Kello, Esther (DNB00)

KELLO, Mrs. ESTHER or HESTER (1571–1624), calligrapher and miniaturist, was born in France, probably at Dieppe, in 1571. She is generally known as Inglis or English, the anglicised form of Langlois, the original name of her father's family. Her father, Nicholas Langlois, and her mother, Marie Prisott, with their infant children, fled from France to England after the St. Bartholomew massacre in 1572. They were probably related to the protestant pastor, Jean Langlois, who was martyred at Lyons in 1572. In 1578 Nicholas was settled at Edinburgh, where he was master of the French school. Esther was instructed in the art of calligraphy by her mother, and is said by Hearne to have become nurse to the young prince Henry. In the work numbered 10 below she speaks of David Murray as her Mæcenas, and her patrons included Queen Elizabeth and her ministers, as well as the royal family of Scotland.

She married about 1596 Bartholomew Kello of Leith, 'minister of God's word.' John Kello, her husband's father, was ordained by the general assembly on 20 Dec. 1560; became minister of Spott, Haddingtonshire, in 1567; and was hanged for the murder of his wife, Margaret Thomson, on 4 Oct. 1570, after writing a confession published by Robert Lekprevik at Edinburgh in the same year (Hew Scott, Fasti Eccl. Scot. pt. ii. p. 380). Bartholomew was collated to the rectory of Willingale Spain, Essex, on 21 Dec. 1607. Mrs. Kello died on 30 Aug. 1624. The husband, who was author of the translation numbered 8 below, survived her, dying on 15 March 1638 (Bannatyne Miscellany, 1827, i. 297). She left two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary.

Samuel Kello (d. 1680), her only son, was educated at Edinburgh (M.A. 1618). His 'Carmen Gratulatorium,' addressed to James I on his visiting Edinburgh in 1617, was printed separately. Afterwards he was admitted to Christ Church, Oxford, and became rector of Spexall, Suffolk, in 1620. According to Walker he was ejected from Spexall by the parliamentarians, but according to the church register he was elected registrar of births, marriages, and deaths of the parish, 16 Feb. 1653–4, and was rector there till 1680, being buried in the church there on 9 Dec. 1680. In the library of Trinity College, Dublin, there is a manuscript treatise by Samuel Kello, entitled 'Balme for the Wounded Soule,' dedicated to Lady Frances Benningfield, and dated Bungay, 14 Jan. 1628. His son Samuel was sword-bearer of Norwich, and died on 4 April 1709.

The extant manuscripts written and illuminated by Mrs. Kello are of exquisite workmanship. Specimens of her work are: 1. 'Livret contenant diverse Sortes de Lettres,' written at Lislebourg [Edinburgh], 1586 (Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 987). 2. 'Livret traittant de la Grandeur de Dieu, et de la Cognoissance qu'on peut avoir de luy par ses Œuvres,' 1592. Formerly in the possession of David Laing. 3. 'Les Proverbes de Salomon,' written at Edinburgh, 1599; in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, dedicated to the Earl of Essex (cf. Hearne, Coll. ed. Doble, Oxf. Hist. Soc., i. 38, 175). 4. 'Le Livre de l'Ecclesiaste ensemble le Cantique de Salomon,' Edinburgh, 1599, dedicated to Anthony Bacon (Brit. Mus. Addit. MS. 27927). 5. 'Historiæ memorabiles Genesis,' Edinburgh, 1600. When Hearne saw this manuscript it belonged to Philip Harcourt. 6. 'Octonaries, upon the Vanitie and Inconstancie of the World,' 1600; in 1763 in the possession of Mr. Cripps, surgeon, of Budge Row, London. 7. 'A New Yeers Guift for … Lord Sydney,' 1606; in 1861 in the possession of William Caldecott of Andover, containing texts of Scripture and small groups of flowers carefully drawn. 8. 'A Treatise of Preparation to the Holy Supper of our only Saviour and Redeemer, Jesus Christ,' 1608. A translation made by her husband. 9. Three copies of 'The Psalms of David,' one in the Royal Library, Stockholm, dated 1612; another dated Edinburgh, 1624, in the Royal Library, Copenhagen; a third at Christ Church, Oxford, presented by Queen Elizabeth (Hearne, i. 175). 10. Three volumes in the royal collection in the British Museum, containing the 'Quatrains' of Guy du Faur, sieur de Pybrac; one dedicated to David Murray in 1614; another (1615) to Charles, prince of Wales; and the third to Walter Balcanquall [q. v.] Other copies of the 'Quatrains' are in Additional MS.22606 and in the Bodleian Library, dedicated respectively to Balcanquall and to Joseph Hall, D.D., afterwards bishop of Norwich. 11. 'An Emblematical Drawing of Mary Queen of Scots,' with verses in Latin and English, inscribed to John, earl of Mar, 1622 (see the sale catalogue, 1770, of the library of James West, president of the Royal Society). 12. 'Livre contenant cinquante Emblemes Chrestiens premierement inventez par la noble damoiselle Georgette de Montenay en France,' Edinburgh, 1624, dedicated to Prince Charles (in Brit. Mus. Royal MS. 17 D. xvi.). The emblems are inscribed to fifty peers and other persons of quality, whose names are given in an index.

Portraits of the artist by herself appear in the manuscripts numbered above 3, 4, and 9 (ii.), 10 (vol. ii.), and 12. That in No. 3 is engraved in G. H. Harding's 'Biographical Mirrour,' vol. iii., and in the 'Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland,' vol. vi. In the latter also appears an engraving by G. Aikman after a copy of an oil-painting dated 1595.

[Ballard's Memoirs of British Ladies, 1775, p. 188; Macray's Annals of the Bodleian Library, 2nd edit. 1890; Biog. Mirrour, iii. 52; Casley's Cat. of MSS. p. 270; Chalmers's Biog. Dict. xix. 235; Chambers's Domestic Annals of Scotland, 1859, i. 550–2; Hearne's Guliel. Neubrigensis, iii. 752; David Laing in Proc. Soc. Antiq. of Scotland, 1866–7, vi. 284; Massey's Origin and Progress of Letters, i. 142, ii. 169; Michel's Les Écossais en France, ii. 246; Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. ii. 46, 97, 330; Retrospective Rev. 3rd ser. ii. 408; Proc. Soc. Antiq. London, 2nd ser. i. 316; Watt's Bibl. Brit. 942 t.]

T. C.