Clairmont, Charles Gaulis

BORN 4 Jun 1795, Bristol: Bridge Street - DIED 2 Feb 1850, Wien
CAUSE OF DEATH cerebral hemorrhage
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Evangelischer Friedhof Matzleinsdorf, 10. Triesterstraße 1 (Gruft 3 links)

Brother or half brother of Claire Clairmont, who travelled through Europe with Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley. Charles first moved to Vienna in 1819 to work as a teacher, but he was ordered to leave the city, probably because of his connections with Godwin and Shelley. Several families in Vienna came to his aid and he was finally allowed to stay. In 1824 he married Antonie Ghislain d'Henbyze (She was called "Tonie"). They had seven children.

Hoping to become professor of German at the new founded University in London he had returned to England for a while with his wife in 1828, but he didn't get the job. On 13 Jan 1829 Charles Clairmont, Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley and William Godwin Jr. were together for the last time.

Clairmont was a devoted father and worked long days to keep his wife and children. In 1838 he obtained a position as English teacher at the Theresianum Ritterakademie. In 1839 he was appointed professor at the University of Vienna. Charles was still pressed for money when he visited Claire in Paris in 1845. They hadn't met for more than sixteen years. He had wanted to pay a farewell visit to England but couldn't afford it and spent more time with her instead.

He was the favourite teacher of Maximilian of Austria, the unfortunate future emperor of Mexico. In 1848 he sympathized with the revolutionaries but he remained loyal to the Imperial family. In Februari 1850 he suddenly collapsed and he died on the way to the hospital. Maximilian was in tears when he paid his last respects.

Charles was buried at the Währinger Friedhof in Vienna. When this cemetery was closed his descendants moved his coffin to the family tomb of his wife at the Evangelischer Friedhof Matzleinsdorf. Tonie lived until 1868.

• Daughter: Clairmont, Hermine

Related persons
• is brother/sister of Clairmont, Claire
• was teacher of Ludwig Viktor, Erzherzog von Österreich
• was teacher of Maximilian of Austria, emperor of Mexico

15/9/1822Claire Clairmont leaves Genoa for Vienna. She went to her Brother Charles Clairmont. [Clairmont, Claire]
11/7/1828Charles Clairmont arrives in London with his family 
13/1/1829Last meeting of all the Godwin/Clairmont children [Clairmont, Claire][Shelley, Mary]


The tomb of Charles Clairmont and his family at the Evangelischer Friedhof Matzleinsdorf, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (24 Aug 2005)


The grave of Charles Clairmont at the Evangelischer Friedhof Matzleinsdorf, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (11 Aug 2018)


• Bennett, Betty Y. (ed.), The Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1983
• Feldman, Paula R. and Diana Scott-Kilvert, The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987
• Gittings, Robert and Jo Manton, Claire Clairmont and the Shelleys 1798-1879, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992
• Kingston Stocking, Marion, The Journals of Claire Clairmont, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968
• St Clair, William, The Godwins and the Shelleys, Faber and Faber, London, 1990

Clairmont, Claire

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 17 Jul 2022