About this artwork

Joanna Baillie grew up in Scotland but moved to London in 1784, where she had access to literary society through her aunt and uncle. Her aunt’s example encouraged Baillie to write poetry, but a love of the theatre soon made her turn to serious drama. Her most ambitious works were her ‘Plays on the Passions’- a series of tragedies and comedies on human nature – published between 1798 and 1836. Although her plays met with mixed criticism, they were admired by Sir Walter Scott, with whom she kept up a regular correspondence. This portrait drawing from the artist’s sketchbook shows Joanna Baillie wearing a typical Regency gown of white muslin and a turban, which at the time was a popular type of headgear for women.

Mary Ann Knight

Mary Ann Knight