|The Blue Bower (1865) D G Rossetti|
|Fanny Cornforth (1874) D G Rossetti|
|West Sussex Hospital - Graylingwell Asylum|
She passed the summer peacefully, causing very little trouble, but suffered a fall which broke her arm in September 1907. That began a downturn in her mental and physical health. The fall and subsequent medical assistance distressed her and made her violent. She refused treatment, ripping the bandages from her injured arm and causing hemorrhage and severe bruising. The wrist mended, but remained deformed. Fanny's general health deteriorated and she became confused. She is listed in 1908 as having senile dementia and the nurses that were required to care for her failing health received spiteful treatment from their patient.
|Fair Rosamund D G Rossetti|
In September 1908, Fanny contracted bronchitis severely. It lingered, rendering her weak, both mentally and physically but it was noted that even then she remained obstinate, her bloody-minded spirit surviving despite the trials she suffered. By February 1909 she was confined to her bed, needing constant nursing. Pneumonia developed in her battered lungs and she died on February 24th 1909. She was buried in the grounds of Graylingwell Asylum. She was 74 years old.
There is a final, heartbreaking piece of this story I am not able to bring you today. Attached to her record from Graylingwell Asylum was a photograph of Fanny Cornforth aged 71 years old. She was wearing a black dress with a lace collar, slightly askew and she looks both terrified and belligerent. In many ways it is better that we remember her in her glory than like that as I cried like a baby when I saw it. I hope to be able to reproduce it in the near future, but much like the image of Jane Morris in old age, it is a bitter sweet photograph. Better perhaps to remember her in happier times, in the garden of Tudor House.
|Fanny Cornforth / Sarah Hughes (1863)|