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Women travellers - Has anyone read the Works of Lady Brassey?

Travel and Exploration literature

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Mar 8, 2009, 1:00pm Top


I recently came across a book called A voyage in the Sunbeam by Lady Brassey (late nineteenth century edition) in an antiquarian bookshop in York. I hadn't heard of this woman and her travels before (and I do have a few books on intrepid female travellers) and wondered if anyone had ready any of her books?

Ruth (Indigo-silk)

Mar 8, 2009, 7:26pm Top

I hadn't heard of her either but look forward to reading more. She lived 1839-1887 and wrote at least half a dozen books about her cruises to Cyprus, Constantinople, Tahiti, the West Indies. Is this the book you found? Around the world in the yacht "Sunbeam":|bour home on the ocean for eleven months,|cby Mrs. Brassey. With illustrations, chiefly after drawings by the Hon. A. Y. Bingham.

Edited: Mar 9, 2009, 4:10pm Top

That book is listed in the “Other Accounts of Interest / In Other Places” part of the bibliography in Ladies on the Loose. It was a best-seller at the time; perhaps it's less popular now than the writers in that anthology, even though her light style resembles modern travel narrative, because the content avoids both prescient relativism and over-the-top imperialism.

Lady Brassey is also responsible for assembling an important collection of travel photographs, now in the Huntington Library. A Victorian Traveler in the Middle East by Nancy Micklewright (in association with the library) covers that and her writings. No one has it here in LT, since it's priced for sale to reference libraries.

Mar 9, 2009, 5:39pm Top


Yes, that is the book.

I have promised my husband that (due to the current economic climate) I would seriously restrict my spending on books and so I left it on the shelve - but it is indeed calling to me.

Many thanks for replying


Mar 9, 2009, 5:48pm Top

You can read it for free in Google Books or The Internet Archive or Project Gutenberg.

Mar 9, 2009, 5:48pm Top


Thank you for the reference to 'Ladies on the Loose', I shall definitely put that on my list. I had also found a link (via Google) to the other book that you mentioned and it did indeed look very interesting but as you state also VERY expensive. Still I can dream..

Many thanks for replying to my question


Oct 14, 2009, 3:55pm Top

Indigo-silk I hadn't read her but I am very interested.

You might check out the Virago Travellers books (published by the British publishing house) since they focus on Women writers. There is also a Virago Modern Classics Group on LT but it focuses more on the fiction. They published Beryl Markham's West With the Night

There is a link with some of their history here but not a complete list of their publications


Also I mentioned it in another thread but Isabella Bird was quite a traveler and her Adventures in the Rocky Mountains was recently republished although I know she traveled elsewhere.


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