Margaret Gatty - Encyclopedia

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MARGARET GATTY (1809-1873), English writer, daughter of the Rev. Alexander Scott (1768-1840), chaplain to Lord Nelson, was born at Burnham, Essex, in 1809. She early began to draw and to etch on copper, being a regular visitor to the print-room of the British Museum from the age of ten. She also illuminated on vellum, copying the old strawberry borders and designing initials. In 1839 Margaret Scott married the Rev. Alfred Gatty, D.D., vicar of Ecclesfield near Sheffield, subdean of York cathedral, and the author of various works both secular and religious. In 1842 she published in association with her husband a life of her father; but her first independent work was The Fairy Godmother and other Tales, which appeared in 1851. This was followed in 1855 by the first of five volumes of Parables from Nature, the last being published in 1871. It was under the nom de plume of Aunt Judy, as a pleasant and instructive writer for children, that Mrs Gatty was most widely known. Before starting Aunt Judy's Magazine in May 1866, she had brought out Aunt Judy's Tales (1858) and Aunt Judy's Letters (1862), and among the other children's books which she subsequently published were Aunt Judy's Song Book for Children and The Mother's Book of Poetry. " Aunt Judy" was the nickname given by her daughter Juliana Horatia Ewing. The editor of the magazine was on the friendliest terms with her young correspondents and subscribers, and her success was largely due to the sympathy which enabled her to look at things from the child's point of view. Besides other excellences her children's books are specially characterized by wholesomeness of sentiment and cheerful humour. Her miscellaneous writings include, in addition to several volumes of tales, The Old Folks from Home, an account of a holiday ramble in Ireland; The Travels and Adventures of Dr Wolf the Missionary (1861), an autobiography edited by her; British Sea Weeds (1862); Waifs and Strays of Natural History (1871); A Book of Emblems and The Book of Sun - Dials (1872). She died at Ecclesfield vicarage on the 4th of October 1873.

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