Mary Granville Delany - Encyclopedia




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MARY GRANVILLE DELANY (1700-1788), an Englishwoman of literary tastes, was born at Coulston, Wilts, on the 14th of May 1700. She was a niece of the ist Lord Lansdowne. In 1717 or 1718 she was unhappily married to Alexander Pendarves, a rich old Cornish landowner, who died in 1724. During a visit to Ireland she met Dean Swift and his intimate friend, the Irish divine, Patrick Delany, whose second wife she became in 1743. After his death in 1768 she passed all her summers with her bosom friend the dowager duchess of Portland - Prior's "Peggy" - and when the latter died George III. and Queen Charlotte, whose affection for their "dearest Mrs Delany" seems to have been most genuine, gave her a small house at Windsor and a pension of boo a year. Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay) was introduced to her in 1783, and frequently visited her at her London home and at Windsor, and owed to her friendship her court appointment. At this time Mrs Delany was a charming and sweet old lady, with a reputation for cutting out and making the ingenious "paper mosaiks" now in the British Museum; she had known every one worth knowing in her day, had corresponded with Swift and Young, and left an interesting picture of the polite but commonplace English society of the 18th century in her six volumes of Autobiography and Letters. Burke calls her "a real fine lady" - "the model of an accomplished woman of former times." She died on the 15th of April 1788.

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