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Helen Mary Gaskell

Helen Mary Gaskell (née Melville), CBE, known as May Gaskell (1853–1940) was a society hostess and philanthropist in London who established the British War Library.[1]

Gaskell was a "vivacious but unhappily married society hostess who belonged to the aristocratic circle of friends known as the 'Souls'": she had platonic relationship with the artist Edward Burne-Jones, who wrote her up to six letters a day and painted a famous portrait of her daughter Amy.[2] The letters were only discovered in 2005, when May's great-grandchild Josceline Dimbleby wrote a book about the affair, called "A Profound Secret" (ISBN 0552999814) (US title: "May and Amy: A True Story of Family, Forbidden Love, and the Secret Lives of May Gaskell, Her Daughter Amy, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones", ISBN 978-0307335890). Burne-Jones also painted May herself.[3][4]

Gaskell founded the War Library in 1914 and actively ran it throughout the war.[1]

Despite moving in similar circles, she was no relation to Elizabeth Gaskell.[5][6]

Awards and honours

References

  1. ^ a b Haslam, Sara (28 March 2018). "Reading, Trauma and Literary Caregiving 1914–1918: Helen Mary Gaskell and the War Library". Journal of Medical Humanities. doi:10.1007/s10912-018-9513-5. PMID 29594635.
  2. ^ Dorment, Richard (13 April 2004). "Fruit of a forbidden passion". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Portrait of Helen Mary Gaskell by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt ARA". victorianweb.org. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  4. ^ "Pre Raphaelite Art: Edward Burne-Jones – portrait of Helen Mary Gaskell". Pre Raphaelite Art. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Helen Mary Gaskell". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 3 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Elizabeth Gaskell". geni_family_tree.

External links


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