|dc.description.abstract||Fannie Coddington was born in New York on
September 6, 1853. Her father, Thomas B. Coddington,
was a wealthy metal merchant with locations in both
New York and London. In 1868, Fannie moved with her
family to London where she became acquainted with the
poet, Robert Browning, and his family. Pen Browning,
Robert's son, was attracted to Fannie and after a few
years proposed marriage. The Coddington family disapproved of the match and in 1875, Fannie returned to
New York. There, she dedicated herself to religious and
charitable work with Grace Church.
After the deaths of her father, mother, and elder
sister, Fannie traveled to England with her younger
sister, Marie. She was reunited with Pen Browning and
on October 4, 1887, the couple were married. They
purchased the Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice as their home.
The poet, who had the greatest love and admiration for
his daughter-in-law, was visiting them when he became
ill and died on December 12, 1889 .
Although the couple had many friends and were
socially active in Venice, their life was unhappy.
Fannie was unable to bear a child and suffered frequently
from disabling physical pain as well as from the
resulting emotional strain. Pen hired a beautiful
Venetian nurse/model who aroused Fannie's jealousy and
eventually caused a separation. In 1893, after six
years of marriage, Fannie left for New York where she
spent the next few years in philanthropic endeavors.
In 1899, at the encouragement of her friend Enid
Layard, Fannie agreed to meet Pen to try to reconcile
their differences. In May, she returned to Venice and
her husband but left again in January of 1900 to live at
Enid Layard's until she finally acquired her own apartment
in March of that year. She lived independently, boarding
nurses and working with various charitable organizations.
In 1906, Fannie chose to leave Italy and to make
her home at Oxford in England. In July 1912, Pen died and
because he left no will, an auction of the Browning
estate was held the following May.
Fannie moved to America, making her home in
Washington, D.C. in 1914. In 1928, she published
Some Memories of Robert Browning.
In 1931, Fannie returned to England to Hayward
Heath, London. There, in 1933, she hired Miss Dorothy
Ivatt, an employee of Hayward Heath Hospital whom she
had come to know and trust; she consequently dismissed
her companion of twenty years. Miss Louise Vincent.
Shortly afterward, she tried to break the trust fund
of almost $400,000 which she had established a few years
earlier, but lost the case because the judge ruled that
she was influenced by Miss Ivatt. Fannie lived with
Miss Ivatt in Anchorhold cottage in Hayward Heath until
her death on September 20, 1935.||en_US