Harvard: Sarah Ponsonby’s Album

Liz emailed me today about the Ladies of Llangollen holdings at Harvard University.

plas newydd_douglas album

The above is a “rear view” (detail) of Plas Newydd. Sarah’s album contents are ONLINE! Click on the photo, to visit HOLLIS (Harvard’s library database). The library also has a cover letter to Lady Douglas.

The album is described as “A books created by Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler… containing 2 watercolors of their cottage in Wales, a plan of the first floor, and an original poem in French.”

I LOVE the note that the album is “bound in quilted white and pink silk cover and enclosed in a quilted white and pink satin case with two pouches and embroidered in green and gold thread. Includes a netted silver thread purse with silver tassels.” A photo of the album itself (or the purse) seems not to be present.


ALSO of great interest is a listing called SOUVENIRS OF Mme. DE SÉVIGNÉ, described as “10 drawings – pen and watercolor; bound volume containing views and plans of houses associated with Mme. de Sévigné”. By Sarah Ponsonby. W-O-W!


In Case you missed it: Mrs Thrale / Mrs Piozzi

A few days ago, when I added some more letters by Anna Seward, I also added the first of a complex file consisting of Ladies of Llangollen comments from several Hester Thrale / Piozzi sources. Find it under Correspondence & Correspondents.

Blogging is a different platform from a website – but the page translated well, don’t you think!

Finally, I purchased a copy of Ian McIntyre’s biography of Hester (arrived yesterday). Can’t wait to prop it open and beginning reading. McIntyre also makes comment of James Clifford’s earlier biography.

Readers might know of my collection of the 6-volume PIOZZI LETTERS, as well as the lovely volume of travels known as THE FRENCH JOURNALS of MRS THRALE and DR JOHNSON. I also fondly remember THE THRALES OF STREATHAM (Mary Hyde’s biography, based on Hester’s children’s books). I recently came across some internet information on Hyde’s research.

In trying to find it again, I unearthed The Donald & Mary Hyde Collection of Samuel Johnson.

McIntyre appeared on BBC Radio 4, talking about his book and his subject, Hester.

Mary Hyde’s book, as it appeared in the Harvard Library Bulletin:

I’ll let readers look up The Impossible Friendship‘s serialization….

Mrs Piozzi’s Observations and Reflections appears online in a couple of places: Internet Archive; they also have a 1913 booklet about Thraliana. I once interlibrary loaned Doctor Johnson and Mrs Thrale, by A.M. Broadley – so much effort! and now it’s easily found online too. This book includes her journey through WALES!

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