Hester Thrale Piozzi

In 1741 Hester Salusbury was married to Henry Thrale, a prosperous businessman who owned a Brewery in Southwark, London. Henry had a country home in Streatham in South London and they had 12 children of which only 3 (daughters) survived to adulthood.

Mrs Thrale was very well known for her salons where authors, poets and writers congregated, she was also sympathetic to the Bluestockings - women of literature and erudition - and highly thought of by the intellectual giant of the day Dr Samuel Johnson. The Thrale family spent much time in Brighton from 1775 - 1785 where Mr. Thrale had bought a house in West Street opposite the Kings Head (long demolished but there is a Blue Plaque) being visited often by Fanny Burney the writer of the scandalous best seller of the time Evelina.

Sea bathing was essential, the Thrale ladies and Miss Burney dipping even in the cold waters of a chilly November ! Widowed in 1781 Mrs Thrale at age 43 fell overwhelmingly in love with and married Gabriel Piozzi an Italian singer whom she had met in Brighton. Neither her daughters nor Dr Johnson nor even Miss Burney approved of the marriage but it was a true love match and the happy couple spent many years abroad before returning and retiring to a cottage in Wales. Mrs Piozzi continued to write and published two books about Dr Johnson but remained living in retirement with her beloved Mr. Piozzi who was never accepted by her daughters. She died in 1821.