CRAVEN, Elizabeth, Lady
Elizabeth Craven (1750-1828) was a British author and traveller. After thirteen years of marriage to Baron William Craven, six children and a scandalous life, she separated from her husband in 1773, settled in France and thereafter travelled extensively. In 1791, both her husband and the wife of her lover passed away. She married the latter in Lisbon the same year. The couple led an opulent life in various towns of England. She died in 1828, in her villa at Posilipo near Naples. Lady Craven wrote pantomimes, farces, fables and travel chronicles, and also composed two musical works. During the years 1785-86, she travelled through Central Europe to Saint Petersburg, Moscow and the Crimea, from where she sailed to Constantinople. She visited the Greek islands of Andros, Siphnos, Naxos, Antiparos, Melos, and by way of Smyrna ended up again at the Bosporus.
On her return trip, she stayed in the Danube capitals of Jassy (Iaşi) and Bucharest. She became acquainted with Phanariot circles and travelled throughout Moldavia and Wallachia quite comfortably and without trouble. Craven left us remarkable descriptions, albeit tinted with the English aristocrat’s irony, of the Greek women of the islands and their diversions, the music of the Greeks, the Sublime Porte’s appointment of Phanariot Nicholas Mavrogenes as Prince of Wallachia and his departure from Constantinople, as well as of her voyage on a Turkish vessel with a Greek captain, from the Black Sea port of Sebastopol to the Ottoman capital.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou