Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith

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Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith Hester Maria Elphinstone, Viscountess Keith born Hester Maria Thrale (17 September 1764 – 31 March 1857) was a British literary correspondent and intellectual. She was the eldest child of Hester Thrale, diarist, author and confidante of Samuel Johnson, and Henry, a wealthy brewer and patron of the arts. She became the second wife of George Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith. Johnson gave Hester Maria her lifelong nickname "Queeney" (after Queen Esther) early in her childhood, and was a regular correspondent of the little girl as well as of her mother. Queeney Thrale was born in Southwark, where her father's brewery was situated, and grew up mainly at the family home, Streatham Park in South London, which was the focus of an important coterie of political, artistic and literary figures known as the Streatham Worthies. She showed early signs of a good memory and sharp intellect, and by age six she was regarded as a greater prodigy than her intelligent and accomplished mother. She studied Latin with Dr Johnson, working alongside the novelist Fanny Burney, another family protegée, and also Italian and Hebrew. She was painted by Zoffany at 20 months, and she and her mother were the joint  ( Wikipedia article )


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