Hudleston Music

The case of the abandoned wife and mother: Angiolina Huerta

The Hudleston collection contains an Andante and Allegretto by ‘Madame Huerta’, published by Louis Panormo’s Guitar Manufactory, High Street, Bloomsbury. When I first encountered this piece while cataloguing the collection in 1992, I identified this ‘Madame Huerta’ more precisely. This was noted in the first version of the catalogue which is held by the Royal Academy of Music, Dublin. Philip Bone, in The Guitar and Mandolin, mentions that Huerta, while in London, ‘married his pupil, Miss Angiolina Panormo, one of the “roguish dark-eyed daughters” of the celebrated guitar maker, Louis Panormo’. Until fairly recently, this was not accepted as certain, but on the title page of the Andante and Allegretto is an inscription – ‘A. H. to her friend Signor Verini’ – and this, plus the fact that the piece was published by Panormo, led me to suspect that ‘A. H.’ could indeed be Angiolina Huerta. Since 1992, Robert Coldwell and I, both pursuing this independently, have proven that it is true: Angiolina Panormo did, in fact, marry Huerta.

Angiolina was the penultimate child of Louis Panormo and Sarah Sutton. According to the International Genealogical Index, she was born on 19 July 1811, and christened at Old Church, Saint Pancras, London, on 1 March 1812. The same source reveals that she married Antonio Trinitario Huerta on 27 September 1828, at St John the Evangelist, Lambeth, Surrey. Within two years after the marriage, Angiolina left England with Huerta, settling in Paris for a few years, where their daughter Angelina was born in 1834.

By 1841, her marriage with Huerta having collapsed, Angiolina Huerta and her daughter were back in England. They appear on the 1841 census return, but they were not living with the Panormo family, as one would expect. Remarkably, the two of them were living at Charlotte Street, London, with Dominique and Arnauld Roudhloff, the guitar makers. Angiolina is listed on the census return as a ‘Teacher of music’, age 28. But why was she living with the Roudhloff brothers, and not with her father or uncle? The Panormo family business was doing very well at that time, so they surely could have taken in Angiolina and her daughter. One possible explanation is that Angiolina and Huerta actually divorced, and as Catholics, to whom divorce was not permissible, the Panormo family rejected her.

By 1851, Angiolina had left the Roudhloff’s house, and was living at 19 Lawford Road, Rugby, and is listed as a ‘Professor of music’. Her daughter, then 17 years old, remained with the Roudhloffs in London, as their domestic servant, at 87 Charlotte Street. On the census return, her birthplace is given as Paris.

Most of the Panormo family had left England for New Zealand or Australia by 1859, so besides her daughter, Angiolina had no immediate family in England from that time. It seems probable that she had not been in contact with the rest of the Panormo family since her split with Huerta, and one cannot help but imagine that Angiolina’s later years were rather lonely.

Although the appropriate 1861 census return was not immediately available, at the time of the 1871 census Angiolina was still at 19 Lawford Road, Rugby, so it appears that she remained at that address during the intervening years. Interestingly, on the 1871 census return she is listed, for the first time, not as married, but as a widow. Why she thought Huerta was no longer living is unclear; he died three years later in Paris. In 1881, Angiolina was still in the same house, although Lawford Road had by then become Lawford Street, and she had retired from her teaching. She also had a boarder, Elizabeth Powell, who was also a retired music teacher. By 1891 Angiolina had moved to 64 Lawford Street with Elizabeth Powell, who was no longer listed as a boarder, but as a ‘companion’. Some time after this, Angiolina left Rugby, and she died in Coventry in 1900, never having relinquished the Huerta name.

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