Ref NoMS/391
TitlePoetry Book - Lorina Reeve
AdminHistoryLorina Hannah Liddell (1826-1910) née Reeve, the sixth and last child of James Reeve (1795-1870) and Lorina Farr (1794-1879). Lorina was the niece of Lady Pleasance Smith (1773-1877) née Reeve (James's sister), an English letter writer and literary editor, who, in 1796, married Sir James Edward Smith (1759-1828), the founder of the Linnean Society.

In July 1846, Lorina married Henry George Liddell (1811-98), a scholar who was the Headmaster of Westminster School (1846-1855) and the Personal Domestic Chaplain of Prince Albert (appointed in 1846), and later became the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Lorina and Henry had ten children: five daughters - Alice Pleasance, Lorina Charlotte, Edith Mary, Rhoda Caroline Anne, and Violet Constance - and five sons - Edward Henry, James Arthur Charles, Albert Edward Arthur, Frederick Francis, and Lionel Charles. The character Alice from Lewis Carroll's (real name Charles Dodgson) novel "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" (1865) is believed to be based on their daughter Alice, and Carroll wrote the book for three of the Liddell daughters, Alice, Edith, and Lorina. Carroll was a close family acquintance of the Liddells from 1856, regularly going on outings with the family and spending much leisure time with the children. For instance, he took them to watch the rowing in Oxford, went on walks with the three girls accompanied by their governess, and assisted household staff in watching over them when their parents were away (such as in the winter of 1856 when Lorina and Henry went to Madeira due to the belief that the heat would help Henry recover from an illness). Although Lorina was still corresponding with Carroll as late as 1891, the relationship between the two was reportedly uneasy (and the relationship between Carroll and the wider Liddell family soured in 1863), with Lorina forbidding the mention of Carroll and his books in H. L. Thompson's biography of Henry, and Alice recalling later in life that Lorina ripped up her letters from Carroll when she was a child.

Lorina was learned and interested in cultural affairs, with her commonplace book filled with extracts from "The Athenaeum Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts" and quotes from works of Shakespeare, Locke, and Dante, alongside less well known figures such as the Swiss historian Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi. Henry's high-ranking position in society meant she engaged with notable figures of the day, including royalty - in a letter from Prince Leopold following the death of Lorina and Henry's infant son Arthur, Leopold especially extends his sympathy to Lorina and looks back fondly on his time with the Liddells. She particularly treasured a short letter she received from William Makepeace Thackeray (a good friend of the Liddells), mentioning it in her will.

Just like her husband, Lorina was thought of as an imposing presence, and was included in the doggerels about her husband, such as one in by an Oxford student (written c.1880) that read: "I am the Dean, this is Mrs Liddell. She plays first, I, second fiddle".

Whilst not a fellow or a botanist, she is linked to the Linnean through her close relationship with her aunt Lady Pleasance Smith, with whom she regularly corresponded and cared for as she got older, including helping her write letters and writing to the wider family about her health.

Lorina and Henry were married for 52 years, until Henry's death in 1898. Lorina died in 1910.
DescriptionPoetry book owned by Lorina Reeve, containing poems handwritten by Lorina by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Lord Byron (from whom most of the poems originate), Walter Scott, Robert Burns, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Percy Shelley (including the poem 'Mutability' which features in Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"), the American poet William Cullen Bryant, and the Scottish poet and dramatist Joanna Baillie. There is also a poem in French by the poet and novelist Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, originally entitled "Les cloches du soir" ("The evening bells") but which Lorina has called "A une amie" ("To a friend"). Nature and music are common themes across the poems.

Near the end of the book is a section entitled "Familiar Quotations", which includes quotes from Shakespeare, Byron, the British poet and hymn writer William Cowper, Robert Burns, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Herodotus, and the Bible. "Procrastination is the thief of time" (attributed to Edward Young) and "Ignorance is bliss" (attributed to Thomas Gray) feature in this section.

Lorina writes in reverse at the back of the book (i.e. she has turned the book upside down). The 3 sides of writing at the back of the book appear to be Latin exercises.

There is one date written inside the book: "Sept [September] 27 Wednesday 1860."

On the inside cover Lorina has written "Poetry Book", "Lorina J. Reeve", "Dec [December] 21st 1[8]59. Thornham". Underneath is written "Presented by the Rev. A. J. Fellowes. 1927".
Extent1 volume
Notes"Lorina J Reeve" is written in the front cover but it is believed to be created by Lorina Hannah Reeve.
AcquisitionDonated in 1927 by the Rev. A. J. Fellowes.

Rev. John Adolphus Liddell Fellowes (1859-1939), who became the Rector of Bunwell, was the son of Rev. Thomas Lyon Fellowes (c.1818-81). Thomas was married to Elizabeth Pleasance Reeve, who, like Lorina, was a niece of Lady Pleasance Smith, née Reeve. When Thomas died in 1881, Elizabeth and one of her daughters moved to 29 Surrey Street, Norwich, where Lady Pleasance had lived with James Edward Smith from 1809-1829 and, after James' death, as a widow from 1829-1849.

Henry Liddell's mother was Charlotte Lyon (c.1784/6-1871), the daughter of Thomas Lyon (1741-96), a Scottish politician who sat as an MP in the House of Commons between 1768-78. When Henry was young, he regularly spent Christmas or Whitsuntide with his aunt, Mrs J. Fellowes.
Creator NameReeve, Lorina
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