Anne Lister's doodles

Marlene OliveiraPublished on 12 June, 2020 · Last updated on 29 June, 2023

Anne Lister's vision

We know sketching was Ann Walker's passion, but Anne Lister also had an inclination to try her hand at capturing what she was seeing. Often her doodles provide a representation of what she is trying to convey with words, but sometimes her artwork is... peculiar.

This project aims at helping to surface these interesting sketches and explanatory drawings to get a sense of Anne's visual thinking. Once a substantial number of doodles have been captured, we'll move on to some analysis of her work.

This is a companion project to Ann Walker's Sketchbook.

Is that a bonnet or a cactus, Anne?!

It's not uncommon for readers of Anne Lister's journals to find her doodles and try to guess what exactly she sketched. Sometimes the subject is obvious even before the reader gets acquainted with the comings or goings of the journal entry that includes the doodle, but there are occasions in which Anne leaves everyone guessing. A waterfall might look like a deceased lady inside a coffin, a mountain might look instead like a gigantic boiled egg left in the middle of other summits, and a bonnet's detail will make the garment look like a cactus.

The spreadsheet below is a collaborative effort to compile a reference of Anne's artistic endeavours as seen in her journals and other papers.

Reference: Anne Lister's doodles


This project is made possible through ongoing contributions from the following people:

How to contribute to this project

Everyone is welcome to contribute! You can help by logging new doodles you encounter in Anne lister's journals and/or researching information about the subjects of the doodles. To get started:

1. Request access to edit the spreadsheet. Please include an email address that is associated with a Google account (this is the only requirement to participating in this project). If you don't have one, here's how to do it.

2. You will receive an email confirming you have editorial access.

3. Open the doodle spreadsheet and read the Instructions sheet (second sheet). 

4. Switch to the first sheet (Doodles) and start logging new doodles or adding additional information.

All information in the spreadsheet is in English, but please preserve the names of the subjects of doodles (like mountains, churches, places at Shibden, etc) as written by Anne Lister.