Fullerton, Georgiana Charlotte (DNB00)

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FULLERTON, Lady GEORGIANA CHARLOTTE (1812–1885), novelist and philanthropist, born on 23 Sept. 1812 at Tixall Hall, Staffordshire, was the youngest daughter of Lord Granville Leveson Gower [q. v.] (afterwards first Earl Granville), by his wife, Lady Harriet Elizabeth Cavendish, second daughter of William, fifth duke of Devonshire. A great part of her early life was spent in Paris, where her father had been appointed ambassador. She married on 13 July 1833, at Paris, Alexander George Fullerton, esq., of Ballintoy Castle, co. Antrim, then an officer in the guards, and after a visit to England she returned to the English embassy, which continued to be her home for eight years. The Fullertons left Paris in 1841, when Lord Granville finally retired from the embassy. They went first to Cannes, where Lord Brougham lent them his villa, and subsequently they resided with Lady Georgiana's brother at Rome, in the Palazzo Simonetti in the Corso. Mr. Fullerton was received into the catholic church at Rome in 1843. His wife began her literary career at the age of thirty-two by the publication of ‘Ellen Middleton,’ a novel which had been previously commended by Lord Brougham and Charles Greville, and which was ably criticised by Mr. Gladstone in the ‘English Review.’ The authoress had adopted extreme ‘Anglican’ principles, which led her to follow the example of her husband, and to join the Roman catholic church, into which she was admitted, at London, on Passion Sunday, 29 March 1846. In the following year she published her second story, ‘Grantley Manor,’ displaying an advance in style and character-drawing upon her previous work. It was followed in 1852 by ‘Lady Bird’ and by ‘Too Strange not to be True,’ the most popular of all her works, describing the life of a French émigré who, reduced almost to poverty, eked out a bare subsistence in the wilds of Canada.

In 1854 the death of her only son, at the age of twenty-one, overwhelmed her with grief, and she now devoted herself exclusively to works of philanthropy and charity. Neither she nor her husband ever put off their mourning, and Lady Georgiana adopted for the future a fixed mode of dress of the poorest description. Two years after her son's death she enrolled herself, at Rome, in the third order of St. Francis. Eventually she and her husband settled at Slindon, Sussex, but the house No. 27 Chapel Street (now Aldford Street), Park Lane, was the office and centre for all her charitable works. She was engaged in the work of bringing the sisters of St. Vincent of Paul to England, and she founded, in conjunction with Miss Taylor, a new religious community, which has taken the name of the ‘Poor Servants of the Mother of God Incarnate.’ In 1875 the Fullertons left Slindon, and thenceforward spent much of their time at Bournemouth, where they eventually settled in the house called Ayrfield, in which Lady Georgiana died on 19 Jan. 1885. Her remains were interred in the cemetery attached to the convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton. A detailed account of her labours as a philanthropist is given in the work entitled ‘Lady Georgiana Fullerton, sa Vie et ses Œuvres. Par Mme. Augustus Craven (née La Ferronays),’ Paris, 1888 (with portrait). Of this an English version by Henry James Coleridge, S.J., who describes his book as ‘not either a faithful translation or an original work,’ appeared at London in the same year.

Her principal works are: 1. ‘Ellen Middleton. A Tale,’ 3 vols., London, 1844, 1 vol. 1884; translated into French by M. Villaret, Paris, 1873. 2. ‘Grantley Manor. A Tale,’ 3 vols., London, 1847; London, 1865, 8vo. 3. ‘The Old Highlander, the Ruins of Strata Florida, and other Verses,’ London (privately printed), 1849. 4. ‘Lady Bird. A Tale,’ 3 vols., London, 1852, 8vo. 5. ‘The Life of St. Frances of Rome,’ London, 1855, 8vo. 6. ‘La Comtesse de Bonneval, histoire du temps de Louis XIV,’ Paris, 1857, 8vo. This novel, which appeared originally in the ‘Correspondant,’ was translated into English in 1858. 7. ‘Rose Leblanc,’ another novel in French, Paris, 1861, 8vo. 8. ‘Laurentia: a Tale of Japan,’ London, 1861, 16mo; 1872, 8vo. 9. ‘Too Strange not to be True,’ a novel, London, 1864, 8vo. 10. ‘Constance Sherwood. An Autobiography of the 16th Century,’ 3 vols., London, 1865, 8vo; London, 1875, 8vo. 11. ‘Life of the Marchesa G. Falletti di Baroto, translated from the Italian of Silvio Pellico,’ London, 1866, 8vo. 12. ‘A Stormy Life. A Novel,’ founded on incidents in the life of the Princess Margaret of Anjou, 3 vols., London, 1867, 8vo. 13. ‘Mrs. Gerald's Niece,’ a novel, 3 vols., London, 1869, 8vo; London, 1871, 8vo. 14. ‘The Gold Digger and other Verses,’ London, 1872, 8vo. 15. ‘Life of Louisa de Carvajal,’ London, 1873, 8vo. 16. ‘Seven Stories,’ London, 1873, 8vo. 17. ‘A Will and a Way,’ a novel, 3 vols., London, 1881. 18. ‘Life of Elizabeth Lady Falkland, 1585–1639,’ London, 1883, 8vo.

[Life by Mrs. Craven; Dublin Review, 3rd ser. xx. 311 (by Miss Emily Bowles); Men of the Time, 1884; Gillow's Bibl. Dict.; Tablet, 24 and 31 Jan. 1885; Daily News, 21 and 25 Jan. 1885; Daily Telegraph, 21 Jan. 1885; Weekly Register, 24 Jan. 1885; Burke's Landed Gentry.]

T. C.