Wednesday 21 February 2018 - Karin Fernald
Dr Johnson and Hester Thrale, blue stocking and wit – with paintings and caricatures of the day

In l765, Samuel Johnson, aged 56, ill, lonely, living off Fleet Street among quarrelling dependants, was introduced to a wealthy brewer, Henry Thrale, and his witty and talented young Welsh-born wife, Hester. Their friendship would last 18 years, providing Johnson with hospitality and comfort.

To Hester it brought the great stimulus of Johnson’s views on literature and life. She responded with plenty of her own. When Thrale died and Hester remarried to an Italian musician, Gabriel Piozzi, London society never forgave her. Nor did Johnson, telling Fanny Burney “When I meet with one of her letters I burn it.”

Nonetheless Hester would lead a spirited and literary later life in North Wales and in Bath as “The Scandalous Mrs Piozzi. ”With paintings, portraits and caricatures by Hogarth, Rowlandson, Reynolds, Richard Wilson, Francis Hayman and George Morland.

about our lecturer:

Karin is known for her entertaining lectures on writers and diarists connected with the arts from the mid-18th to 19th century, and moving forward in time with Virginia Woolf.

Extensive research into diaries and letters bring lectures to vivid life. Karin illustrates them with slides of contemporary pictures and portraits from varied sources.

Read more at her personal website