Delany, Mary Granville (1700–1788)

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Delany, Mary Granville (1700–1788)

English literary correspondent and artist who was a friend of Jonathan Swift. Name variations: Mrs. Delany or Delaney; Mary Granville; Mary or Mrs. Pendarves. Born Mary Granville on May 14, 1700, at Coulston, Wiltshire, England; died at Windsor, on April 15, 1788; niece of 1st Baron Lansdowne; married Alexander Pendarves, in 1718 (died 1724); married Patrick Delany or Delaney (an Irish cleric), in 1743 (died 1768).

An English woman of literary tastes, Mary Granville Delany first married Alexander Pendarves in 1718. Following his death in 1724, she left Cornwall a wealthy widow of 24 to live in London. In 1743, she married another widower, the eminent preacher Patrick Delany, who became the dean of Down through her influence. While they lived in Delville, at Glasnevin, near Dublin, she began to draw and write, describing the landscapes they encountered on their journeys. She also designed and embroidered fabrics. She and her husband were close friends of Jonathan Swift.

Mary Delany returned to London after her husband's death in 1768. Sought after socially, she was the friend of Margaret Bentinck , the second duchess of Portland, and King George III. The king called her his "dearest Mrs. Delany," gave her a house in Windsor and a pension of £300 a year. Delany was a great favorite with the royal family. She presented some of the "paper mosaic" for which she was famous to Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz . Delany's major work Hortus Siccus, 900 cut-paper depictions of plants, resides in the British Museum. When she died in 1788, Mary Granville Delany left behind six volumes of autobiography and letters, which present a detailed view of English society in the 18th century. They were published by her great-great niece in 1861–62; another edition, titled Letters from Georgian Ireland, was published by Angélique Day in 1991.

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