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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Anna Maria Pickering

Author: Anna Maria Pickering (1865–1965)

Alternate Name(s): Percival Pickering (pseudonym); Stirling (married name)

Biography: Anna Marie Diana Wilhelmina Pickering was born in 1865 in London, the youngest child of Percival Pickering, Q.C., and Anna Spencer-Stanhope. Through her mother, she was descended from the Spencer-Stanhopes of Yorkshire and the Cokes of Norfolk. Her elder sister was the Pre-Raphaelite painter Evelyn Pickering who married the potter (later novelist) William de Morgan. From a young age, Pickering wrote: her first forays were fairy tales for children before turning to novels with A Life Awry (1893). This novel, published under the pseudonym "Percival Pickering" (in honor of her father), features a title character disabled by a fall from a horse and was adapted as a play in 1899. She followed with three more novels. In the twentieth century, she gave up fiction and wrote several historical and biographical works about her illustrious family, a memoir of her sister and brother-in-law, and two memoirs about her own life—some thirty volumes in total. Her final book Why? was published in 1964. In 1901, she married Charles Goodbarne Stirling and the couple had no children. Their London home housed their large collection of De Morgan paintings and pottery which eventually became the De Morgan Foundation. Her husband died in 1948 and she died in 1965 two weeks short of her hundredth birthday. In the words of her obituary, "She retained her faculties to the end, writing and appearing on television and broadcast programmes... Her long life took her back to friendships with William Morris, Burne-Jones, and other Pre-Raphaelites. She has a claim herself to a minor place in the history of English letters."

References: British Census (1911); The De Morgan Foundation; Times (12 August 1865)

Fiction Titles:

  1. A Life Awry: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: Bliss, Sands, and Foster, 1893.
  2. A Pliable Marriage.  1 vol.  London: Osgood, McIlvaine, 1895.
  3. The Spirit is Willing.  1 vol.  London: Bliss, Sands, and Foster, 1898.