Mary Richardson (1815–49)
John Ruskinʼs cousin, daughter of Janet (“Jessie”) and Patrick Richardson of Perth. For her life dates, see Viljoen, Scottish Heritage, 184, 185 She married Parker Bolding, a lawyer, in 1848 (Hilton, John Ruskin: The Early Years, 112).
In 1826, following the death by consumption of Ruskinʼs cousin, James Richardson, who had lived at Herne Hill, Margaret Ruskin declared a ban on “bringing ourselves under such responsibility” by adopting relativesʼ children into the household. Nonetheless, by April 1827, Margaret declared “how great a relief” she felt owing to the arrangements for Mary to live at Herne Hill for at least part of the year. Perhaps Margaret was led to this exception by Maryʼs gender, since in the same April 1827 letter she conveyed to John James her satisfaction in having a female companion, a Miss DePree, to stay with her “while you are away” on business travel, “and it seems to be her real desire to make herself useful and spare me trouble” in such tasks as sewing and shopping. Following the death of Maryʼs mother, Jessie Richardson, in May 1828, Maryʼs residence at Herne Hill became permanent until her marriage (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 144, 156, 157 n. 2).
Mary's education included a French master and a music master, who (RFL 195)
A note in the Ruskin Newsletter describing the sale of Maryʼs diaries of her tours with the Ruskins lists the dates as 17 June–16 July 1833; 4 June–25 August 1835; 22 December 1840–11 March 1841; 16 March–23 June 1841 (one volume for each period); also a diary from 1849, the year she died. Gertrude Atthill deposited 2 vols. of transcriptions in the Whitehouse collection, with the 1833 volume of transcripts running 14 May–25 August 1833: “thus there are volumes of 1833 MSS omitted from this sale”, Dearden remarks. Copyright vested by Atthillʼs will (d. 1971) with Community of St. John the Evangelist of the Priory of St. David at Pembroke.