‘Grave-Paved Stars’: Comparing the Death of Two Artists in Nineteenth-Century Rome
Adelaide Ironside (1831–1867) is best known as the ﬁrst Australian-born artist to train overseas. While her life offers a portal into Republican Sydney, Pre-Raphaelite London and Risorgimento Rome, the nature of her archive also highlights the limits of historical method and the need to employ what Virginia Woolf called ‘the biographer’s licence’ when researching and writing about subjects with problematic sources. In this article, I employ biographical license to contrast the better-known and better-documented death of the English poet John Keats (1795–1821), with the few records associated with Ironside’s death some forty years later, to speculate about the silences in her sources. There are several factors encouraging this approach. Both artists died in Rome of pulmonary tuberculosis. Both were patients of the famous doctor, Sir James Clark (1788–1870), and both died during winter in the care of the person with whom they are now buried. By situating Ironside within these broader nineteenth-century contexts, my biographical subject evolves from a shadowy historical representative of demographic and an era into a ﬁgure who is more ﬂesh and blood than an account focused upon her accomplishments and acquaintances might otherwise allow.
Copyright (c) 2020 Kiera Lindsey
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).