Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: The Dinner Party: Heritage Floor: Mary Monckton

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Samuel William Reynolds. Mary (Monckton), Countess of Cork and Orrery, circa 1820. After Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777–78. National Portrait Gallery, London

Mary Monckton
b. 1746, location unknown; d. 1840, London

Mary Monckton was a member of the Bluestockings, a loose-knit group of society women who hosted informal gatherings for literary and political discussions. The idea for these "conversations" evolved out of a desire for more intellectually satisfying social engagements than the usual evenings of card playing. Joined by writers such as Elizabeth Carter, Elizabeth Vesey, and Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, Monckton was well known for her wit and her conversational skills. In June 1786, she married Edmund Boyle, an earl and important social figure, who died in 1798. Monckton continued to host Bluestocking events and other literary parties at her house.

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