The Funeral of Shelley

Louis Edouard Fournier1889

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Liverpool, United Kingdom

Percy Bysshe Shelley, the Romantic poet, drowned in 1822 when his yacht was wrecked in a storm in the Gulf of Spezzia, Italy. His body was cremated and his remains later buried at the Protestant cemetery in Rome. Fournier’s painting shows the funeral pyre surrounded by three of the dead poet’s closest friends. From left to right, they are the author and adventurer, Trelawney, Leigh Hunt and Shelley’s fellow-poet, Lord Byron. In Trelawney’s own account of the event, 'Recollections of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron', he described the hot August day on which the funeral took place. Fournier chose to ignore this aspect of the description, depicting the weather conditions as grey and cold in order to accentuate the sombre and dramatic mood of the piece.


  • Title: The Funeral of Shelley
  • Creator: Louis Edouard Fournier
  • Creator Lifespan: 1857/1917
  • Creator Nationality: French
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Paris, France
  • Date Created: 1889
  • tag / style: Louis Edouard Fournier; Romanticism; Percy Bysshe Shelley; poet; drowned; body; cremated; funeral pyre; friends; Trelawney; Leigh Hunt; Lord Byron; weather; grey; cold; sombre; dramatic; beach; sand; tide; smoke; hearse; flames; mourners
  • Physical Dimensions: w2134 x h1295 cm (Without frame)
  • Artist biographical information: Louis Edouard Fournier painted history subjects, portraits and watercolour scenes. He was also an interior decorator, draughtsman and illustrator. He was born in 1857 in Paris and studied there, exhibiting at the Paris Salon. He won the notorious Prix de Rome in 1881 and a medal at the Chicago exhibition in 1893. He also won several medals at the Universal Exhibitions in Paris. Fournier was a member of the Societé des Artistes Francaise and was made chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1900.
  • Additional artwork information: To learn more about the Walker Art Gallery’s 19th-century paintings, please follow this link: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/collections/19c/index.aspx
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: Presented by William Moore in 1905

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