English Cemetery, Florence - Burials


Among the many Swiss, Russians, Americans and British buried here, those of the English-speaking British and Americans are the majority as the Anglophone community in Florence in the nineteenth century was the largest.

Many famous people are buried in the graveyard: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (in a tomb designed by Frederic, Lord Leighton), Walter Savage Landor, Arthur Hugh Clough, Fanny Trollope and her daughter-in-law Theodosia Garrow Trollope and three other family members, Isa Blagden, Southwood Smith, Hiram Powers, Joel Tanner Hart, Theodore Parker, Fanny, the wife of William Holman Hunt in a tomb he himself sculpted, Mary, the daughter of John Roddam Spencer Stanhope in a tomb he himself sculpted, Louise, sister to Henry Adams, whose dying he describes in his 'Chaos' chapter in The Education of Henry Adams, two children of the Greek painter George Mignaty, whom Robert had paint Casa Guidi as it was when Elizabeth Barrett Browning died there, and Nadezhda De Santis, a black Nubian slave brought to Florence at fourteen from Jean-François Champollion's 1827 expedition to Egypt and Nubia, while the French Royalist exile Félicie de Fauveau sculpted two tombs here. Beatrice Shakespeare and Edward Claude Shakespeare Clench last descendants of William Shakespeare.

Giampietro Vieusseux, Swiss, the founder of the Gabinetto Vieusseux (where John Ruskin, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, and Robert Browning were readers), is also buried here; and likewise the Swiss historian Jacques Augustin Galiffe, who with Jean Charles Léonard Simonde de Sismondi pioneered genealogical, archival research. Emily Dickinson treasured a photograph of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's tomb and wrote 'The soul selects her own society' about it, using lines also from Elizabeth Barrett Broning's Aurora Leigh; and Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a sonnet on Hiram Powers' sculpture The Greek Slave, which had been at the center of the Crystal Palace Exhibition, London, in 1851. Isa Blagden and Theodosia Garrett Trollope, part East Indian, part Jewish, were models for Miriam in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Marble Faun, while George Mignaty's wife was model for the head of Hiram Powers' Greek Slave. The cemetery is also the partial subject of Arnold Boecklin's Isle of the Dead, from its burial of his seven-month daughter, Mary. In turn, the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff made use of Boecklin's painting for his Op. 29, The Isle of the Dead. Thus this cemetery forms a compendious memorial of western creativity, from America to Russia, from Scandinavia to Nubia, during Italy's 19th-century Risorgimento.

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