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Mary Delany (1700-88)

Mary Delany, an extraordinarily proficient needlewoman and artist, had been interested in botany since her youth. After the death of her second husband in 1768 she was invited to spend a large part of each year with the widowed Duchess of Portland at Bulstrode, Buckinghamshire. It was at Bulstrode that Mrs Delany, in her seventy-third year, began to make her famous cut-paper flowers.

Among the visitors to Bulstrode were George III and Queen Charlotte. The king and queen took a keen interest in Mrs Delany’s work, visiting for the first time in 1776. After the duchess's death in 1785, the king gave Delany a house at Windsor and a pension of £300. She enjoyed her last years as a royal favourite, and died at Windsor Castle.