Boinville, Cornelia

BORN 23 Feb 1795, London - DIED 25 Oct 1874, Paris
REAL NAME Chastel de Boinville, Cornelia Pauline Eugenia
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Montmartre Cimetière, 20 Avenue Rachel (division 19)

Cornelia Turner was not only a beauty but also a heiress. Her father Jean-Baptiste Chastel de Boinville (1756-1813) lost his life in the war against Russia. Her mother's name was Harriet Collins. Through William Godwin, an acquaintance of the Boinvilles, she met the lawyer Thomas Turner and they married in 1812. In 1814 the poet Shelley stayed at the Boinville house with Cornelia and her mother Harriet, while his wife was with her father in Bath and her husband was in London. Cornelia taught Shelley Italian and they soon became on friendly terms and spent lots of time together, reading novels and having long talks.

When Cornelia called at Godwin's place on 16 Jul he immediately wrote to Turner, who took her away to Devon and saw to it that she never met Shelley again.

Around 1847 she lived in Paris and there she received people like Daniele Manin (1804-1857) and Vincenzo Gioberti (1801-1852). Towards the end of her life she befriended the young Violet Paget, better known as the author Vernon Lee. She helped her during her first literary efforts and she bequeathed her a watch that once belonged to Dr. Charles Burney and is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. A few hours before her death in 1874 she wrote a letter to Violet.

• Husband: Turner, Thomas (1812-)

Related persons
• was a friend of Lee, Vernon
• was a friend of Shelley, Percy Bysshe

• Tomalin, Claire, Shelley and his World, Thames and Hudson, London, 1980
• St Clair, William, The Godwins and the Shelleys, Faber and Faber, London, 1990
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Boisserée, Sulpice

Published: 1 Jan 2006
Last update: 5 Jun 2017