Hester Chapone (nee Mulso) (1727-1801), Writer
Sitter in 3 portraits
The daughter of a gentleman of Northamptonshire. She was married to a solicitor, who died a few months afterwards, and then took up a career as a writer. Self-educated, she was one of the learned ladies who gathered around Elizabeth Montagu, and was the author of Letters on the Improvement of the Mind. The Letters were first written for her fifteen-year-old niece in 1773; by 1829, they had gone through twenty-eight editions. The letters focused on encouraging rational understanding through the reading of the Bible, history and literature. Girls were supposed to study bookkeeping, household management and botany, geology and astronomy, and were to avoid sentimental novels.