The Royal House of Tudor: A Series of Biographical Sketches (1866)


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Elizabeth's references to the Archives de France show that the book had long been brewing in her mind: Mary Tudor's Suffolk connections clearly appealed to her. In Agnes —who, unlike Elizabeth , was more attached to the Stuarts than to the Tudors—undertook a historical work by herself, a study of the three daughters of Charles I and the youngest daughter of James II.

The Dutch connections of the dynasty presented problems: with introductions and information provided by Archbishop Tait and the Lambeth Palace librarian, Wayland Kershaw , she resolved to visit the Netherlands and examine the libraries of The Hague. Despite initial apprehensions at undertaking a trip abroad alone at seventy-three, she enjoyed the visit: she saw the sights, was presented to the queen of Holland , and was given much assistance by the royal librarian, Mr Campbell.

After a brief tour of the Rhine she returned to England and Southwold to complete the work; Jane helped revise the proofs, but Elizabeth refused even this assistance. At seventy-five she preferred the quiet of her Tilford home, where she entertained supporters of Kossuth and attended the occasional seance.

The Stuart Princesses was completed in March ; Agnes then settled down to the task of compressing her life of Mary, queen of Scots , into two volumes, which were published by Bell and Daldy in After Agnes Strickland began to spend more time at home at Southwold: she took an interest in local affairs, writing a life of St Edmund , to whom the local church was dedicated, to raise money for charitable purposes.

In she attended the Scott commemoration festival in Edinburgh and then stayed with her sister Sarah at Ulverston. While staying at Crouch End in , she fell downstairs and broke her right leg in several places; later she had a stroke. Jane wrote a biography of Agnes , published in ; she died at Park Lane Cottage on 14 June of the following year and was buried beside the sister to whom she was so devoted.

A lifelong spinster, Jane seems to have been a rather lonely figure: in the late s her sister Catharine Parr Traill wrote of her that 'with talents of no mean order, beauty of person, and religious principles', she had 'never obtained the real tender love of any human being' Selected Correspondence , Less charitably, Susanna Moodie opined that 'in most families there is one, that always is a trial and who gets their own way by merely insisting upon it' Susanna Moodie , During her lifetime Agnes Strickland enjoyed considerable celebrity as the historian of the queens and cultivated a circle of aristocratic and literary friends, while her sister Elizabeth chose to remain outside the limelight.

The Lives of the Queens of England and—to a lesser extent—the Lives of the Queens of Scotland were among the most popular of all Victorian historical publications, and remain important landmarks in the development of the biographical genre. By the beginning of the twentieth century the reputation of Agnes Strickland was much eclipsed, although those who produce biographies of the queens of England —from the writers of articles for the Dictionary of National Biography to scholars reinterpreting the careers of figures such as Anne Boleyn and Eleanor of Aquitaine in the s—have found themselves obliged to turn to the Stricklands' seminal accounts.

Most major public libraries continue to carry an edition of the Lives , among other encyclopaedic works, and the later twentieth century saw a revival of academic interest in the elder Strickland sisters as female historians and historians of women. They were undoubtedly key figures in the development of writing on women's history, playing a role in creating a tradition of female worthies which can be seen as the first step towards fuller scholarly investigation.

While a range of contemporary women writers—including Anna Jameson , Lucy Aikin , Louisa Costello , Hannah Lawrance , Mrs Matthew Hall , and Emily Holt —were writing the biographies of royal and aristocratic women and court histories, the Stricklands were undoubtedly the most prominent and influential figures in their field of study. Womanist rather than feminist, they interpreted their subjects through the medium of Victorian domestic ideology: the queens are valued as much for their domestic and private virtues as for their public characters, and were intended as exemplars for a predominantly female readership.

