Mary Richardson (1815-49)
In 1826, following the death by consumption of Ruskinʼs cousin, James Richardson, who had lived at Herne Hill, Margaret Ruskin declared a ban on
“bringing ourselves under such responsibility” as
adopting relativesʼ children into the household.
Nonetheless, by April 1827, Margaret declared “how great a relief” she felt owing to the arrangements for Mary to live
at Herne Hill for at least part of the year. Perhaps Margaret was led to this exception by Maryʼs gender, since in the same April 1827 letter
she conveyed to John James her satisfaction in having a female companion, a Miss DePree, to stay with her “while you are away” on business travel,
“and it seems to be her real desire to make herself useful and spare me trouble” in such tasks as sewing and shopping.
Following the death of Maryʼs mother, Jessie Richardson, in May 1828, Maryʼs residence at Herne Hill became permanent until her marriage
(Ruskin Family Letters, 144, 156, 157 n. 2).
A note in the Ruskin Newsletter describing the sale of
Maryʼs diaries of her tours with the Ruskins lists the dates as 17
June–16 July 1833; 4 June–25 August 1835; 22 December
1840–11 March 1841; 16 March–23 June 1841 (one volume
for each period); also a diary from 1849, the year she died. Gertrude Atthill
deposited 2 vols. of transcriptions in the Whitehouse collection, with the 1833
volume of transcripts running 14 May–25 August 1833:
“thus there are volumes of 1833 MSS omitted from this
sale”, Dearden remarks. Copyright vested by Atthillʼs
will (d. 1971) with Community of St. John the Evangelist of the Priory of St.
David at Pembroke.