Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby — the Ladies of Llangollen

Plas Newydd: Near Llangollen
Jacques, Edwin W. (Artist)
Plas Newydd: Near Llangollen
Chester: T. Catherall, [1850?]
In the late eighteenth century, aristocrat Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, the young orphaned daughter of Chambre Brabazon Ponsonby, abandoned their lives in Ireland and made a home for themselves in Llangollen, Wales, to the disapproval of both their families. Known as the Ladies of Llangollen, they appeared to have understood their relationship as a marriage. They were part of an emerging culture of relationships between same-sex couples. While they lived a life of rural retreat, the Ladies’ celebrity and social status meant that their home Plas Newydd became a salon. They built an extensive library, and there they hosted many of the intelligentsia of the day, including writers such as Wordsworth, Byron, Lady Caroline Lamb, and Anna Seward; physician Erasmus Darwin; potter Josiah Wedgwood; and the reigning Queen Charlotte.
Ladies of Llangollen Collection
Jacques, Edwin W. (Artist), Plas Newydd: Near Llangollen, Chester: T. Catherall, [1850?], Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Accessed June 12, 2024, https://exhibits.library.duke.edu/exhibits/show/baskin/item/4143