. His poetry was loved by his contemporaries, especially his Irish Melodies, Lalla Rookh and the Loves of the Angels. In Prose he wrote the Life of Sheridan and as a friend of Lord Byron, he published The Letters and Journals of Lord Byron and in 1830 edited Byron's collected works. He was a frequent guest in aristocratic circles at Lacock Abbey and Bowood, dining, dancing, singing, reciting poetry and talking about politics.This was witnessed by an astonished 6th Duke of Devonshire, visiting Bowood in April 1826, who wrote in his diary that Thomas Moore, "the little urchin" was shown straight into Lord Lansdowne's room without any ceremony.
The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution is fortunate in having in its collection a bust of the poet Thomas Moore.
(Posted by Rafaela Souza)