Catherine Ann Dorset

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Catherine Ann Dorset
Born c. 1753
Stoke next Guildford
Died after 1816
Occupation writer
Nationality British
Genre childrens books

Catherine Ann Dorset (c. 1753 – (after) 1816) was a children's writer.


Catherine Ann(a) Turner was born in Stoke next Guildford and baptised in 1753. Nicholas Turner became a widower after her birth and it is thought that her mother died as a result of the birth. Catherine had a brother, Nicholas, and an elder sister, Charlotte and she became a writer. Her father remarried and she married Captain Michael Dorset who was in the army on 2 June 1779 at St Martin-in-the-Fields in London. When her father died her brother was given the Bignor Park estate and Catherine was given an annuity. However her brother failed to manage his finances and Dorset was amongst his debtors. Dorset took her own brother to court and her husband was awarded the estate. Dorset and her sister lived there until Dorset's daughter's marriage meant that the estate had to be sold.

The Three wishes by Catherine Ann Dorset

Dorset published some unattributed poems in her sister's book called Conversations Introducing Poetry in 1804.[1]

Suit our wishes to our station by Catherine Ann Dorset

Dorset sister was more well known until 1809 when Dorset published a story that both entertained and educated and it was titled "The Peacock 'At Home': A sequel to the Butterfly's Ball". Her sister had died the year before and this new work was unattributed until 1809 when a new edition identified Dorset.[1] The book was illustrated by the Irish painter William Mulready and was seen as a sequel to the The Butterfly's Ball, and the Grasshopper's Feast by William Roscoe.[2] The Peacock had been meant as a sequel to William Roscoe's book but some felt that it was better than the original and it sold 40,000 copies as part of John Harris's Cabinet series. The series was extended and Dorset contributed Think before you Speak, or, The Three Wishes and maybe another title too. Think before you Speak, or, The Three Wishes was based on a translation of a traditional French poem.[3]

Dorset wrote an account of the life of her sister that was included in Walter Scott's Miscellaneous Prose Works in 1827. There is said to be no record of Dorset after 1816 so her place and year of death are given as unknown,[3] but another source that she spent her old age in Brighton and died in Chichester.[4] She had a daughter, Lucy, and a son, Charles Ferguson Dorset, who joined the army also wrote some poetry.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Books of Instruction. 0569F: Catherine Anne Dorset, Think before you speak". Hockcliffe Project. De Montfort University. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Feldman, ed. by Paula R. (2000). British women poets of the Romantic era : an anthology (Johns Hopins pbk. ed.). Baltimore, Md. [u.a.]: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press. p. 226. ISBN 0801866405. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Jennett Humphreys, ‘Dorset , Catherine Ann (bap. 1753, d. in or after 1816)’, rev. Katherine Turner, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Oct 2006 accessed 11 Oct 2014
  4. ^ Stanton, [edited by] Judith Phillips (2003). Collected Letters of Charlotte Smith. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 74. ISBN 0253110599. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 

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