Person    | Male  Born 7/5/1812  Died 12/12/1889

Robert Browning

Categories: Poetry, Seriously Famous

Countries: Italy

Poet and playwright. Born Camberwell. His works include ‘Home Thoughts from Abroad’ and ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’. He fell in love with Elizabeth Barrett and married her secretly because of her father’s disapproval. They escaped to Italy. Browning died Palazzo Rezzonico, Venice and is buried in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.

Browning's homes in London are remarkably well plaqued. Chronologically they should be visited: SE5, SE14, *, W2, W8. The * represents a plaque gap, 1846 - 1862, which is the period that the Brownings were on the Continent. When Elizabeth died, Browning returned to London with their son, Pen. In 1866 Browning's sister, Sarianna, came to keep house for him and stayed for the rest of his life. The W2 house, which was rented, developed defects and that prompted Browning to buy the W8 house. Pen married a rich American and lived in Venice in Palazzo Rezzonico, where Browning was visiting when he died.

From Londonist's Secrets of London's Canals we learnt that it was Browning that, having just returned from Italy, named the canals near his W2 home 'Little Venice' and the triangle of water there is know as Browning's Pool.

Fun fact: Robert Browning was not as well-versed in vulgar slang as he needed to be. He misread a bawdy 17th century reference to an “Old Nun’s Twat” as referring to part of a nun’s habit, and so he went on to innocently use “twat” in his poem Pippa Passes:
“Then, owls and bats,
Cowls and twats,
Monks and nuns, in a cloister’s moods,
Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!”

Credit for this entry to: Alan Patient of www.plaquesoflondon.co.uk

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Robert Browning

Commemorated ati

Robert Browning - SE14

The cottage was 'Telegraph Cottage' which Browning described as "resembling a...

Read More

Robert Browning - SE5

{Beneath a silhouette:}  Robert Browning poet, born Camberwell 1812, lived on...

Read More

Robert Browning - W2 sculpture

2015: The attribution of this work, ‘Two Doves’, to William Mitchell is being...

Read More

Robert Browning - W2 Westminster plaque

He lived at what was number 19 Warwick Crescent.

Read More

Robert Browning - W8

Robert Browning lived in this house 1887 - 1889, from here his body was taken...

Read More

This section lists the memorials created by the subject on this page:
Robert Browning

Creations i

Robert Browning Settlement

The quotation is from Browning's poem 'Saul': "I have gone the whole round o...

Read More

Rossetti fountain

Unveiled by William Holman Hunt. There must have been a committee to erect th...

Read More

Other Subjects

John Masefield

John Masefield

Poet. Born Herefordshire. Orphaned early he was sent to sea, aged 13, to train as an officer and seems to have spent a lot of time reading and writing. Aged 17 he jumped ship in New York where he c...

Person, Poetry, USA

1 memorial
Cecil Day Lewis

Cecil Day Lewis

Poet and novelist. Born Ireland but brought up in London. His mystery novels were written under his pseudonym, Nicholas Blake. 1951 married the actor Jill Balcon (daughter of Michael Balcon.) Fathe...

Person, Literature, Poetry, Ireland

3 memorials
Sir Kingsley Amis

Sir Kingsley Amis

Novelist and poet. Born Kingsley William Amis in Norbury. His many novels include 'Lucky Jim', 'Take a Girl Like You' and 'The Old Devils'. He also wrote six volumes of poetry, and works of non-fic...

Person, Literature, Poetry

1 memorial
Eric Mackay

Eric Mackay

The Wikipedia entry for Mackay is worth a read - it's short and not kind; describing him as a "minor' poet, and using terms such as "sponging", "execrable", "laziness and lack of scruples" and repe...

Person, Poetry

1 memorial
Edgar A Bowring

Edgar A Bowring

There is much of interest in this man's life. Born the son of a career diplomat who served for a time as Governor of Hong Kong, his mother was poisoned with arsenic whilst in Hong Kong and died in ...

Person, Poetry, Politics & Administration

1 memorial