Remarkable People

ID #5211

Lady Anne Barnard, Social Commentator, South Africa.

Lady Anne Barnard née Lindsay (1750–1825), eldest daughter of James Lindsay, Earl of Balcarres was born at Balcarres House in Fife, Scotland. She was author of the ballad Auld Robin Gray and an accomplished writer, artist and socialite of the period.

In 1793 Anne married Andrew Barnard, son of Thomas Barnard, the Bishop of Limerick, for whom she obtained the appointment of colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope. They travelled to the Cape in March 1797, where she remained until January 1802.

Her letters to Dundas, then secretary for war and the colonies, and her diaries of travels into the interior have become an important source of information about the people, events and social life of the time. She is also remained in popular memory as a socialite, known for entertaining at the Castle of Good Hope as the official hostess of Governor Earl Macartney.

The remarkable series of letters, journals and drawings she produced were published in 1901 under the title South Africa a Century Ago. In 1806, on the reconquest of the Cape by the UK, Barnard was reappointed Colonial Secretary, but Lady Anne did not accompany him and he died at the Cape in 1807. The rest of her life was passed in London where she died on 6 May 1825.

Lady Anne was also an accomplished artist, some of her works being included in her published accounts of life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her works include oil paintings and drawings. Rev. William Leeves revealed in 1812 that she had written Auld Robin Gray in 1772 and set to music by him. It was published anonymously in 1783, Lady Anne only acknowledging the authorship in a letter to Sir Walter Scott (1823), who subsequently edited it for the Bannatyne Club with two continuations.

Lady Anne is commemorated in several ways in Cape Town. A chamber in the Castle of Good Hope is known as "Lady Anne Barnard's Ballroom"; a road in the suburb of Newlands, where the Barnards lived, is named "Lady Anne Avenue"; and a carved effigy is displayed in the foyer of the civic centre in the neighbouring suburb of Claremont. The Barnards' country house, The Vineyard, survives as part of an hotel. Several of her letters are prominently displayed in the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands. A pool in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden -- Lady Anne's Bath -- is named after her RSALAB

attached files: Lady Anne Barnard's Pool at Kirstenbosch.jpg

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Last update: 2014-03-02 21:44
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.7

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