Dering, Lady Mary

Lady Mary Dering, née Harvey (1629–1704), England

Began her education in 1640 at Mrs. Salmon’s School (known as the “Ladies’ University of the Female Arts”). She took lute lessons with Henry Lawes, a composer at the court of Charles I. In 1648 she married Sir Edward Dering. She had 17 children (seven died in infancy). Some of her music was published in Select Ayres and Dialogues and three songs were published in the Second Book of Airs. They are the earliest known published compositions by an English woman.