Dynastic Strategist, Architectural Patroness and Businesswoman: Bess of Hardwick

Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury by Unknown Artist, probably 17th century based on a work c.1590, oil on canvas (on display Montacute House, NPG 203) Elizabeth Talbot, or, as she is more commonly known, Bess of Hardwick, was born into a Derbyshire gentry family that became increasingly impoverished and subjected her childhood to hardships, but…

“C’est mon plaisir” – Isabella Stewart Gardner and her collection

Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent, 1888, oil on canvas (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum P30WI) Above the central portal to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is her motto: “C’est mon plaisir” (“it is my pleasure”) This sums up perfectly the collection housed at Fenway Court: a unique and beautiful museum created by a unique…

Collector, Traveller and the Life and Soul of the Party: Elizabeth Percy, 1st Duchess of Northumberland

Happy International Women’s Day! Seeing all the amazing articles and tweets flying around today about pioneering women the whole world over has really inspired me to think about the women in history who I really admire. I research women’s history, so today is really important in terms of reflecting on how far we’ve come as…

Girls in the Lead! The Girlguiding Movement

Today is International Women’s Day and I thought this was a perfect chance to talk about one of the biggest women’s movements across the world – Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Present in 146 countries worldwide, reaching ten million girls and young women, it is an incredibly dynamic movement and one which is close to…