Mary Delany lived at a time when most women, particularly of her class, were given anything but ‘full career’, yet she managed to carve out a great space in which to expand, and made that space available to others. She combined enormous generosity of spirit with prudence.

“Our spirits ought to have their full career when our inclinations are innocent, and should not be checked but when they would exceed the bounds of prudence.”

Source: quoted in Molly Peacock, The Paper Garden (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), p. 146

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