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  • Susan Stoderl

Women Writers Through History | Scottish WomanWriter Catherine Eliza Richardson (1777-1853)

Updated: Jun 23

Catherine Eliza Richardson Portrait
Scottish Woman Author of Novels and Poetry

Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist, historian, and philosopher, in his memoirs “Remini-scences” referred to Catherine Eliza Richardson as “poor and hospitable Mrs. Richardson, once a ‘novelist’ of mark, much of a gentlewoman and loved by us both (he and wife).”

Scottish Woman Writer Catherine Eliza Richardson wrote under the pen name Mrs. G. G. Richardson after she married her cousin Gilbert Geddes Richardson, a mariner and captain of an East Indiaman in 1799. After having five children, her husband died in 1805. After his death, she returned to Canonbie, Dumriesshire to raise her children, then moved to London during their teenage years. She returned home in 1821 and remained until her death.

Her first work published in 1801 was Adonia - A Desultory Story, a four-volume novel. The book’s characters navigate the complexities of relationships, society’s expectations, and their desires. It particularly focuses on the roles and expectations of women in society.

The short-lived London Weekly Review (LWR) periodical, edited by David Lester Richardson, published her poems during the years 1827-29. In 1828, she released her first collection of poems, titled Poems, through private subscription, with a print run of 1,700 copies. Critics had varying reviews of her work, with some praising it while others scorned it. Poems: Second Series was published in 1834, Grandmamma’s Sampler; with some other Rhymes for Children in 1836.

When she returned to Scotlands after her husband’s death, she wrote a poem “On Revisiting the Banks of the Esk after an absence of some years”

Ocean has been between us, and the throngs

Of other shores—and some, alas! how dear!

Yet still to thee one crowning spell belongs;

Life’s morning records were collected.

Yes! fresh again the sunny scenes of your—

The sights, the sounds, that vernal fancy fed,

Appear before me in their native truth,

But Hope, that promised more, th’ enchanter’s fled.


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