Amélina is thought to have been born in Paris in 1800, and she died at Lacock in 1876. Was Amélina the daughter of impoverished French acquaintances of the well-connected Feilding family with whom she lived?
Whatever her exact status, it is clear that Amélina Petit de Billier had to sing for her supper, but she did it successfully with voice, harp or piano, in the company of celebrities such as Thomas Moore, with professionals, and with aristocratic amateurs, in the best country houses and the highest social circles of London, Paris, Nice, Florence, Venice and Rome.
Nor did she neglect the opportunities which such journeyings brought her. Evidently blessed with a lively intellect and a thorough education in the arts, she revelled in opera, theatre, museums, libraries, diaramas, and intelligent conversation, as well as the usual tourist attractions (and some of the more unusual ones), the parties, the riding and hunting, the dancing and the charades.