Fanny Brawne (1800-1865)
The fiancée and muse of Romantic poet John Keats.
Fanny was secretly engaged to the poet John Keats. Their intense relationship lasted from 1818 until his death from tuberculosis, aged just 25, in 1821.
Keats wrote many of his most famous poems after meeting 18-year-old Fanny, London-born daughter of a middle-class businessman. She was his ‘one passion’, and he was clearly inspired by her ‘elegant, graceful, silly, fashionable and strange’ personality.
However, others judged her as fickle, shallow and flirtatious, and felt their relationship was dangerously destructive for the young poet. Fanny’s reputation wasn’t restored until 1937, when her many letters to Keats’s sister were published.
Fanny mourned Keats’s untimely death for six years. In 1833 she travelled to France, where she met Louis Lindon, from a wealthy merchant and banking family of Spanish or Portuguese descent. They married soon after and had three children. After living for many years overseas, the Lindons finally settled in London. The year that Fanny died, she finally told her children about her time with Keats, and entrusted them with her letters and other mementoes from their relationship. She had worn his engagement ring her entire life.