All The Brilliants

Lady Mary Wortley Motague

What does being an 18th century feminist entail? Meet Power Woman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 - 1762)! She defied convention by “stealing” her education, becoming the first female travel writer, and introducing smallpox inoculation to Western medicine via Istanbul.

We celebrate her with Jo Thorne, who is a pioneer and liberator of another kind in bringing back a jewelry icon: the hair pin!

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU

Any idea what being an 18th century feminist might entail? Look no further than Power Woman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 - 1762)! She defied convention by “stealing” her education, becoming (arguably) the first female travel writer, and introducing smallpox inoculation to Western medicine.

Following her husband’s appointment as Ambassador to Istanbul, Lady Mary had unique, personal interactions with Ottoman women. Through her written personal observations, she set the record straight on (male) misconceptions about Turkish women in terms of tradition, fashion, religion, treatment and liberties - at times more of a critique on Western culture.

Most notably she was a proponent of inoculation against smallpox. Back in England, the medical establishment was suspect of this Eastern “folk treatment”. She famously publicized the inoculation of her daughter when a smallpox epidemic struck England. The controversial treatment was further tested, overcoming the skeptics the following year.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, depicted in Turkish splendor by Achille Devéria, can be seen at London’s @NationalPortraitGallery ©National Portrait Gallery

Imperial Ottoman aigrette Sothebys Jewels

IMPERIAL OTTOMAN AIGRETTE

When a woman slips on a turban with a bejeweled and feathered pin, it does not escape notice! It seems Power Woman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu may have rocked many similar to this 18th century imperial Ottoman aigrette (plume of feathers), which appeared at a London @SothebysJewels auction in 2016. This Turkish ornament is nothing short of eloquently exotic with emeralds, rubies and diamonds, set of with a spray of peacock feathers!

JO THORNE - SAPPHIRE HAIR PINS

In a way, Jo Thorne and Power Woman Lady Mary Wortley Montagu are both pioneers and liberators. In the case of @JoThorneStudio, she is on a mission to bring a forgotten jewelry icon, the hair pin, out of obscurity and back into the light! Her statement pieces express something poetic, not only as objects of beauty, but bringing a new dimension to hair jewels. These are just a glimpse of her flower hair pins, crafted in gold and rare green sapphires…

Kindly contact us with interest.