Buried: St Mary the Virgin, Mortlake High Street, Across the road from the river, Mortlake, London, SW14 8JA
Michael Field was a pseudonym used for the poetry and verse drama of Katherine Harris Bradley and her niece and ward Edith Emma Cooper. As Field, they wrote around 40 works together and a long journal Works and Days. Their intention was to keep the pen name secret, but it became public knowledge, not long after they had confided in their friend Robert Browning. Bradley published first under the pseudonym Arran Leigh, a nod to Elizabeth Barrett. Edith adopted the name Isla Leigh. From the late 1870s, when Edith was at University College, Bristol, they agreed to live together and were, over the next 40 years, lovers and co-authors. They had financial independence: Bradley's father, Charles Bradley, had been in the tobacco industry in Birmingham. They developed a large circle of literary friends; in particular, painters and life partners Charles de Sousy Ricketts and Charles Hazelwood Shannon, near whom they settled in Richmond, London. They also were passionately devoted to their pets, in particular a dog named Whym Chow, for whom they wrote a book of poems named after him. This continued a tradition of lesbian couples forming families that included beloved animals. They wrote each other: “My love and I took hands and swore / against the world to be / Poets and lovers evermore.” –Michael Field, Underneath the Bow (1893)
Together from 1878 to 1913: 35 years.
Edith Emma Cooper (January 12, 1862 - December 13, 1913)
Katherine Harris Bradley (October 27, 1846 - September 26, 1914)
Days of Love edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: September 21, 2014
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Contemporary dining with carefully crafted dishes in chic riverside spot with alfresco balcony.
Address: 61-63 Petersham Rd, Richmond, Greater London TW10 6UT, UK (51.45518, -0.30333)
Type: Guest facility (open to public)
Phone: +44 20 8940 0902
In 1899 the death of Edith Emma Cooper’s father enabled her and her aunt, Katherine Harris Bradley, to buy their own house as evidence of their "close marriage,” although Edith saw her father’s death as retribution for their lifestyle. The property, originally built as two Georgian houses in 1740, was described in a rental survey for George III, carried out in 1773 as a “messeuge (a dwelling), court and garden” and a “messuage with stables and coach house.” Lady Ann Bingham, whose sister Lady Lavinia married the first Earl of Spencer, rented the property in 1821, added the room which is currently the Bingham Bar, which links the properties. Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, who wrote under the pseudonym Michael Field, lived in the property from 1899-1914. They entertained many literary visitors including W.B. Yeats. The Bingham’s 15 bedrooms are named after their poetry and works. During the XX Century the property fell into disrepair and was bought by the current owners in 1984 undergoing extensive refurbishment from 2006-8. 53 Petersham Road, along with neighbouring associated buildings 55-61 are collectively known as The Paragon, and are all Grade II Listed Georgian-era buildings. No. 55 was at once home of Occultist Aleister Crowley. In 1898, while appearing at the Cambridge Footlights club, Herbert Pollitt (1871-1942), female impersonator under the name of Diane De Rougy, and art collector, met and had an affair with the then unknown Aleister Crowley. Crowley describes his lover: “Pollitt was rather plain than otherwise. His face was made tragic by the terrible hunger of the eyes and the bitter sadness of the mouth. He possessed one physical beauty - his hair. This was very plentiful and he wore it rather long. It was what is called a shock. But its colour was pale gold, like spring sunshine, and its texture was of the finest gossamer.” Crowley would later write that “I lived with Pollitt as his wife for some six months and he made a poet out of me.”
Who: Katharine Harris Bradley (October 27, 1846 –September 26, 1914) and Edith Emma Cooper (January 12, 1862 –December 13, 1913)
Michael Field was a pseudonym used for the poetry and verse drama of Katharine Harris Bradley and her niece and ward Edith Emma Cooper. As Field they wrote around 40 works together, and a long journal “Works and Days.” Their intention was to keep the pen-name secret, but it became public knowledge, not long after they had confided in their friend Robert Browning. Bradley’s elder sister, Emma, married James Robert Cooper in 1860, and went to live in Kenilworth, where their daughter, Edith Emma Cooper was born on January 12, 1862. Emma Cooper became an invalid for life after the birth of her second daughter, Amy, and Katharine Bradley, being her sister, stepped in to become the legal guardian of her niece Edith Cooper. From the late 1870s, when Edith was at University College, Bristol, they agreed to live together and were, over the next 40 years, lovers and co-authors. They had financial independence: Bradley’s father Charles Bradley had been in the tobacco industry in Birmingham. They developed a large circle of literary friends and contacts; in particular painters and life partners Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) and Charles Shannon (1863-1937), near whom they settled in Richmond, London. Robert Browning was also a close friend of Edith and Katherine, and they knew and admired Oscar Wilde, whose death they bitterly mourned. They knew many of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s, including Walter Pater, Vernon Lee, J. A. Symonds and also Bernard Berenson. William Rothenstein was a friend. They wrote a number of passionate love poems to each other, and their name Michael Field was their way of declaring their inseparable oneness. Friends referred to them as the Fields, the Michaels or the Michael Fields. They had a range of pet names for each other. They also were passionately devoted to their pets, in particular a dog named Whym Chow, for whom they wrote a book of poems named after him. Edith died of cancer in 1913, as did Katherine less than a year later. They were buried together at St Mary the Virgin (Mortlake High Street, Across the road from the river, Mortlake, London, SW14 8JA). A now-lost marble tomb was erected in 1926. St Mary is a Roman Catholic church in North Worple Way, Mortlake, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames. The church building, in Gothic Revival style, was designed by Gilbert Blount, architect to the first Archbishop of Westminster, Nicholas Wiseman, and dates from 1852. In the same cemetery is buried Sir Richard Burton (1821-1890), a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He was known for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extensive knowledge of languages and cultures. He wrote numerous books and scholarly articles on a wide range of subjects, including homosexuality. After his death in 1890, his wife Isabel destroyed much of his material, including Burton’s study on homosexuality that was planned to be published with the new translation of Sheikh Nefzawi’s “The Perfumed Garden.” Burton had a lifelong interest in the study of sexual practices. While working in the army of the East India Company, he participated in an undercover investigation of a brothel in Karachi, said to be frequented by British soldiers where the prostitutes were young boys. His report was so detailed that subsequent readers believed Burton had participated in some of the practices described in his writing. Burton lies buried with his wife in a tent-shaped mausoleum. The mausoleum is Grade II* listed.
Queer Places, Vol. 2 edited by Elisa Rolle
Release Date: July 24, 2016
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