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Hester Lynch Piozzi Letters to Dr. William Makepeace Thackeray

 Collection
Call Number: MSS 29

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises 98 autograph letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi to her friend and physician, Dr. William Makepeace Thackeray, dated between April 16, 1795, and September 10, 1816, compiled and bound together in a single album.

The letters cover Mrs. Piozzi's life with her second husband, the musician Gabriel Piozzi, his illness and eventual death in March 1809 from gout, and the subsequent years of widowhood. The letters are chiefly written from Brynbella, Mrs. Piozzi's villa in the Vale of Clwyd. The correspondence includes news of family matters and a detailed record of her husband's lengthy illness, the latter often accompanied by requests for medical advice or professional visits from Thackeray.

The letters are frequently interspersed with literary and other allusions and anecdotes, political gossip, and bon mots. They include references to many friends and associates of Mrs. Piozzi, including Dr. Johnson ("Dear Dr. Johnson was not difficult to be imposed on where the heart came in question, but he would not have believed this story about Shakespeare"), David Garrick ("Is not it curious to reflect that the year MY old friend burst upon mankind in the same way, - was marked by contagion: & people called it the Garrick Fever") and Mrs. Siddons, as well as comments on the Napoleonic Wars ("All is gathering fast to a head; Buonaparte has pledged himself to effect our ruin, & they spare us 200,000 men").

Two of the letters consist of original verse: item 82, a poem of 24 lines entitled "A song made in time of the mutiny by desire of some loyalists who dined at the Crown & Anchor Tavern Tune Nancy Dawson"; and item 80, a poem of 7 lines, untitled.

Most of the letters are signed either in full or with the initials HLP, but a few are either unsigned or bear the signature "Brynbella," the name of Mrs. Piozzi's villa. Also included in the collection is a letter announcing the death of Mr. Piozzi, written on behalf of Mrs. Piozzi by her friend Mrs. Moore.

The letters in the present volume are not included in The Piozzi letters : correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (formerly Mrs. Thrale), edited by Edward A. Bloom and Lillian D. Bloom (1989-1993).

Dates

  • 1795-1816

Creator

Language

English

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is the physical property of the Yale Center for British Art. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Paul Mellon Collection.

Arrangement

The letters are bound in chronological order, with undated material bound at the end.

Extent

0.2 Linear Feet (1 volume)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/ycba.mss.0029

Overview

The collection comprises 98 autograph letters from Hester Lynch Piozzi to her friend and physician, Dr. William Makepeace Thackeray, dated between April 16, 1795, and September 10, 1816, compiled and bound together in a single album.

Biographical / Historical

Hester Lynch Piozzi (née Salusbury; other married name Thrale), 1741-1821, was a prominent diarist, author, and patron of the arts in late 18th century Britain. She is also known as a notable friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson. After Johnson's death, she published Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., during the last Twenty Years of his Life (1786) and Letters to and from the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D (1788). Other notable works by Piozzi include: Observations and reflections made in the course of a journey through France, Italy, and Germany (1789); British synonymy, or, An attempt at regulating the choice of words in familiar conversation (1794); and Retrospection, or, A review of the most striking and important events, characters, situations, and their consequences, which the last eighteen hundred years have presented to the view of mankind (1801).

Dr. William Makepeace Thackeray (1770-1849) was a notable physician at Chester (in the county of Cheshire) and uncle of the famous novelist of the same name.

  • Piozzi, Hester Lynch. The Thrales of Streatham Park [edited] by Mary Hyde. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, [1977].
  • Piozzi, Hester Lynch. The Piozzi letters : correspondence of Hester Lynch Piozzi, 1784-1821 (formerly Mrs. Thrale), edited by Edward A. Bloom and Lillian D. Bloom. Newark : University of Delaware Press, c1989-1993.
Title
Hester Lynch Piozzi Letters to Dr. William Makepeace Thackeray
Author
compiled by Darcy Tuttle ; edited by Francis Lapka
Date
April, 2013
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

Contact:
Department of Rare Books and Manuscripts
1080 Chapel Street
P. O. Box 208280
New Haven CT 06520-8280 US
203-432-2814