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Louisa Anne Meredith

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Published : 3 Articles
Pen Names : None
Date of Birth : 20/7/1812
Death : 21/10/1895
Views : 3710

Miscellaneous writer. Born near Birmingham. Taught chiefly by her mother, but also attended school; schoolmate of Mrs. Gaskell. In 1835 published Poems; in 1836, The Romance of Nature, dedicated to Wordsworth; both books illustrated by her own drawings; published also other volumes. Mentioned by Leigh Hunt, "Blue-Stocking Revels", 1837, as "young Twalmley" [sic] "Whose pen and whose pencil give promise like spring". In 1839 married her cousin Charles Meredith (no relation, said George Meredith, to his branch of the family), who had been a squatter in New South Wales. In same year accompanied her husband to Sydney. Later the Merediths removed to Tasmania, which thereafter remained their home. Mrs. Meredith, much interested in politics, wrote unsigned articles for Tasmanian newspapers; contributed to the Australian Ladies' Annual; sent an occasional item to British periodicals, e.g., Chambers's, Once a Week. Became a "prominent personality in the literary history of Tasmania" (Miller, Australian Lit., I, 215). Published Notes and Sketches of New South Wales, 1844; My Home in Tasmania, 1852, "still one of the best authorities on Tasmanian life and society" of the time (Miller, I, 216); George Eliot found the book "charming" and "delightful" (Westminster Review, October 1853). Wrote two books describing Tasmanian flowers, insects, etc., the descriptions being interspersed with verses and illustrated by colour plates from her drawings: Some of My Bush Friends in Tasmania, 1860, dedicated "by the Royal Command" to Her Majesty the Queen; and a second series of Bush Friends, 1891, the proof-sheets of which Sir Joseph Hooker checked "to prevent botanical errors". Wrote also Tasmanian Friends and Foes: Feathered, Furred, and Finned (in story form), Grandmamma's Verse Book for Young Australia, Waratah Rhymes for Young Australia, and other books. After her husband's death, 1880, was granted pension of £100 a year by Tasmanian Government.


On January 15 1859, Mrs. Meredith wrote to Leigh Hunt: "If certain papers by 'A Settler's Wife' appear in H.W. perchance you will see them" (Brewer, My Leigh Hunt Library: The Holograph Letters, p. 384). The reference may be to papers of Mrs. Meredith's submitted to but not accepted by H.W., though this supposition is very unlikely; or the reference may be to "Shadows of the Golden Image", though that article had appeared in H.W. more than a year and a half before. (No articles in the early volumes of A.Y.R. seem to be Mrs. Meredith's writing, though her poem "A Friend in a Flower" appeared in the number of July 23 1859). There was some delay, and evidently some confusion, about payment for "Shadows of the Golden Image". Dickens's letter to Wills, October 22 1858, indicates that Mrs. Meredith had written to W. C. Macready about the matter. The payment date recorded in the Office Book is April (or August ?) 5 1858.

The H.W. article "A Brazilian in Bloomsbury" referred to the account of an opossum given in Mrs. Meredith's My Home in Tasmania.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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