Sir Thomas Isham, Third Baronet (1657 - 1681)

Image 4. Sir Thomas Isham, Third Baronet (1657-1681)

By Carlo Maratti (Maratta) (1625-1713). Commissioned by the sitter, Rome, 1677
With Kind Permission of the Trustees of the Lamport Hall Preservation Trust, Northamptonshire

Recent research into the life-writings of early-modern women has discovered two autobiographical manuscripts by an earlier kinswoman of Sir Thomas Isham: Elizabeth Isham (1608/9-1654), sister of Sir Justinian Isham (1611-1675), a loyal royalist and member of the Stuart-Duppa-Villiers circle. Elizabeth's "Booke of Rememberance" (Princeton University Library) and her draft journal (Northamptonshire Record Office, MS IL 3365, 1609-1648, some 40 years of life-writing), are now the subject of close research and study by, respectively, Isaac Stephens, Kate Aughterson, Margaret Ezell, et al. Although the writings of the Ephelia poetess (very probably Mary Villiers, 1622-1685) postdate Elizabeth Isham's memoirs, the recent find of Elizabeth Isham's writings further ground the common interests and intersections of these two prominent royalist families: Isham and Villiers. The book-collecting habits of the literary Ishams, e.g., have been discussed by Douglas H. Gordon (Winship Memorial Lecture, Harvard Library Bulletin, July 1970). We soon hope to see an acknowledgment of Ephelia's elegy on the death of Sir Thomas Isham (Portland MS PwV 336, University of Nottingham Library, circa 1681), in R. Priestley's 'Isham' article in the (online) Oxford DNB (2004).