Anne Killigrew Criticism - Essay

Anthony à Wood (essay date 1721)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Wood, Anthony à. “Henry Killigrew.” In Athenae Oxoniensis. An exact history of all the writers and bishops who have had their education in the most ancient and famous University of Oxford, Vol. II, columns 1035-1036. London: B. Knaplock, D. Midwinter and J. Tonson, 1721.

[In the following excerpt from the expanded edition of a work originally published in 1691, Wood briefly summarizes Killigrew's life and commends her poetry.]

This worthy Dr. Killigrew had a Daughter named Anne, a Grace for Beauty, and a Muse for Wit, born in St. Martin's Lane in Lond. in the latter end of the the times of Usurpation, a little before the Restoration of King Charles II. and christned in a private Chamber, when the Offices in the Common-Prayer were not publicly allowed. Afterwards being tenderly educated, she became most admirable in the Arts of Poetry and Painting. She was one of the Maids of Honour to the Dutchess of York; but dyed of the Small-Pox, to the unspeakable Reluctancy of her Relations, and all others who were acquainted with her great Virtues, in her Father's Lodgings within the Cloister of Westminster-Abbey, on the 16th Day of June 1685, aged 25 or thereabouts, and was buried in the Chancel of St. John Baptist's Chapel in the Savoy Hospital before-mention'd. Soon after were publish'd of her Composition a Book entit. Poems by Mrs. Anne Killigrew. Lond. 1686, in a large thin qu. wherein is nothing spoken of her, which (allowing only for the Poetical Dress) she was not equal to, if not superior: and if there had not been more true History in her Praises, than Compliment, her Father would never have suffered them to pass the Press. Before them is an Ode made to her pious Memory and Accomplishments, by John Dryden Poet Laureat, and after it follows her Epitaph engraven on her Marble Tomb, which is put over her Grave, beginning thus: Heu! jacet, fato victa, quæ stabat ubique victrix forma, ingenio, religione, &c.

Ellen Creathorne Clayton (essay date 1876)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Clayton, Ellen Creathorne. “Anne Killigrew.” In English Female Artists, Vol. I, pp. 59-70. London: Tinsley Brothers, 1876.

[In the essay below, Clayton surveys Killigrew's life, family background, and her painting and poetry.]

A beauty, a wit, a verse-writer, an agreeable painter, maid of honour to a royal duchess standing next the throne, almost perfect in character, sweet and gracious in her manner—such is a rough pen-and-ink outline of the charming Anne Killigrew.

The Killigrew family, now extinct, was of venerable Cornish extraction, ever distinguished for loyalty and for talent. They were connected with the royal house by the...

(The entire section is 2717 words.)

Elaine Hobby (essay date 1988)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hobby, Elaine. “Romantic Love-Poetry.” In Virtue of Necessity: English Women's Writing, 1646-1688, Virago Press, Ltd., 1988, pp. 128-64.

[In the following excerpt, Hobby examines Killigrew's collection of poems as a response to the male-defined conventions of courtly love poetry.]

The writers who followed Katherine Philips, although they made frequent reference to her name, did not share her emphasis on women's friendship. Their poems, by contrast, addressed the vagaries of romantic love between men and women as it was described (or constructed) by courtly love conventions. In taking this as their subject-matter, they were at one level pursuing a quite...

(The entire section is 3355 words.)

Carol Barash (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Barash, Carol. “The Female Monarch and the Woman Poet: Mary of Modena, Anne Killigrew, and Jane Barker.” In English Women's Poetry, 1649-1714: Politics, Community, and Linguistic Authority, pp. 149-208. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

[In the following essay, Barash surveys Killigrew's life and works, and analyzes many poems in terms of her experience of court life.]


Anne Killigrew (1660-85) spent her short adult life as an attendant to James II's second wife, Mary of Modena.1 The wages for women at court were reasonable (two hundred pounds per year, plus room and board)....

(The entire section is 8907 words.)