Brooks, Romaine

BORN 1 May 1874, Roma - DIED 7 Dec 1970, Nice
REAL 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, allthough she continued to support him after their separation.

In 1908 she went to Paris and in 1909 she met Gabriele d'Annunzio. She had several affairs with women, among them Ida Rubinstein, 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. In the early 1930s she produced many drawings. In 1938 she painted Muriel Draper, but after the war she disappeared from public life and stopped painting. In 1961 she suddenly 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 her notorious contemporaties 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 place.

Related persons
• was a friend of Annunzio, Gabriele d'
• was the lover of Barney, Natalie Clifford
• painted Barney, Natalie Clifford
• was a friend of Hall, Radclyffe
• has a connection with Troubridge, Una
• was influenced by Whistler, James MacNeill

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


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)


Brosig, Egon

Published: 19 Apr 2014
Last update: 28 Feb 2016