Brooks, Romaine

BORN 1 May 1874, Roma, Lazio - DIED 7 Dec 1970, Nice, Alpes-Maritimes
BIRTH NAME Goddard, Beatrice Romaine
GRAVE LOCATION Nice, Alpes-Maritimes: Cimetière Anglais, Avenue Sainte-Marguerite (next to her brother St. Mar)

Beatrice Romaine Goddard was the daughter of American parents. She was born in Rome where her mother was travelling at the time. Her mother was often away and looking for cures for her mentally ill brother St. Mar. Romaine was sent to boarding schools in Italy and in Geneva.

In 1902 her mother died and left her a large fortune (her brother St. Mar had died in 1901). In Paris, she met the art collector Charles Lang Freer, who made her familiair with the paintings of Whistler. She drew and painted herself and Whistler's work had a great influence on her. For several years she lived in Cornwall to study Whistler's works.

She went to the artists' colony in Capri where she met and married (on 13 Jun 1903) the pianist John Ellington Brooks, who had been a lover of W. Somerset Maugham. The marriage was a disaster and she soon left him, although she continued to support him after their separation with a small financial allowance.

In 1908 she went to Paris and in 1909 she met Gabriele d'Annunzio. She had several affairs with women, among them Ida Rubinstein, Renata Borgatti, Clara Butt and Winnaretta Singer, Princesse de Polignac. Her relationship with Natalie Clifford Barney lasted for decades. In 1967 it finally came to an end because Romaine couldn't accept Barney's other lover, Janine Lahovary. She was also interested in Una Troubridge, Radcliffe Hall's lover, but she failed to attract her.

As a painter she was mainly known for her portraits and d'Annunzio, who sat for her in 1912, praised her use of grays. She sat herself for Gluck and Antonio de la Gandara. In 1925 her work was exhibited several times. She detested modern art and held on to her own style of painting. In the early 1930s she produced many drawings.

In 1938 she painted Muriel Draper, but after the war she was less in the public eye than before, although she probably continued drawing. In 1961 she created a portrait of Umberto Strozzi (b.1961). She was aged 87 at the time.

Romaine lived until the age of 96 and died in 1970 in Nice. Many sources state that she was buried at the Passy cemetery in Paris, where Natalie Barney and Renée Vivien rest. The English section of the Cimetière du Trabuquet in Menton is also erroneously mentioned. The latter was probably confused with the old English Cemetery in Nice, where she was buried in the grave where her detested brother St. Mar and her mother also found their last resting places.

• Husband: Brooks, John Ellingham (1903-1929)

Related persons
• knew Acton, Harold
• was the lover of Barney, Natalie Clifford
• painted Barney, Natalie Clifford
• has a connection with Bernstein, Henry
• painted Bibesco, Anna, Comtesse de Noailles
• painted Casati, Luisa, Marchesa
• was a friend of D'Annunzio, Gabriele
• was a friend of Douglas, Alfred Bruce
• was a friend of Hall, Radclyffe
• was photographed by Man Ray
• painted Troubridge, Una Vincenzo
• was influenced by Whistler, James MacNeill


The grave of Romaine Brooks at the Cimetière Anglais, Nice. She was buried with her brother Henry St Mar.
Picture by androom (07 Mar 2014)


The grave of Romaine Brooks at the Cimetière Anglais, Nice.
Picture by androom (07 Mar 2014)


Poster for Romaine Brooks exhibition in Venice.
Picture by Androom (13 Feb 2016)


Portrait of Natalie Barney by Romaine Brooks, exhibited at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice in 2016.
Picture by Androom (14 Feb 2016)


• Dickson, Lovat, Radclyffe Hall at the Well of Loneliness, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1975
• Langer, Cassandra, Romaine Brooks, A Life, The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 2015
• Sicherman, Barbara, Carol Hurd Green [editors], Notable American Women, volume 4, The Modern Period, Belknap Harvard, Cambridge, Massachusetss, 1980
• Souhami, Diana, Wild Girls, The Love Life of Natalie Barney & Romaine Brooks, Phoenix, London, 2005

Brosig, Egon

Published: 19 Apr 2014
Last update: 19 Apr 2022