Anglo-Irish Novelist Maria Edgeworth’s Letters Sold for £8,000


A collection of letters signed by celebrated 18th century Anglo-Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth soared past its high estimate of £1,200 at Halls Fine Art’s book, stamps and coins auction in Shrewsbury.

Edgeworth (1768-1849) was an educationist and prolific novelist of adults’ and children’s literature and is credited with making significant contributions to the evolution of the novel in Europe. She was one of the first realist writers in children’s literature. Her most popular work on childhood education is Practical Education which she wrote in collaboration with her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth who contributed to many of her other works.

Her many correspondents across Britain and Europe included Jane Austen, Sir Walter Scott and Rachel Mordecai Lazarus, an American educator. Edgeworth travelled across Europe with her family while writing and spent the rest of her life living in the Edgeworthstown estate in County Longford, Ireland.

The 14 letters included in the auction were written between 1818 and 1831, mostly to Mr Lushington and a few to Miss Carr of Frognall, Hampstead. The letters are written from Edgeworthtown, the town named after the family and Lough Glynn, 31, Merrion Street, Dublin and Abbotsford, home of Sir Walter Scott.

“There has been a lot of interest in female writers of literature and poetry in the last 20 years and Maria Edgeworth is an important novelist," said Chris Moore, books and manuscripts specialist at Halls Fine Art.

The Maria Edgeworth Centre in Edgeworthtown pays homage to the novelist and tells the story of her life and works. A literary festival is also dedicated to her.