The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier
Amélina Petit de Billier

Amélina  Petit  de  Billier
(Courtesy of the Fox Talbot Museum)

The journal of Amélina Petit de Billier was written in French, with a few entries in English or Italian. It has been preserved at Lacock Abbey since she wrote the last volume in 1835 and is now being transcribed and translated for the Fox Talbot Museum with the permission of the owners of the journal, Janet Burnett-Brown and Petronella Burnett-Brown of Lacock Abbey.

Her surviving journal comprises fifteen worn notebooks, the journal she kept from 1820 to 1835. The range and value of their contents are only now being discovered. The surviving journal ends in 1835, but she re-read it in 1870, adding some comments, and making many deletions. A text of such length (over 3000 pages) is naturally uneven in interest, and there are lists of hundreds of art works seen and appreciated, accounts of minor French political scandals, and dull days when the weather and the letters she has received are her only topics, but they are far exceeded by the treasures to be found, in a new view of places and events, and in unusual and privileged glimpses of the great or celebrated.