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Mary Lamb (1764-1847), Sister and collaborator of Charles Lamb

Sitter in 2 portraits
A writer, best known for Tales from Shakespeare written with her brother Charles Lamb. Born into a poor family, Mary Lamb received little formal education. From an early age she helped support the family by doing needlework. Her mother was an invalid, and for many years she was entirely dependent on Mary's care. In 1796, Mary stabbed and killed her mother. She was declared temporarily insane and placed under the guardianship of her brother Charles. In 1807 Mary and Charles published Tales from Shakespeare, a collection of prose adaptations of William Shakespeare's plays, for children. The book established Charles Lamb's literary reputation; hers did not appear on the cover.

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Mary Lamb; Charles Lamb

by Francis Stephen Cary
oil on canvas, 1834
NPG 1019


Mary Lamb

after Francis Stephen Cary
stipple engraving, (1834)
NPG D16132