Katherine Wilmot

Life
1773-1824 [sometimes Catherine]; b. Drogheda, where her f. was Port Surveyor; companion to the Mount Cashells; journals ed. by Thomas Sadlier, H. Montgomery Hyde, and the Marchioness of L’Derry incl. An Irish Peer on the Continent, 1801-03 (1920); The Russian Journals of Martha and Catherine Wilmot (1934); and More letters from Martha Wilmot; Vienna 1819-29 (1935). DIW DIB OCIL

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Works
Thomas U. Sadleir, ed., Catherine Wilmot, An Irish Peer on the Continent 1810-1803 (London: Williams & Northgate 1920); H. Montgomery Hyde, ed., Catherine Wilmot, and Martha Wilmot, Russian Journals 1803-08 (1934), 415pp.; also H. Montgomery Hyde and Marchioness of Londonderry, More letters from Martha Wilmot, impressions of Vienna 1819-1829, ed. (1935), 339pp.; Elizabeth Mavor, ed., The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot, France 1801-1803, and Russia 1805-07 (Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1992) 202pp.

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Commentary
Elizabeth Mavor, ed., The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot, France 1801-1803, and Russia 1805-07 (Weidenfeld & Nicholson 1992) 202pp., Journals written in the form of letters; France and Italy, 1801-03, under Napoleon; Katherine, a friend from a neighbouring estate in Cork, accompanying Lord and Lady Mount Cashell on their European tour; Lady Mount Cashell a former pupil of Mary Wollestonecroft and herself a republican with a vigorous independent mind, she had little in common with her husband; the letters show an aristocracy triumphant and at play; at Naples the ladies they say had diamonds sewn into the seams of their dresses; narrowly escaped banditti near Milan; describes dress fashion in Paris, ‘My first impression was amazement at beholding the women from fifteen to seventy almost in a state of nature. The petticoat (or train of the gown rather) covers however half the length of the room, which is a most benevolent disposition to display in a country where there are not many carpets.’ Of Tall[e]yrand, we only hear that ‘he ate like a cormorant.’ While Katherine was on her travels, her sister Martha had gone to Russia to stay with one of the foremost Russian ladies, Princess Dashkova, who had been instrumental in the coup that brought Catherine the Great to power, and later became first director of the Russian Academy of Science. In old age, she had become dependent on Martha’s company. In 1805 Katherine, having returned to Ireland, set out to meet her; remained on the Princess’s Troitskoe estate for two years, forming the second part of the book. Katherine introduced at court by the Princess’s influence; gives accounts of the tastes of the aristocracy, but also notices the details of a peasant wedding on the estate. The collection includes a letter from Katherine’s maid Eleanor to her relatives in Ireland. Martha (Mattie) stayed on longer, and also kept a journal, not included in this edition. While staying with the Princess, the sister translated her journals and smuggled them back to Ireland as too political for publication there. The sisters became embroiled in a family row involving enemies and supporters of the Tsar Alexander I. [Carla King, reviewing in Books Ireland, Nov. 1992]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography lists Barbarina Wilmot (1768-1854), author of Ina, trag. (London 1815), and other works; related to R. B. Sheridan’s second wife who became Baroness Brand and Lady Dacre afterwards; dg. of Admiral Ogle; m. Valentine Henry Wilmot, then Thomas Brand, 20th Lord Dacre; also listed, Edward Wilmot, author of Ugoline and Other Poems (London 1828), BA TCD, 1824; b. Cork; nephew Mrs Bradshaw, authoress, née Wilmot; and son of recorder of Cork.

Bernard Share, ed., Far Green Fields, 1500 Years of Irish Travel Writing (Belfast: Blackstaff 1992), gives extract from Catherine Wilmot, An Irish Peer on the Continent 1810-1803, ed. Thomas U. Sadleir (1920).

Belfast Central Public Library holds H. Montgomery Hyde, ed., Catherine [sic] Wilmot, and Martha Wilmot, Russian Journals 1803-08 (1934), 415pp.; also H. Montgomery Hyde and Marchioness of Londonderry, More letters from Martha Wilmot, impressions of Vienna 1819-1829, ed. (1935), 339pp.

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