Mrs Delany: A Life by Clarissa Campbell Orr – An Extract

Escape Into Art, Look Through the Lens of History, Seek Certainty in Science …

To help us all keep on reading over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing sample chapters, extracts, author interviews and articles here on the Yale Books Blog. Missed our latest post? You can find everything under Time to Read.

Mrs Delany: A Life is the first comprehensive biography of Mary Granville Delany – the artist and court insider whose flower collages, in particular, continue to inspire widespread admiration.

Clarissa Campbell Orr, a noted authority on the eighteenth century court, charts Mary Delany’s development from a young woman at the heart of elite circles to beloved godmother and celebrated collagist. Orr traces the varied connections Mary Delany fostered throughout her life and how they influenced her intellectual and artistic development: she was friends with prominent figures such as Methodist leader, John Wesley, composer G. F. Handel, the writer Jonathan Swift, and England’s leading patron of science, Margaret Bentinck, Duchess of Portland.

Today’s extract is Chapter 1: ‘Miss Mary Granville’, which talks about Mrs Delany’s life before her marriage, her family’s sudden departure from London, her childhood in Whiltshire, and her impetuous teenage years.

Mrs Delany by Clarissa Campbell OrrMrs Delany
A Life

Clarissa Campbell Orr

“Biographer Clarissa Campbell Orr immerses you in the minutiae of Mary’s life” —Constance Craig-Smith, Daily Mail



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