Mary Matilda Betham

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Not to be confused with her niece, the novelist Matilda Betham (1836–1919).

Mary Matilda Betham (1776-1852) was an English poet, woman of letters, and miniature painter.[1]

She was the daughter of William Betham.[1] In London, Betham gave public Shakespeare readings and exhibited her portraits at the Royal Academy. She published A Biographical Dictionary of the Celebrated Women of Every Age and Country in 1804. Her best work in poetry is Lay of Marie (1816), based upon the story of Marie de France. Betham was a close friend of Robert Southey and his wife, Anna Laetitia Barbauld and her husband, and Charles and Mary Lamb and an acquaintance of John Opie, Frances Holcroft, Hannah More, Germaine de Staël, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.[2] Some of Betham's letters along with a biographical sketch are in the book Six Life Stories of Famous Women (1880) by her niece Matilda Betham-Edwards.[3]


  1. ^ a b  "Betham, Mary Matilda". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900. 
  2. ^ Feldman, Paul R. (1997). "Matilda Betham". British women poets of the romantic era: an anthology. Johns Hopkins U. Press. pp. 91–102. ISBN 0-8018-6640-5. 
  3. ^ Betham-Edwards, M. (1880). "Matilda Betham". Six life stories of famous women. New York: E. P. Duttton & Co. pp. 229–303.