Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington

(1146 words)
  • Harriet Devine (Edge Hill University)

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, famous for her beauty, notorious for her supposedly scandalous life, was at the centre of London literary life for more than thirty years. The friend of Byron, Dickens, Bulwer-Lytton, Thackeray and Disraeli among others, she presided over a series of glittering salons and corresponded indefatigably with many of the best-known writers of the day. She was also a writer of novels, poems, short stories and travel books, and edited several successful annuals and gift-books.

Born – as Margaret Power – in the small village of Knockbrit in County Tipperary, Ireland, she was the eldest daughter of an impoverished Irish squire and his well-born wife. A shy, and not overly attractive child,…

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Devine, Harriet. "Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 November 2002
[, accessed 01 December 2015.]