Wives and Daughters : Women and Children in the Georgian Country House, Hardback

Wives and Daughters : Women and Children in the Georgian Country House Hardback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Wives and Daughters is a portrait of the world of women inside the country houses that symbolised the power and taste of eighteenth-century Britain.

If men dominated public life, their wives were responsible for the household, bringing up children, entertaining, employing servants, nursing and dispensing charity.

They also kept closely in touch by letter with news of family, comments on books, remedies and gardening tips, as well as the latest gossip.

The women of the powerful Fox family, headed by the Whig Earls of Ilchester, have left an exceptional record of their lives in the great Wessex houses, including Redlynch, Melbury, Bowood and Lacock, into which the girls of the family married over several generations.

Wives and Daughters traces the lives of individual women.

Courtship, marriage and childbirth, education, houses and gardens, reading, hobbies, travel and health were only some of the women's many interests and preoccupations.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 474 pages, 35 illustrations
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9781852852719



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The cover implies a more general book, which this isn't. This is the story of Joanna Martin's family in the Georgian period from a wealth of papers and information that she had, and has access to. As such it's an excellent book, and I'm not sure if there's an uncomplicated title that would have conveyed what the book is actually about.The book is divided into two sections; Daughters and wives. The first details the lives of four daughters of the family and their experiences, the second how women born into the household and brought into the household found their lives as wives. She looks at Country houses; country house life; servants; household management; health; education; Literature and Science; Gardens; travel and patronage. It's an interesting look at lives led during this period by a select group of people and should be standard on the shelves of fiction authors looking for details about this period, with an understanding that this family was quite high in social status. Interesting, but not quite what it suggested from the title.

Also by Joanna Martin