Eleanor Glanville

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Lady Eleanor Glanville (c. 1654 – 1709) was a 17th-century English entomologist from Tickenham in Somerset.


Lady Glanville was particularly interested in butterflies. She collected large numbers of butterfly specimens, many of which survive as some of the earliest specimens kept in the Natural History Museum. She would beat the hedges for "a parcel of wormes", neighbours reported.

The Glanville fritillary butterfly is named after her.[1]


Eleanor Glanville was the daughter of William Goodricke and Eleanor Poyntz, a descendent of the Poyntz family, anciently feudal barons of Curry Mallet in Somerset, later of Iron Acton in Gloucestershire. She married Edmund Ashfield and after his death Richard Glanville. She pursued her interest in entomology after separating from her second husband, and tried to leave her money away from her immediate family. However, on her death, her children overturned her will, arguing that she was insane because of her hobby.[1]

In culture[edit]

In 2009, Fiona Mountain published a novel about Glanville's life.[2]


  • Mountain, Fiona (2009). The Lady of the Butterflies, New York: Putnam.
  • Russell, Sharman Apt (2003). An obsession with butterflies: our long love affair with a singular insect, Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing.


  1. ^ a b "Lady Eleanor and her elusive butterfly". Pharmaceutical Journal Online. 19 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Mountain, 2009.

External links[edit]