During the eighteenth century a remarkable group of women formed the Bluestocking Salon, where women, and men, met to debate contemporary ideasand to promote the life of the mind. Together, they helped forge new roles for women as thinkers, writers and artists, and their creative achievements werepublicly celebrated. Yet why was their pioneering contribution to society so quickly forgotten? Richly illustrated with portraits and prints, this fascinating book introduces the Bluestocking Circle and reveals the extraordinary vigour of their lives. The authorsElizabeth Eger and Lucy Peltz chart the changing fortunes of the female intellectual, and explore how a number of bluestocking women, such as artistAngelica Kauffmann, historian Catharine Macaulay and early ‘feminist' Mary Wollstonecraft, used portraiture to advance their work and their reputations ina period framed by Enlightenment and Revolution. Brilliant Women pays tribute to the forgotten friendships and achievements of these bluestocking women, and establishes their legacy for successivegenerations.