Margaret Bryan (philosopher)

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Engraving of Bryan and two girls

Margaret Bryan (fl. 1815) was a British natural philosopher and educator, and the author of standard scientific textbooks.


The year of her birth is uncertain, probably before 1760. She married a Mr Bryan and had at least two daughters, as shown in a portrait of her.


Bryan was described as a beautiful and talented schoolmistress. Her school appears to have been situated at one time at Blackheath, at that time a village south-east of London; at another at 27 Lower Cadogan Place, near Hyde Park Corner, in the fashionable West End of the capital; and lastly at Margate, a seaside town.


Her published works are dated 1797 to 1815.[1]

In 1797 she published in quarto, by subscription, a Compendious System of Astronomy, with a portrait of herself and two daughters as a frontispiece, the whole engraved by William Nutter from a miniature by Samuel Shelley. She dedicated her book to her pupils. The lectures of which the book consisted had been praised by Charles Hutton, then at Royal Military Academy, Woolwich.[2] An octavo edition of the work was issued later. The Critical Review printed her reply to what she saw as a damaging article in that journal.[1]

In 1806 Bryan published, also by subscription, and in quarto, Lectures on Natural Philosophy (thirteen lectures on hydrostatics, optics, pneumatics, and acoustics), with a portrait of the author, engraved by Heath, after a painting by T. Kearsley; and there is a notice in it that "Mrs. Bryan educates young ladies at Blackheath." In 1815 Bryan produced an Astronomical and Geographical Class Book for Schools, a thin octavo.

Conversations on Chemistry, published anonymously in 1806, is also ascribed to her by Watt[3] and in the Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors (1816), but is in fact a book by Jane Marcet.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Susan; Patricia Clements; Isobel Grundy. "Margaret Bryan". Orlando Project. Cambridge. Retrieved 23 December 2010.
  2. ^ Preface, p. xi
  3. ^ Bibl. Brit.