Wednesday, January 25, 2017

287. News about the Grave of Cornelia Ricketts

Around Christmas, I received an email from Genoa in Italy, the city where Charles Ricketts's mother died in 1880. Her grave was in the English cemetery, which was closed in 1881, and a new graveyard was arranged for in the English corner of the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno.

So far so good. When Constance Wilde, wife of Oscar Wilde, died in Genoa in 1898, she was interred here.

However, when Paul Delaney, Ricketts's biographer, went on a search for the grave of Ricketts's mother, who was so important for his early education, it proved elusive. There was no record of it, and the plot contained no monument to remember her.

In October 2016, we published J.G.P. Delaney and Corine Verney's book Charles Ricketts's Mysterious Mother. Who could have known that only a month later Cornelia Ricketts's grave would be found by a local historian?

Grave of Cornelia Ricketts (Photo: Marco Cazzulo)
In November 2016 Marco Cazzulo uncovered a gravestone with the text:

DIED 1880

Marco Cazzulo works with a group of volonteers who go out and clean the graves of Genoa. This Associazione "Per Staglieno" ONLUS-Genova is involved in maintaining and cleaning the burial places of the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno. 

Cazzulo is a historian who searches for stories about Genoa's past and the people who lived there, including passers by, like Ricketts's mother. Graves are part of the history of Genoa.

Grave of Cornelia Ricketts (Photo: Marco Cazzulo)
Marco Cazzulo himself found the grave of Cornelia in the Staglieno cemetery (Genoa). 

The grave was uncovered in a part of the graveyard that was in a bad condition. Stones were hidden to view by ivy, roots, weeds, and dirt. After the graves were cleaned, some stones revealed names and one of them was Helene Cornelie Ricketts. This is the name on the stone, although Ricketts's mother had been born in Rome as Cornelia Pia Adeodata Marsuzi de Aguirre.

Grave of Cornelia Ricketts (Photo: Marco Cazzulo)
Next time you visit the grave of Oscar Wilde's wife, place a flower on Cornelia's grave and send me a photo.

[Thanks are due to Marco Cazzulo for sharing his find with us, and for allowing us to use his photo's of the grave.]