Illicit intimacies: the imagined 'homes' of Gilbert Innes of Stow and his mistresses (1751-1832)

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Gilbert Innes of Stow (1751-1832) was the Deputy-Governor and day-to-day manager of the Royal Bank of Scotland, member of the Scottish gentry, Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of Edinburgh, director of the Edinburgh Assembly Rooms, enthusiastic patron of the arts and extremely wealthy. He never married. Despite being a central figure within Enlightenment Edinburgh and holding important economic, political and civic roles, Gilbert's main sexual relationships and much of his intimate and family life was conducted outside of the conventional structures of the patriarchal household. While men's sexual access to women outside of marriage has been viewed as part of and extending from their patriarchal privilege, little work has been done on exploring the nature of men's illicit relationships and particularly how such men created emotional and intimate relationships with their 'extended families' and the meanings of love and power in those relationships. This article explores his relationships with his mistresses and illegitimate children to provide insight into how men constructed intimate relationships and family life beyond the traditional household and to give insight into the nature of gendered and patriarchal power in Enlightenment Edinburgh.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-590
Number of pages16
JournalGender and History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Domesticity
  • Masculinity


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