An Infamous Mistress: a peep at her brother’s hand

We have pored over many eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents in the course of our research. Letters, diaries, legal documents, wills, you name it, we’ve probably struggled through it, including cross-hatched letters which take an eternity to read!

So you can image what an absolute joy it was to come across a letter from our ‘infamous’ eighteenth-century courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliott’s brother, Henry Hew Dalrymple, in the National Archives of Scotland which was written in the most beautiful, clear copperplate hand – how many of you would long to find such a letter?

The clear handwriting of Grace Dalrymple Elliott's brother, Henry Hew Dalrymple. Find our more about him in An Infamous Mistress: The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott. © National Records of Scotland, GD51/6/974.
The clear handwriting of Grace Dalrymple Elliott’s brother, Henry Hew Dalrymple. © National Records of Scotland, GD51/6/974.

The letter was to Henry Dundas and because of copyright restrictions we can’t show it in full here, but we do mention it and give the gist of the contents in our book, An Infamous Mistress: The Life, Loves and Family of the Celebrated Grace Dalrymple Elliott. But we couldn’t resist giving you a little peep at it, just so you can judge for yourselves, so we have cropped his signature from the letter to share with you.

Henry Dundas (1742-1811), 1st Viscount Melville, Statesman by David Martin; National Galleries of Scotland
Henry Dundas (1742-1811), 1st Viscount Melville, Statesman by David Martin; National Galleries of Scotland
Mrs Grace Dalrymple Elliott by Thomas Gainsborough (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Read her biography: www.amazon.co.uk/Infamous-Mistress-Celebrated-Dalrymple-Elliott/dp/1473844835
Mrs Grace Dalrymple Elliott by Thomas Gainsborough (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

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