The 18th century was known as the Age of Enlightenment. There was exploration, scientific endeavour and a real hunger for better understanding of the world.
The Kings Library at the British Museum is to reopen this week and the gallery is dedicated to this period. The principal curator, Kim Sloan, says the time has come for us to recognise women's contribution to the age of enlightenment.
It's not generally known, for instance, that whilst Captain Cook was voyaging in the Pacific, Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire was climbing up Vesuvius with nothing more than a geologist's hammer! Kim Sloan gave Sara Parker a preview of the new exhibition together with the writer and historian Flora Fraser.