Public talk on 28 November 2013: ‘Richard Robinson’s Famous Cousin: Elizabeth Montagu’


The Library will be the venue for a public talk by Professor Moyra Haslett on Thursday 28 November 2013 at 7.30pm, in advance of Armagh’s Georgian Day.

In her talk, ‘Richard Robinson’s Famous Cousin: Elizabeth Montagu’, Professor Haslett will consider the relationship between Richard Robinson, Archbishop of Armagh, and his cousin Elizabeth Montagu, known as the ‘Queen of the Bluestockings’. Their friendship spanned over fifty years and shows both these famous personalities in a new light.

The talk will particularly focus on the portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which the cousins exchanged as gifts, and on selected letters from Robinson to Montagu (now in the collection of the Huntington library). Archbishop of Armagh from 1765 to 1795, Robinson is famous for commissioning so many of the buildings which make up the Georgian fabric of the city. Montagu may be lesser known in Armagh but is currently a very important figure for scholarship on women’s writing and female patronage in the eighteenth century. Surviving letters from Robinson to Montagu, forty in all, give us a glimpse into the private, familial lives of these two powerful personalities.

Books and prints relevant to the topic of the relationship between Richard Robinson and Elizabeth Montagu will be on display during and after the talk.

Moyra Haslett is Professor of Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Period Literature in the School of English, Queen’s University Belfast. She was educated at Trinity College Dublin, where she became a Scholar in 1988. After lecturing positions in the University of Luton and St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, she joined Queen’s University in 1999. She is the author of three books on literary studies, and has most recently edited a novel published in 1756 for the ‘Early Irish Fiction’ series, of which she is series co-editor. Her first monograph, on the poetry of Lord Byron, was awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay prize by the British Academy. The Georgian Day Talk comes out of her research into the Bluestockings, a topic on which she has published several articles, and which is a major feature of her forthcoming book, Before the Bluestockings: imagining female community, 1690-1780. She is a regular visitor to the Armagh Public Library and will be bringing the annual conference of the ‘Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society’ to the Library in June 2014.

Admission to Professor Haslett’s talk is free.