Giving Nineteenth Century Women Writers a Voice and a Face — Theodosia Trollope [née Garrow] (1816–1865)

Theodosia Garrow
“She Is Not Dead, But Sleepeth”
The Keepsake (1846)

Theodosia Trollope published her first book of poetry in 1839, and, for a time, her reputation rivaled that of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Walter Savage Landor, nineteenth century English writer and poet, praised her poetry in a letter to Robert Browning:  “This very year there is in the Book of Beauty a poem by my friend Theodosia Garrow, on Italy, far surpassing those of M. Angelo and Filicaia. Sappho is far less intense. Pindar is far less animated.”

Letter from Walter Savage Landor to Robert Browning
[10 November 1845]
Courtesy of  the Armstrong Browning Library

Theodosia Garrow moved to Florence with her family in 1844, and in 1848 married Thomas Adolphus Trollope, brother of Anthony Trollope, one of the most successful novelists of the Victorian era. Their home, The Villino Trollope, in the Piazza dell’ Indipendenza, became the focal point  of Anglo-Florentine society.

Like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Theodosia found herself exposed first hand to the Italian struggle for freedom against Austria. She is probably best remembered for a series of letters praising the efforts of the Risorgimento in Tuscany and denouncing its opponents, including the papacy. These letters, published as Social Aspects of the Italian Revolution (1861), were instrumental in turning British public opinion in favor of the liberation and unification of Italy.

The ABL has two letters written by EBB to Theodosia. One of the letters [?6 June 1859], beginning “Your indignation cannot exceed mine — The reputation for truth of English gentlemen seems about to perish,” precipitates a politically charged letter written on the same day by Theodosia to William Johnson Fox concerning her sympathy with the Italian cause after the outbreak of fighting in 1859.

Letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Theodosia Garrow
[?6 June 1859]]
Courtesy of the Armstrong Browning Library

Melinda Creech

Notes: Theodosia Garrow published a poem called “Bees” in the Book of Beauty in 1844, no  poems in 1845, “Paolina. Song” in 1846, and “The Cry of Romangna” (which is about Italy) in 1847. She also published “Sonnet – Petrarch to Laura” in The Keepsake for 1944, “Mabel’s Dove” in The Keepsake for 1845, “She is not Dead, but Sleepeth” (also about Italy) in The Keepsake for 1846, and “The Lethe-Draught” in The Keepsake for 1847.

One thought on “Giving Nineteenth Century Women Writers a Voice and a Face — Theodosia Trollope [née Garrow] (1816–1865)

  1. This is the information from the English Cemetery in Florence about Theodosia Garrow Trollope if you want to add it to the article:

    § THEODOSIA (GARROW) TROLLOPE/ ENGLAND/ Trolloape [Trollope]/ Teodosia/ [Joseph Garrow]/ Inghilterra/ Firenze/ 12 Aprile/ 1865/ Anni 46/ 904/+/ Theodosia Trollope, l’Angleterre/GL23777/1 N° 357 Burial 15/04 Age 46 Rev Pendleton; Marriage GL23774 N° 71+170/6 N° 71 03/04/48 Thomas Adolphus Trollope to Theodosia Garrow at HBM (Hamilton) bride d of Joseph Garrow, Devon, Rev Robbins; Baptism of child GL23775 N° 219/40, Beatrice Catherine Harriet 05/05/53, father Thomas Adolphus Esq, mother Theodosia, Rev O’Neill/ Thomas Adolphus Trollope, What I Remember, II.150-159, 166-168, & Chapter XVIII, who describes her as Florence’s new Corinne; pp. 171-173. on her childhood friendship with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, both invalids to tuberculosis in Torquay/ NDNB entries for Theodosia Trollope, James Archibald Stuart-Wortley, whose grandson married first Theodosia’s daughter, Bice, then Millais’ daughter, Caroline/ THEODOSIAE TROLLOPE/ T. ADOLFI TROLLOPE CONIUGIS/ QUOD MORTALE FUIT/ HIC IACET/ OBITUM EIUS FLEVERUNT OMNES/ QUANTUM AUTEM FERRI MERUIT/ VIR EUGUI SCRIPTORES/ SCIT SOLUS/ JOSEFE GARROW ARMr FILIA/ APUD TORQEW IN AGRORUM DEVON ANGLORUM NATA/ FLORENTIAE NOMEN AGENS LUSTRUM/ AD PLURES DIVINAE . . ./ MENSES APRILES A.D. 1865/ F11E/ See Fisher, Garrow, Trollope, Shinner. See also her book, The Social Aspects of the Italian Revolution.,M1
    Sue Wright provided this further information about Theodosia Trollope.

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