Fanny Blood

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Fanny Blood
A Plate from Flora Londinensis.jpg
A plate from Flora Londinensis
Died29 November 1785(1785-11-29) (aged 26–27)
Spouse(s)Hugh Skeys

Frances "Fanny" Blood (1758 – 29 November 1785) was an English illustrator and educator and longtime friend of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Early life[edit]

Blood was born in 1758, the daughter of Matthew Blood the Younger (1730–1794) and Caroline Roe (c.1730–1805).[1]


Fanny Blood was paid by the botanist William Curtis to paint wildflowers for his book Flora Londinensis. This created an income for her family. Fanny was engaged to Hugh Skeys, but her fiancé had gone to sea to establish money that would finance their marriage.[2]

Fanny Blood and her brother, Lieutenant George Blood (1762–1844), were good friends with Mary Wollstonecraft. They met in 1774 after introductions by common friends, the Clares.[2] As William Godwin wrote, Mary "contracted a friendship so fervent, as for years to have constituted the ruling passion of her mind".[3]

Blood, together with Mary Wollstonecraft and Wollstonecraft's sisters, Eliza and Everina, opened a school first in Islington, which soon failed, and then in Newington Green. The school was combined with a boarding house for women and their children.[4] On 24 February 1785 Fanny Blood married Hugh Skeys (born ca. 1758), a wine merchant of Dublin. When Blood married and left the school, Wollstonecraft left as well to take care of her friend, also the second school failed.[5]

Blood died in childbirth in Lisbon, Portugal, on 29 November 1785.[1] Wollstonecraft was deeply affected by Blood's death and in part inspired her first novel, Mary: A Fiction (1788).[6] Wollstonecraft named her daughter, Fanny Imlay (1794–1816), after her friend.


  1. ^ a b "Fanny Blood". Retrieved 24 September 2017. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Charlotte Gordon (25 February 2016). Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley. Random House. pp. 39–41. ISBN 978-0-09-959239-6.
  3. ^ Godwin, 50.
  4. ^ Kelly, Gary (2016). Revolutionary Feminism: The Mind and Career of Mary Wollstonecraft. Springer. p. 27. ISBN 9781349243273. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  5. ^ Janet, Todd (2002). Mary Wollstonecraft: A Revolutionary Life. Columbia University Press. p. 62. ISBN 9780231121859. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  6. ^ Wardle, Ralph Martin (1951). Mary Wollstonecraft: a critical biography. University of Kansas Press. p. Chapter 2. ISBN 9780803252110. Retrieved 24 September 2017.