Lady Edith Blake, Irish polyglot, botanical artist and travel writer
Tipperary woman spoke nine languages, wrote three plays, and painted watercolours exhibited in the British museum
Lady Edith Blake wrote on a wide array of topics based on her experiences abroad, including a history of the Maroons of Jamaica, the restoration of the Ming Dynasty, the position of women in China and life and death in Ireland.
Edith Osborne led a privileged yet troubled childhood. Her father, Ralph Bernal, was a liberal MP and a member of a fledgling political dynasty while her mother, Catherine Osborne, was the daughter of a wealthy baronet with extensive landholdings across Ireland.
Their marriage was certainly one of convenience and both seem to have actively loathed each other. Her father spent most of his time in London, while her mother remained with Edith and her sister Grace at their estate in Tipperary. In 1863 her mother even anonymously published a thinly disguised attack on her husband titled ‘False Positions’, which brought his frequent extramarital affairs to public attention.