Gisborne, Maria

BORN 1770, Constantinople - DIED 1836, Plymouth, Devon
BIRTH NAME James, Maria
GRAVE LOCATION Plymouth, Devon

Daughter of a merchant, born as Maria James. She grew up in the East and her father took her to Rome in 1785 to study painting under Angelika Kauffmann. In Rome she met the young architect Willey Reveley and after they were caught in bed together by her father. They had to flee naked and they were married the next day without the approval of her father. Maria was was only eighteen years old at the time. In England they both worked for the famous Jeremy Bentham and they had a son, Henry Riveley.

In 1797, for a few days, Maria took care of little Mary, the daughter that Mary Wollstonecraft gave birth to shorty before her death. In 1800 she refused several proposals for marriage from the widower, William Godwin (Willey Reveley had suddenly died in 1799). She married John Gisborne instead and they went to live in Italy in 1800. The young Mary became well known as Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein and it was in Italy that Maria and Mary met again in later years. During a visit to London in 1820 she kept a diary for the Shelleys. In 1820 Mary's husband Percy Bysshe Shelley published his "Letter to Maria Gisborne".

After the Gisborne's returned to England in 1821 and they settled in Plymouth. In 1827 they visited Italy once more. They both died early in 1836 and were buried in Plymouth (John was buried on January 16th and Maria was buried on April 23th).

• Son: Reveley, Henry Willey

Related persons
• has a connection with Godwin, William
• has a connection with Shelley, Mary

• St Clair, William, The Godwins and the Shelleys, Faber and Faber, London, 1990
Maria Gisborne - Wikipedia

Gisela, archduchess of Austria, princess of Bavaria

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 20 Feb 2021