Inglis, Hester

, a lady celebrated for her skill in calligraphy, in queen Elizabeth’s and king James’s time, appears to have lived single until the age of forty, when she became the wife of one Bartholomew Keilo, a native of Scotland, by whom she had a son, Samuel Kello, who was educated at Christ-church, Oxford, and was minister of Speckshall in Suffolk. His son was sword-bearer of Norwich, and died in 1709. All we know besides of her is, that she was a correspondent of bishop Hall, when he was dean of Worcester in 1617. Various specimens of her delicate and beautiful writing are in our public repositories, and some in Edinburgh-castle. In the library of Christchurch, Oxford, are the Psalrns of David, written in French | by Mrs. Inglis, who presented them in person to queen Elizabeth, by whom they were given to the library. Two manuscripts, written by her, were also preserved with care in the Bodleian library: one of them is entitled “Le six vingt et six Quatrains de Guy de Tour, sieur de Pybrac, escrits par Esther Inglis, pour son dernier adieu, ce 21e jour de Juin, 1617.” The following address is, in the second leaf, written in capital letters: “To the right worshipful my very singular friende, Joseph Hall, doctor of divinity, and dean of Winchester, Esther Inglis wisheth all increase of true happiness. Junii xxi. 1617.” In the third leaf is pasted the head of the writer, painted upon a card. The other manuscript is entitled “Les Proverbes de Salomon; escrites en diverses sortes de lettres, par Esther Anglois, en Francoise. A Lislehourge en Escosse,1599. Every chapter of this curious performance is written in a different hand, as is also the dedication. The manuscript contains near forty different characters of writing. The beginnings and endings of the chapters are adorned with beautiful head and tail-pieces, and the margins, in imitation of the old manuscripts, curiously decorated with the pen. The book is dedicated to the earl of Essex. On one of the first pages are his arms neatly drawn, with all their quarterings. In the fifth leaf, drawn with a pen, is the picture of Esther Inglis, in the habit of the times: her right hand holds a pen, the left rests upon an open book, on one of the leaves of which is written, “DC l’Eternel Je biert, de moi le mal, ou rien.” A music-book lies open before her. Under the picture is a Latin epigram by Andrew Melvin, and on the following page a second by the same author, in praise of Mrs. Inglis. In the royal library, D. xvi. are “Esther Inglis’s fifty Emblems,” finely drawn and written: “A Lislebourg en Escosse, Panne 1624.1

1 Ballard’s Memoirs. Mawey’s Origin and Progress of Letters.