Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsThomas Tosier is appointed chocolate maker to the King in 1717. He gets this position because of his very successful chocolate house. However, of course, because he's too busy making chocolate for the King, someone has to run the business. And that someone is his wife, Grace Tosier. The chocolate house becomes a destination for the rich and the famous to go to. You get accounts of people like Prince Frederick of Wales, ambassadors from Spain and Portugal, all people you would expect to go to the very smartest places. What makes Grace Tosier's chocolate house very interesting is that she's really capitalising on her husband's position. She always refers to herself as Grace Tosier, wife of the King's chocolate maker.
Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsHowever, what she's trying to do in her chocolate house in Greenwich is give a royal experience, mimicking the experience that her husband was giving people with his chocolate in the court. So, for example, she installs a dance floor and holds various balls in accordance with the court calendar. So, celebrating the King's birthday and celebrating various other occasions. So what you get at Grace Tosier's chocolate house is a VIP experience. Royalty is part of the entire marketing of the chocolate house that she owns in Greenwich. So even when her husband dies and she remarries, she keeps the name Tosier. So it becomes associated with her brand, as it were. Grace Tosier becomes a celebrity in her own right.
Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsThere are reports of her in newspapers which describe her as having a very large, wide-brimmed hat, and having flowers in her bosom. She really is a celebrity. There are two portraits of her which are painted by Bartholomew Dandridge, and these portraits form part of a series which really are kind of celebrities of London. These include not only aristocracy, but London characters, and Grace is included among them. So she becomes a limited edition, someone, something to collect.
The wife of the king's chocolate maker
In this video we are joined once more by Polly Putnam, Collections Curator for Historic Royal Palaces, as she explains how Thomas Tosier’s wife became a chocolate-making celebrity in her own right.
If you would like to see where the Tosier’s chocolate house was in Greenwich, this website has a handy map of Chocolate Row in Blackheath, now called West Grove.
© University of Reading and Historic Royal Palaces.