Entries by Bernice Barry

Layers of history

“Often have I laid in bed on board and thought of you all with my eyes shut and could, for the moment, fancy myself at Rosneath.” Georgiana Molloy 1829   When I was at school I was taught that history was a fixed thing, an accumulation of dates and facts that could be learned and […]

From Regency to Victorian

I often talk about combining empathy and imagination with factual evidence when writing about history because that’s what works for me. The story of an individual becomes real when I can picture them clearly going about the everyday tasks in life. That’s just imagination but empathy adds something extra, the ingredient that allows a writer […]

Where Georgiana walked

Most of the buildings that still stand in the Carlisle Cathedral precinct would have been familiar to young Georgiana Kennedy in the early 1800s. Like her own family history, they represent many generations who went before. If you visit today, you can walk where she walked and see the same ruins of the original priory […]

Endurance

This brilliantly coloured Beaufortia squarrosa (Sand bottlebrush) has been flowering steadily now in the bush at home for at six months. It’s growing in very dry, sandy soil and it receives no special care from me, even during the summer when temperatures are in the thirties and there has been no rain for three months. A few […]

Little blue flowers

The research journey of discovering more about Georgiana Molloy and her life has been a long one – more than a decade – and it continues now, even after the publication of the new Picador edition of my book. I think that’s what it is about research that fascinates and motivates and keeps you going […]

One quarter of a penny

This is an 1829 George IV farthing. Prince George acted as Regent during the mental illness of his father, King George III, giving the name ‘Regency’ to a distinctive period of English design in clothing and architecture based on his lavish tastes. In 1821, Georgiana was at boarding school in London when the coronation of […]

A portrait of a lady

Georgiana Molloy’s face appears on many web pages and in many books and documents, the image usually taken from photographs of the only known surviving portrait of her as an adult. That 1829 painting feels almost familiar and yet most people I talk to are not aware that the original is a miniature. It can […]

Lodes and loads

Old documents fascinate for so many different reasons. Here’s an example of the way a writer’s own world is almost made real again in the words used. This builder was writing to Georgiana’s father requesting payment for materials and work on the family home, Crosby Lodge, in 1807. The amounts owing on this invoice were […]