Publisher: London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1775.
Edition: First edition.
Bibliographical References: ESTC T64790; Robinson, pages 249-50; ODNB.
Condition: Edges skillfully repaired; fine copy.
Book ID: 28029
DescriptionSmall 8vo, contemporary sprinkled calf, red morocco label, gilt rules and lettering. Folding genealogical table of the Romanov family.
CommentsLike Mary Wortley Montagu, Jane Ward (1699-1783) became a traveler when she accompanied her husband Thomas Ward on a diplomatic mission, this one to Russia between 1730 and 1739. Also like Montagu she did not intend her letters for public consumption, and they were not published until late in her life. Letters from a Lady was positively reviewed and soon translated into several languages. A second, “corrected,” edition appeared in 1777 and eleven additional letters were posthumously published in 1784. Vigor paints a lively portrait of Russian aristocratic intrigue and romance under the reign of Anna Ioannovna. She was impressed with the emerging westernized Russia and its extravagant building projects in St. Petersburg, but also repulsed at the slight of the bleak existence of the serfs in the countryside: “wretches so lo and poor that they seem to have only the figures of human creatures.” Jane Ward’s husband died during his diplomatic mission; she then remarried his secretary Claudius Rondeau, who died several years later; after which she married William Vigor. “Another Englishwoman resident in St Petersburg during the 1730s, the governess Elizabeth Justice, observed of Mrs Rondeau that she was 'a fine woman; very tall, and perfectly genteel', and 'in all her answers, even to her inferiors, she shows the greatest condescension, and most obliging temper'" – ODNB.