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Anne Killigrew (February 11, 1660 London-June 16, 1685 London) was a British writer and poet.
She was the daughter of a clergyman and became well known in artistic circles for her intelligence and talent in painting and poetry. Killigrew was one of the few female poets of her time to have her work published, and her poems were praised by contemporaries such as John Dryden.
Killigrew's only published collection of poems, "Poems by Anne Killigrew, London 1686", contained a mix of religious and secular themes. Her most successful and well-known work is "To the Queen, on her Majesty's Birth-day," which praises Mary of Modena, the second wife of King James II.
Unfortunately, Killigrew's promising career was cut short when she died at the age of 25. She was mourned by the literary community, and her friend Dryden wrote a touching elegy in her memory. Today, Killigrew is remembered as a pioneering figure in women's literature and a talented poet whose work defied the gender norms of her time.
In addition to her literary achievements, Anne Killigrew was also a talented painter. She was a student of Sir Peter Lely, a prominent portrait painter of the time, and many of her own works were portraits of family members and acquaintances. Some of her paintings were displayed at the annual exhibition of the Society of Artists in London.
Killigrew's talent and intellect were recognized even in her youth. When she was 14 years old, she wrote a poem on the occasion of King Charles II's coronation, which was well-received by those who read it. Her father, Henry Killigrew, was also a writer and a friend of John Dryden, and he likely encouraged Anne's literary pursuits.
Despite her short life and limited body of work, Anne Killigrew has had a lasting influence on women's literature. Her work paved the way for other female writers and helped to challenge the prevailing attitudes of the time that women were not capable of producing great works of art or literature. Today, her work is still studied and appreciated by literary scholars around the world.
In addition to her accomplishments as a writer and painter, Anne Killigrew was known for her piety and devotion to Christianity. She was raised in a devout Anglican family and her faith is evident in many of her poems. She frequently wrote about religious themes, including the power of prayer and the beauty of God's creation. Some scholars believe that her faith may have influenced her decision not to marry, as she remained single throughout her life.
Despite her relatively short career, Anne Killigrew's impact continues to be felt in the literary world. Her work has been praised for its lyrical beauty, its strong emotional content, and its unique perspective on the world around her. Her legacy as a pioneering woman writer and artist has inspired generations of women to pursue their passions and overcome societal barriers. In recognition of her contributions to British literature and art, a street in London's Bloomsbury neighborhood has been named after her.
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