Defiance: The Extraordinary Life of Lady Anne Barnard
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.
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An eccentric life, wonderfully told. Lady Anne Barnard was a brave traveler, artist and observer. Stephen Taylor brings her brilliantly out of the shadows.--Stella Tillyard, author of A Royal Affair
Full and compelling... [A] page-turning introduction to a fascinating life.
An edifying, uncluttered, and enjoyable picture of life in Regency England.
Stephen Taylor's biography is scrupulous, affectionate and well-written... [Anne's] appetite for life speaks to us across the centuries, and she wears her affections irresistibly on her sleeve, so that her loves are our loves, and likewise her losses.--Virginia Nicholson
Taylor's biography gives a sense of both the richness of the life Anne created for herself and the melancholy that came with not conforming to expectations... [A] captivating portrait of a woman of huge courage, talent, and warmth.--Lucy Moore
Captivating... [A] sparkling portrait of a woman unapologetically ahead of her time.--Margaret Flanagan