Writers Graves

London – William Blake

The great 18th century English poet, William Blake, died 190 years ago, today.
Blake was influenced by the ideals of the French and American revolutions and was a non-conformist who was opposed to organised religion. He was buried in the Dissenter’s burial ground in Bunhill Fields.
There is a memorial window to William Blake in Wesley’s Chapel, across the road from Bunhill Fields.

London Wesley Chapel 1

Chiswick – Foscolo

The Italian poet, Ugo Foscolo, lived in London for the last eleven years of his life. He died in Turnham Green, a suburb adjoining Chiswick, and was buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas, Chiswick – the same resting place as for William Hogarth (see previous blog).
In 1871, at the behest of the King of Italy, Foscolo’s remains were moved to Santa Croce in Florence.

Ugo Foscolo Grave

St Albans – Francis Bacon

The Bacon family had a country estate on the outskirts of St Albans, Hertfordshire. The Tudor era house there, built by the father of Francis Bacon and known as Gorhambury, is now a ruin. But there is a monument to Francis Bacon (see previous post) in the nearby church of St Michael.

St Michael’s is an interesting church, with a history going back to Anglo-Saxon times, as well as having a 12th century Norman window and 13th century Early English lancet windows.

Francis Bacon St Albans

London – St Olave Hart St

A City of London church that escaped the Great Fire of London in 1666, St Olave Hart St has quite a few literary connections. Anthony Bacon, the subject of a Daphne du Maurier’s biography (see previous blog post) was buried in the church in 1601. As Secretary of State for the Earl of Essex, Bacon’s duties included controlling a network of spies in Scotland, Spain and Italy.
Interestingly, Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, lived in a house next to the church. And du Maurier did a lot of detective work herself, to discover that St Olave was the final resting place of Anthony Bacon.

St Olave Hart Street

Oscar Wilde – Paris

Top of the list for places to visit on our upcoming trip to Paris is Pere Lachaise cemetery. In fact we are staying in a hotel nearby so we plan to visit the cemetery more than once. It is full of memorials to famous people like Chopin, Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison of the Doors fame.

On a previous visit to Pere Lachaise we were impressed by the memorial placed over the grave of Oscar Wilde. It is a sculpture of a Sphinx by famous British sculptor, Jacob Epstein. Visitors to the gravesite were in the habit of leaving a lipstick imprint of a kiss on the Sphinx as can be seen on the photo below. In 2011 a glass barrier was erected to prevent the kisses.

Today is Oscar Wilde’s birthday and a good time to remember the amazing dramatist who gave the world such entertaining plays as “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and “The Importance of being Earnest”.

Oscar Wilde Tomb Paris