Queer Places:
The Langham, 1C Portland Pl, Marylebone, London W1B 1JA, UK
11 Ravenscourt Square, London W6, Regno Unito
Via Giuseppe Zanardelli, 70, 55049 Viareggio LU
Hotel de Russie, Via di Serraglia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU
Cimitero Inglese di Bagni di Lucca, Via Letizia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia
Ouida Memorial, Bury St Edmunds, Bury Saint Edmunds IP33 2DF, UK

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Ouida_%28Maria_Louise_Ram%C3%A9%29.jpgOuida (1 January 1839[1] – 25 January 1908) was the pseudonym of the English novelist Maria Louise Ramé (although she preferred to be known as Marie Louise de la Ramée).

Maria Louise Ramé was born at Bury St Edmunds, England.[2] Her mother, Susan Sutton, was a wine merchant's daughter;[3] her father was from France.[2][4] She derived her pen name from her own childish pronunciation of her given name "Louise".[5] Her opinion of her birthplace fluctuated; she wrote:— "That clean, quiet antiquated town, that always puts me in the mind of an old maid dressed for a party; that lowest and dreariest of Boroughs, where the streets are as full of grass as an acre of pasture land. Why, the inhabitants are driven to ringing their own doorbells lest they rust from lack of use."[6]

She moved into the Langham Hotel, London[a] in 1867. There, according to the hotel promotional materials, she wrote in bed, by candlelight, with the curtains drawn to keep out daylight and surrounded by purple flowers.[7] She ran up huge hotel and florists bills of up to 200 pounds per week and commanded soirees that included soldiers, politicians, literary lights (including Oscar Wilde, Algernon Swinburne, Robert Browning and Wilkie Collins), and artists (including John Millais).[5] Many of her stories and characters were based upon people she invited to her salons at The Langham.[7] Ouida was described by William Allingham in his diary of 1872 as of short stature, with a "sinister, clever face" and with a "voice like a carving knife."[8]

For many years Ouida lived in London, but about 1871 she moved to Italy. In 1874, she settled permanently with her mother in Florence, and there long pursued her work as a novelist. At first she rented an 'apartment' at the Palazzo Vagnonville. Later she removed to the Villa Farinola at Scandicci, south of Bellosguardo, three miles from Florence, where she lived in great style, entertained largely, collected objets d'art, dressed expensively but not tastefully, drove good horses, and kept many dogs, to which she was deeply attached. She lived in Bagni di Lucca for a period, where there is a commemorative plaque on the outside wall. She declared that she never received from her publishers more than £1600. for any one novel, but that she found America 'a mine of wealth.' In 'The Massarenes' (1897) she gave a lurid picture of the parvenu millionaire in smart London society. This book was greatly prized by Ouida, and was very successful in terms of sales. Thenceforth she chiefly wrote for the leading magazines essays on social questions or literary criticisms, which were not remunerative.[8] As before, she used her locations as inspiration for the setting and characters in her novels. The British and American colony in Florence was satirised in her novel, Friendship (1878).[9] Ouida considered herself a serious artist. She was inspired by Byron in particular, and was interested in other artists of all kinds. Sympathetic descriptions of tragic painters and singers occurred in her later novels. Her work often combines romanticism with social criticism. In her novel, Puck, a talking dog narrates his views on society. Views and Opinions includes essays in her own voice on a variety of social topics. She was an animal lover and rescuer, and at times owned as many as thirty dogs.

Although successful, she did not manage her money well. A civil list pension of £150 a year was offered to her by the prime minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, on the application of Alfred Austin, George Wyndham, and Walburga, Lady Paget, which she reluctantly accepted after request by her friend, Lady Howard of Glossop, on 16 July 1906.[9]

Hotel de Russie, Via di Serraglia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU

external image III_Cimitero%20Inglese,%20Bagni%20di%20Lucca,%20Italia_2%20(2).JPG
Cimitero Inglese di Bagni di Lucca, Via Letizia, 55022 Bagni di Lucca LU, Italia

She continued to live in Italy until her death on 25 January 1908, at 70 Via Zanardelli, Viareggio, of pneumonia.[5] She is buried in the English Cemetery in Bagni di Lucca, Italy.

Soon after her death, her friends organized a public subscription in Bury St Edmunds, where they had a fountain for horses and dogs installed in her name.[14] Its inscription was composed by Lord Curzon:

Her friends have erected this fountain in the place of her birth. Here may God's creatures whom she loved assuage her tender soul as they drink.

Fellow author "Rita" Humphreys (Eliza Margaret Jane Humphreys, 1850-1938) wrote a eulogy to Ouida and sent it to the press soon after her death. It was read at the unveiling of Ouida’s memorial. During Rita's youth, Ouida had been popular but the girl was forbidden to read her. She made up for it later by purchasing every book written by Ouida and keeping them in her library for the rest of her life.[15]

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