The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393248173, 400pp.
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Born in Scotland in 1750, Lady Anne Barnard lived at the heart of Georgian society. She wrote one of the most popular ballads of her day, captivated Sir Walter Scott with her poetry, rubbed shoulders with the Prince of Wales, and dazzled Samuel Johnson with her repartee. Lady Anne's charisma and talent were undeniable; she was well known as both a beauty and a wit. However, she was also seen as an eccentric--an artist defined by her defiance of convention.
Lady Anne had romantic affairs with several prominent men, but she married none of them. She preferred to live independently--even traveling alone to Paris during the upheaval of the French Revolution. When she did marry, it was to an impoverished army officer many years her junior. The pairing scandalized polite society. Hounded by gossip, the couple escaped to the Cape Colony--England's first African possession--where Lady Anne painted the vibrant landscapes and penned her memoirs. An indefatigable diarist, she proved herself one of the extraordinary chroniclers of the era.
Stephen Taylor draws on Lady Anne's private papers, including six volumes of her never-before-published memoirs, to construct a vivid biography of her remarkable life. Illustrated with Lady Anne's own drawings as well as portraits by her contemporaries, Defiance offers a lively and wholly absorbing portrayal of a woman far ahead of her time.