Anne Lister’s diaries

In the early 19th century a woman named Anne Lister wrote in her diary. Like a lot of people have done for hundreds of years. But why was Anne writing parts of it in a secret code? And, more importantly, why do we still care about it today?

When I first read Anne Lister’s diaries I was gripped, like many. Reading someone else’s diary is a strange feeling in itself and I was surprised how much I could relate to this person who lived roughly 200 years before I was born. Anne likes to wake up early, can be very self critical and is painstakingly organised.

Beyond that, she’s a very complex (if not always charming, certainly smart and driven) character whose love for business, science and, most famously, other women made her an outsider in 19th century Yorkshire. Still, she remained true to herself and followed her ambitions.

Reading her story certainly had an impact on me, I felt like I had gotten to know her and wanted to give something back. So I decided to paint a book sleeve for her diaries.

The painting was done traditionally, using oil paint on canvas paper, then scanned and edited digitally to add the title and other text.