Knee writing board made by Elma Stuart for George Eliot

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This board was a gift from Elma Stuart to George Eliot. Stuart was a fan of Eliot’s novels and started writing to Eliot in 1872. Stuart and Eliot became close friends and are buried next to each other.

Elma Stuart was an author and nutritionist. She was also a talented wood carver and gave Eliot several carved gifts. On 12 January 1878 Eliot thanked Stuart for this writing board:

“I am at this moment writing on the really beautiful writing-board. It is not too heavy, because I rest it on the elbows of my chair, and the graining and colour, as well as the art spent on it, are soothing to my outward and inward sense.”