Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Lord Leighton's Florentine Lily,
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Tomb

I invite you to the Swiss-owned so-called `English` Cemetery in Piazzale Donatello, where we have the tombs (habeas corpi) of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Walter Savage Landor, Arthur Hugh Clough, Isa Blagden, five members of the Trollope household, Fanny, Theodosia Garrow Trollope, Joseph Garrow, Harriet Fisher and Elizabeth Shinner their maid, Hiram Powers, Joel T. Hart, several participants in the Battle of Waterloo, several friends of Florence Nightingale, and many others. We also have a library, with books written by and about these persons and others, and a workshop where we sculpt Elizabeth and Robert`s `Clasped Hands`, bind books by hand, marble paper, etc.

We have two exhibitions in our Gatehouse: one called `Florence in Sepia`, a collection of nineteenth century photographs that were almost burnt in a bonfire by the nuns in my convent, bought by my Mother Foundress in the nineteenth century and taken back to England, illustrating the places written about by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, George Eliot and Anna Jameson; the other an exhibition of some of our books: Isa Blagden, Poems, 1873; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lady Geraldine's Courtship, n.d; Sonnets from the Portuguese/Portugalske sonety, trans. Hanna Zantovska, 2001; Sonnets and Ballad (including Hiram Powers` `Greek Slave`), 2004; Aurora Leigh, 1866; The Old Yellow Book: Source of Browning's The Ring and the Book, 1908; Joel Hart, Triumphant Woman; Mrs. [Sophia Peabody] Hawthorne, Notes in England and Italy, 1872; Anna Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders as Represented in the Fine Arts, 1891; Walter Savage Landor, Imaginary Conversations, 1886; Frederic Leighton, engravings for George Eliot, Romola; Mrs Oliphant, The Makers of Florence: Dante, Giotto, Savonarola and their City, 1914; Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans, 1974, Paris and the Parisians in 1835, 1836; Vienna and the Austrians, 1838; Thomas Adolphus Trollope, What I Remember, 1887; Lilian Whiting, Kate Field, 1900, A Study of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1902.

We have Anna Jameson, Legends of the Monastic Orders, open to the engraving of Filippino's Vision of the Madonna to St Bernard in the Badia, below the sepia photograph of that same painting, which had been in the Palazzo Strozzi at the same time that we exhibited these photographs in the Gabinetto Vieusseux there. We have as well a portfolio of Lord Leighton's painting of the procession through Borgo Allegri of the Cimabue Madonna, and of his engravings for George Eliot's Romola.

Membership in Aureo Anello (referring to the `golden ring` of Elizabeth Barrett Browning`s verse between Italy and England on the Casa Guidi plaque) is through giving its library a book and these books in the exhibition have been given by members from all over the world. We are open Monday mornings, Tuesday-Friday afternoons and you can ring our bell at other times.

We are in the midst of an Emergency Appeal to prevent the `English` Cemetery from being closed and abandoned. You can read about it here and sign the petition `That the English Cemetery be kept open, be restored and be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site`.

The following associations and individuals are on the Honour Committee of the Emergency Appeal for the restoration of the Swiss-owned 'Cimitero Porta a' Pinti', known as the 'English' Cemetery in Florence:

Sir James Ackroyd, England
Alliance of Literary Societies, England
Amici dei Musei Fiorentini, Firenze
Armstrong Browning Library, Baylor University, America
Anthony Astbury, The Greville Press, England
Association for Gravestone Studies, America
Jeffrey Begeal, America
Clive Britton, Florence
Brontë Society, England
Browning Society, England
Dame Fiona Caldicott, Principal, Somerville College, Oxford, England
Carolyn Carpenter, America
Timothy Chaplin and Diane Lutz Chaplin, Florence
Chiesa Evangelica Riformata Svizzera, Firenze
Amalia Ciardi Dupré, Firenze
Timothy Collins, England
Leonardo Domenici, Sindaco, Comune di Firenze
Dame Judi Dench, England
English-Speaking Union, America
Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Firenze
Gabinetto Vieusseux ‘Centro Romantico’, Firenze
Horace W. Gibson, Florence
Philip Henderson, Lucca
Robert Heylmun, Florence
Historic Gardens Foundation, England
Julia Bolton Holloway, Florence
Gerardo Kraft, Firenze
Landor Society, England
Joanna Lumley, O.B.E.
Moira Macfarlane, British Consul General, Florence
Lapo Mazzei, Firenze
Michael Meredith, Eton College, England
Sir Derek Morris, Provost, Oriel College, England
Priscilla Morss Bayard, Florence
Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate, England
Pre-Raphaelite Society, England
Giannozzo Pucci, Firenze
Luigi di Quintana Bellini Trinchi Principe di Cagnano, Cavaliere di Malta, Roma
Regione Toscana, Firenze
Salvatore Siano, 'Nello Carrara', CNR
Simone Siliani, Assessore alla Cultura, Comune di Firenze, Firenze
Carlo Steinhauslin, Firenze
Sir Roy Strong, England
Mikhail Talalay, Russian Academy of Science, Naples
Aeronwy Thomas, England
Dylan Thomas Society of Great Britain
Trollope Society, England
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Victorian Society, England
Warwickshire Local History Society
Waterloo Committee, Patron, Duke of Wellington, England
Anthony and Diana Webb, England
Timothy Wilson, Ashmolean Museum, England
Sir Franco Zeffirelli, Italy
Mariella Zoppi, Assessore alla Cultura, Regione Toscana, Firenze