The Death of Shelley

The Death of Shelley

Shelley was drowned off Viareggio in 1822 when his boat went down. If I may quote an excellent article in The Guardian: "By 1889 Louis Fournier's celebrated painting "The Cremation of Shelley", showed a miraculously undamaged corpse offered up to Heaven on a martyr's pyre, with Trelawny and Byron striking solemn Romantic poses (actually they went swimming), and a pious Mary kneeling on the wind-swept beach in floods of tears (although in fact she was never there at all)."

Louis Fournier: "The Cremation of Shelley" (1889), Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Shelley's ashes were interred in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, although they were missing his heart, which Mary Shelley held onto. The painting below is Shelley's Tomb in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome by Walter Crane (1873).

Except it is actually Keats' gravestone that is shown. Keats had died of TB in Rome in 1821. His epitaph includes the words: "Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water." Shelley's grave is there but in a different spot.

That is an ancient pyramid at the back left. Others buried here include Goethe's son August, Edward Trelawny (also in the painting at top), American painter Elihu Vedder, poet and critic John Addington Symons and that influential Marxist atheist Antonio Gramsci...