DEFIANCE: Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard

DEFIANCE: Life and Choices of Lady Anne Barnard

STEPHEN TAYLOR    Book Number: 84502    Product format: Hardback

Right to the last months of her life, Lady Anne Barnard stayed tied to her desk in London's Berkeley Square. Banked around her was one of the most formidable collections of papers compiled by any woman of letters of an age that counted Jane Austen and the indefatigable Fanny Burney among its number. Her 'scraps' were letters, journals, memoirs, diaries, poems, sketches and watercolours and just what these amounted to before she started to cast them into the flames of her fire is unclear. The surviving papers still extend to something like a million words. Lady Anne lived at the heart of Georgian society and counted the Prince of Wales among her many friends and she was brilliant in company. But she was seen as an eccentric and an outsider. What defined this poet and musician, artist and hostess was defiance of convention. High-born yet still an egalitarian she rejected numerous suitors, lived independently by buying and renting houses, and travelled to France to observe the Revolution. When she did marry it was to a junior army officer, 12 years her junior, and together they withdrew to Africa. Her curious ways attracted gossip right to her final years when she raised an illegitimate child at her home in Berkeley Square. Her verse was celebrated by Walter Scott and she was also a brilliant diarist. Stephen Taylor has been given access to her private papers, notably six volumes of memoirs which have never been before published, and he shows her to be one of the unheralded chroniclers of her time. Social history, anthropology, here is an early foray into the exotic written in a most painterly way. 388pp, eight pages of colour and b/w plates.
Published price: £20
Bibliophile price: £2.00

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ISBN 9780571311118
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