However, unlike some of their rivals they were also influenced by the antiquarian tendency of picturesque history writing: they wrote queenly lives based on full and original documentation, pursuing research in archives in both Britain and France. It was in Mary Anne Everett Green , the author of The Lives of the Princesses of England and a historian equally devoted to record research, that they were to find their most satisfactory disciple.

Her employment in the Public Record Office—an acceptance as a professional historian—makes her a bridge between the Stricklands and the next generation of women historians—which included Kate Norgate , Lucy Toulmin Smith , and Alice Stopford Green —who were themselves precursors of the women social and economic historians in the early twentieth century such as Alice Clark and Eileen Power. Printed from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice.

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Religious Affiliation. Buddhism Christianity. Hinduism Islam. Judaism Other. Sikhism Browse All. Sign In Article Navigation. Subscriber sign in. Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign in via your Institution. Sign in with your library card. Search within Article contents Education and early authorship Embarking on the Lives of the Queens of England, — Travel and celebrity, — Writing the Lives of the Queens of Scotland, — Later publications: bachelors and bishops, — Later years and death, — Assessment and reputation Sources Archives Likenesses Wealth at Death See also External resources Archive Edition.

Agnes Strickland — by John Hayes , Education and early authorship With her elder sister, Elizabeth , who was born on 17 November , also in north-west Kent, Agnes Strickland was educated by her father; he believed that girls should be educated 'upon the same plan as boys because … it strengthened the female mind' Pope-Hennessy , 5. Embarking on the Lives of the Queens of England , — In the early s the Strickland family was largely dispersed: both Strickland brothers were already living abroad, one in Canada, one in the West Indies; in Catharine Parr Traill and Susanna Moodie emigrated to Canada with their new husbands; the domestically minded Sarah had married Robert Childs , partner in the dissenting publishing firm of that name, while Jane stayed at home with her mother, a labour for which Agnes piously opined she would not 'lose [her] heavenly reward' Strickland , Travel and celebrity, — As the sisters prepared the fourth volume of the Lives in , Agnes took advantage of her increasing celebrity to tour country houses in the north and west of England that had links with the Tudor queens.

Writing the Lives of the Queens of Scotland , — Undeterred by these controversies, Agnes Strickland now suggested a comprehensive series of lives of the Scottish queens, which would allow her to write a biography of her beloved Mary, queen of Scots. Later publications: bachelors and bishops, — In Jane Margaret Strickland , Agnes's devoted sister, had published her school history, Rome, Regal and Republican , the proceeds of which allowed her to buy a cottage in Southwold. Later years and death, — After Mrs Strickland's death in , at ninety-two, the sisters were obliged to sell Reydon.

Assessment and reputation During her lifetime Agnes Strickland enjoyed considerable celebrity as the historian of the queens and cultivated a circle of aristocratic and literary friends, while her sister Elizabeth chose to remain outside the limelight. Sources U. Pope-Hennessy, Agnes Strickland : biographer of the queens of England, — Mitchell, Picturing the past : English history in text and image, — Maitzen, Gender, genre, and Victorian history writing Bellamy, A.

Laurence, and G. Perry , — Reading L.

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Cubitt and A. Warren , — Susanna Moodie : letters of a lifetime , ed. Ballstadt, E. Hopkins, and M.

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Gems of Female Biography. Smith, George Barnett. Women of Renown: Nineteenth Century Studies. London: W. Allen, Smith, John Frederick. Romantic Incidents in the Lives of the Queens of England. Smith, Mary Ann. Edinburgh: John Anderson, Snell, Frederick John. The Girlhood of Famous Women. Illustrated by Margaret Tarrant. London: Harrap, ; ; Snyder, Rev. Harvey Albert, and Ethel Wendell Trout. Girls of the Bible: Told in Simple Language.

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Boston: Little, Brown and Co. London: J. Dent and Co. Spofford, Harriet Elizabeth Prescott. A Little Book of Friends. Boston: Little, Brown, ; See also Pop Chart An extended coterie of writers. By Clergymen of the United States.

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