Dorothy Richardson Papers
Date range: 1761-1802
Number of items:
Dorothy Richardson was born in 1748, the daughter of Rev Henry Richardson, Rector of Thornton in Craven, Yorkshire.
Between 1761 and 1801 she undertook a series of tours of England in the company of members of her family, visiting Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Bath and London.
An unmarried, highly-educated and leisured women, Richardson undertook her journeys with a high degree of seriousness and in a quest for knowledge. She described her travels in a series of accounts, recording details of antiquarian sites, country houses, museums, manufactures, geological features and landscapes – traditionally viewed as masculine preoccupations. The accounts are illustrated with numerous pen-and-ink drawings.
In a recent study they have been described as ‘a series of writings which are neither confession nor fable, but which lie somewhere between autobiography and chronicle, history and inventory [constituting] ...excellent a paradigmatic case of disciplined recording that challenges received notions of travel, pleasure, gender, and knowledge in England in the second half of the eighteenth century’ (Marcia Pointon, Strategies for Showing: Women, Possession, and Representation in English Visual Culture 1665–1800 (Oxford, 1997), pp. 102, 124).
The Dorothy Richardson travel journals provide extensive scope for cultural, social, gender, art historical, antiquarian and topographical studies.
- Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
- Marcia Pointon, Strategies for Showing: Women, Possession, and Representation in English Visual Culture 1665–1800 (Oxford, 1997), pp. 89–130.
- Zoë Kinsley, ‘Considering the Manuscript Travelogue: The Journals of Dorothy Richardson (1761–1801)’, Prose Studies, vol. 26, no. 3 (December 2003), pp. 414–31.
- Karen Lynch, ‘Taking Great Notice: Dorothy Richardson’s Account of Ornamental Buildings on the Boynton Estate, East Riding of Yorkshire’, The Follies Journal, no. 7 (Winter 2007), pp. 1–22.