Lady Anne Barnard

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Lady Anne Barnard
Born Lady Anne Lindsay
(1750-12-12)12 December 1750
Balcarres House, Fife, Scotland
Died 6 May 1825(1825-05-06) (aged 74)
London, England
Occupation poet, visual artist
Notable work Auld Robin Gray
Partner(s) Andrew Barnard

Lady Anne Barnard (née Lindsay; 12 December 1750 – 6 May 1825) was a Scottish travel writer, artist and socialite, and the author of the ballad Auld Robin Gray. Her five-year residence in Cape Town, South Africa, although brief, had a significant impact on the cultural and social life of the time.[1]


From Historic Houses of South Africa by Dorothea Fairbridge
An example of a drawing, of "Paradise", her South African residence

Anne was born at Balcarres House in Fife, the ninth child and first daughter of Anne Lindsay (née Dalrymple) and James, Earl of Balcarres. In 1793 she moved to London, where she met and was married to Andrew Barnard, who was twelve years her junior and the son of Thomas Barnard, Bishop of Limerick. She later obtained from Viscount Melville an appointment for him as colonial secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, which was then under British military occupation. The Barnards travelled there in March 1797, Lady Anne remaining at the Cape until January 1802.[2]

Her letters written to Melville, then secretary for war and the colonies, and her diaries of travels into the interior have become an important source of information about the people, events and social life of the time. She is also retained in popular memory as a socialite, known for entertaining at the Castle of Good Hope as the official hostess of Earl Macartney.

The remarkable series of letters, journals and drawings she produced was published in 1901 under the title South Africa a Century Ago. In 1806, on the reconquest of the Cape by the British, Barnard was reappointed colonial secretary, but Lady Anne chose to remain in London rather than accompany him to the Cape. Barnard died there in 1807, and the remainder of Anne's life was passed in London, where she died on 6 May 1825.[2]

Lady Anne was also an accomplished artist, some of her works being included in her published accounts of life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her works include oil paintings and drawings.

The Rev. William Leeves revealed in 1812 that Auld Robin Gray had been written by her in 1772 and set to music by him. It was published anonymously in 1783, Lady Anne only acknowledging the authorship of the words two years before her death in a letter to Sir Walter Scott (1823), who subsequently edited it for the Bannatyne Club with two continuations.[2]

Lady Anne is commemorated in several ways in Cape Town. A chamber in the Castle of Good Hope is known as "Lady Anne Barnard's Ballroom"; a road in the suburb of Newlands, where the Barnards lived, is named "Lady Anne Avenue" and a carved sculpture of her is displayed in the foyer of the civic centre in the neighbouring suburb of Claremont. The Barnards country house, The Vineyard, survives as part of a hotel.


An example of her oil work, believed to depict Raby Castle in the County Palatine of Durham, seat of the Lords Barnard


  1. ^ The Claremont Clarion (June, 2010) Archived 23 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Barnard, Lady Anne". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 409. This cites the memoir edited by Wilkins (see "External links").

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