Queer Places:
Via di Porta Pinciana, 8, 00187 Roma RM
West Norwood Cemetery and Crematorium, Norwood Road, West Norwood, London Borough of Lambeth, Greater London, SE27 9JU England

Sophia Raincock (born 1811), a painter, lived in Rome from 1847 to 1873, with a studio at Porta Pinciana, 8.

Sophia Raincock was born in Surrey, England, in 1811 to William Raincock (1767-1832) and Ann Dorrington Hewitt (1767-1842).

Raincock, known as Signora Sophia, was the friend of Margaret Fuller and Marianne North. She had forty years’ store of Roman experiences; her contempt for all conventions, save her own; her lavish generosity and niggard squabbles over halfpence; her profound conviction that the new Rome, with its King and Court and Cabinet, were mushroom rubbish— was herself a living embodiment of the past. She seemed to harmonize in her own person all the extraordinary discrepancies of the place. Attired in whatever roba di studio she had happened to find ready to her hand, she would go forth to the most unlikely places in a guise which besought ridicule, and, by the surpassing dignity of her beautiful manners, command the most abject respect. “Est-elle folle, ou tres grande dame?” once whispered, behind her back, an uneasy Paris shop-assistant to the old maid who had accompanied Signora Sophia to the “Bon Marche.”

The stone over the grave of Sophia Raincock, whose chief distinction was being No. 1 in the West Norwood Cemetery burial register, has now been smashed to pieces.


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