Mrs Esther Day

Image credit: Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum

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The wife of Thomas Day, the eccentric philosopher and novelist, was the member of a wealthy Chesterfield family. Esther had been brought up to respect learning and literature and her moral principles were strict enough even for Thomas Day. He had been seeking for an ideal wife for many years and had had several unhappy relationships with women before meeting Esther. For some years he lived in Lichfield at Stowe House with his friend Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Thomas and Esther had identical views on morality and life; they fell passionately in love but their courtship was protracted over several years. Edgeworth noted that no couple had ever analysed their relationship in such minute detail before committing themselves to each other. Characteristically, Day insisted that his wife’s large fortune should be placed beyond his control so that their marriage could be based on the purest of motives.

Lichfield Guildhall



Mrs Esther Day


oil on canvas


H 99 x W 87 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

transferred from Lichfield Museum and Free Library, 1934

Work type



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Lichfield Guildhall

Bore Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6LU England

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