Janet Adam Smith, 25 June 1992
As readers of her book on The Ladies of Llangollen will know, Elizabeth Mavor relishes spirited, unorthodox women, free with their tongues and ready to snap their fingers at convention. Now she has found a new clutch of them in the Archives of the Royal Irish Academy: an Irish countess, a Russian princess, a young woman from Co. Cork and her lady’s maid. They come to us from the journals that the young woman, Katherine Wilmot, kept during her travels on the Continent in 1801-3 and to Russia from 1805 to 1807, and sent home to her family. Parts of these journals have already been published, in Thomas Sadleir’s An Irish Peer on the Continent (1920) and in Lady Londonderry and H.M. Hyde’s The Russian Journals and Letters of Martha and Catherine Wilmot (1934). For the present selection, which covers both tours, Elizabeth Mavor has gone back to the original transcripts, included some hitherto unpublished material, and provided the historical context.