Baillie was very well known during her lifetime and, though a woman, intended her plays not for the closet but for the stage. Admired both for her literary powers and her sweetness of disposition, she hosted a brilliant literary society in her cottage at Hampstead. Baillie died at the age of 88, her faculties remaining unimpaired to the last.

Few women writers have received such universal commendation for their personal qualities and literary powers as Joanna Baillie. Her intelligence and integrity were allied to a modest demeanour which made her, for many, the epitome of a Christian gentlewoman.

She was also shrewd, observant of human nature, and persistent to the point of obstinacy in developing her own views and opinions. Her brand of drama remained essentially unchanged throughout her life, and she took pride in having carried out her major work, the Plays on the Passions, more or less in the form she had originally conceived. Her inventive faculties were widely remarked upon by "practically everybody whose opinion on a literary matter was worth anything" (Carswell 275), and she was on friendly terms with all the leading women writers of her time.