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Tautphœus, Baroness von (DNB00)

TAUTPHŒUS, Baroness von, originally Jemima Montgomery (1807–1893), novelist, born on 23 Oct. 1807 at Seaview, co. Donegal, was the daughter of James Montgomery of Seaview by his wife, Jemima (daughter of James Glasgow of Aughadenvarn, co. Leitrim), and niece of Sir Henry Conyngham Montgomery, first baronet. She was married on 29 Jan. 1838 to Cajetan Josef Friedrich, baron von Tautphœus of Marquartstein (1805–1885), chamberlain to the king of Bavaria, and the remainder of her life was principally spent in Bavaria, where she was equally at home in court circles and, as her works evince, with the peasantry and the middle classes. Baron von Tautphœus died on 14 Nov. 1885, a few days after his only son, Rudolf Edgeworth Josef (b. 20 Nov. 1838–d. 1 Nov. 1885), who had risen to be Bavarian minister at the Quirinal. The baroness died on 12 Nov. 1893.

Baroness von Tautphœus is one of the most distinguished members of a highly interesting group of writers of fiction—the Englishmen and Englishwomen who, becoming residents in foreign countries, have devoted their talents to the illustration of foreign manners, and have shown themselves entirely at home when abroad. There is no novel in the language in which the epithet ‘charming’ could be applied with more strict propriety than to her first work, ‘The Initials’ (London, 1850, 3 vols. 12mo; 6th ed. 1863, 8vo), with its admirably contrasted pair of German sisters, the almost perfect yet most natural and human character of Hildegarde, the skilful suspense and the happy dénouement. ‘Quits’ (London, 1857, 3 vols. 8vo; 4th ed. 1864; in German, Leipzig, 1863) is equally bright, clever, and true to nature, but the plot lacks unity, and none of the characters inspire so deep an interest as the Hildegarde of its predecessor. ‘Cyrilla’ (1853, 1854, and in German, Leipzig, 1854, 8vo) is a romance of an entirely different class, being founded upon the criminal trial of Assessor Zahn, the details of which are accurately followed. It is consequently entirely true to life, and the objection raised against the catastrophe as too melodramatic falls to the ground. The baroness's last novel, ‘At Odds’ (1863), is also brilliant and interesting, but does not quite attain the charm of ‘The Initials’ or the tragic pathos of ‘Cyrilla.’

[Times, 17 Nov. 1893; Athenæum, 1893, ii. 736; Foster's Baronetage; Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch der freiherrlichen Häuser, 1889, pp. 884–6.]

R. G.