Emma Orczy

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Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála "Emmuska" Orczy de Orczi (play /ˈɔrts/; 23 September 1865 – 12 November 1947) was a British novelist, playwright and artist of Hungarian noble origin. She was most notable for her series of novels featuring the Scarlet Pimpernel. Some of her paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in London.


Early life

Emmuska Orczy was born in Tarnaörs, Heves County, Hungary, and was the daughter of composer Baron Felix Orczy and Countess Emma Wass. Her parents left Hungary in 1868, fearful of the threat of a peasant revolution. They lived in Budapest, Brussels, and Paris (where Emma studied music without success). Finally, in 1880, the family moved to London where they lodged with their countryman Francis Pichler at 162 Great Portland Street. Orczy attended West London School of Art and then Heatherley's School of Fine Art.

Although not destined to be a painter, it was at art school that she met a young illustrator named Montague MacLean Barstow, the son of an English clergyman; they married in 1894. It was the start of a joyful and happy marriage[citation needed] "for close on half a century one of perfect happiness and understanding of perfect friendship and communion of thought."[citation needed]

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