Ladies of Llangollen workbag

This smart black velvet workbag is believed to have been owned by ‘The Ladies of Llangollen’ at Plas Newydd, Llangollen. Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1749-1831) are now celebrated as a devoted couple – although the exact nature of their relationship is unknown. They lived together for over 50 years in Plas Newydd, Llangollen after their elopement in 1778. Despite being initially ostracized by their Irish families for their scandulous relationship they became international celebrities at the beginning of the 19th century and were visited by people such as William Wordsworth, Lady Caroline Lamb and the Duke of Wellington. Anne Lister from Yorkshire (Gentleman Jack) visited them and was thought to have been inspired by them to marry her female lover. Queen Charlotte wanted to see their cottage and persuaded King George III to grant them a pension.

The bag was bought after their deaths at the Plas Newydd sale by Mr F Holland, a Llandudno antique dealer. He gave it to a fundraising ‘bazaar’ at Cricieth where it was bought for five pounds by Mrs James Lever. Her daughter Miss Hughes later donated it to the Museum.

Storiel will be part of the celebrations of Pride North Wales in Bangor on the 25th June, more details here Diwrnod Balchder – Storiel (Cymru)