Thomas Adolphus Trollope

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Thomas Adolphus Trollope

Thomas Adolphus Trollope (1810 – 1892) was an English writer of over sixty books. He lived most of his life in Italy creating a renowned villa in Florence with his first wife, Theodosia and later another centre of British society in Rome with his second wife, the novelist Frances Eleanor Trollope. His mother, brother and both wives were known as writers. He was awarded the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus by Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.


Trollope was born in Bloomsbury, London on 29 April 1810, the eldest son of Thomas Anthony & Frances Trollope (a younger brother was Anthony Trollope, the novelist). He was educated at Harrow School and Winchester College. He first started writing before he went to Oxford University after a trip to New York with his father. He taught briefly at Birmingham's King Edward's Grammar School, before he gave in to his mother's idea of forming a writing partnership. They travelled to Italy which created some of the material for the sixty volumes of travel writing, history and fiction that he wrote that decade. This was in addition to a large amount of periodical and journalistic work.[1]

Trollope married twice; his first wife was the writer Theodosia Trollope[2] who was staying with his mother, Fanny Trollope in Florence.[3] The newly married couple had one daughter, Bice. Their home was visited by travelling British intelligentsia, as well as by leading Italian nationalist figures. They lived at the Villino Trollope on the square that was then called the Piazza Maria Antonio and what is now called the Piazza dell'Indipendenza in Florence.[1] Their house was decorated with carved furniture, inlaid walls, majolica ceramics, marble floors and pillars, suits of armour and a 5,000 book library.[4]

Their new villa was bought in part with Theodosia's inheritance.[5] Their house was considered the centre of the ex-patriate society in Florence.[3] Theodosia was known for her poetry, her translations and her articles on household matters, although she also contributed letters to the Athenaeum advocating freedom for Italy.[6]

The Trollopes daughter played with Pen the son of Robert and Elizabeth Browning when they too became part of the Anglophone society in 1847. Comparisons of the two households showed the Browning household as more intense with the Trollopes more carefree.[5] All of her guests were in danger of appearing, in some disguised way, in his mother's novels.[5]

His second wife was the novelist Frances Eleanor Trollope (née Ternan) whom he married on 29 October 1866: they then lived at the Villa Ricorboli.[7] From 1873 the new couple again created a house known for its hospitality, but this time in Rome.[1] Trollope lived in Italy for most of his adult life, but retired to Devon, England in 1890. He died at Clifton, near Bristol, on 11 November 1892. His memoirs, What I Remember, were published in three volumes between 1887 and 1889.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Thomas A. Trollope: Victorian Man of Letters, John L. Mahoney, University of Rochester Library Bulletin, Volume XV · Winter 1960 · Number 2, retrieved 22 September 2014
  2. ^ Pamela Neville-Sington, ‘Trollope, Thomas Adolphus (1810–1892)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2010 accessed 20 September 2014
  3. ^ a b Hostettler, John; Braby, Richard (2010). Sir William Garrow his life, times, and fight for justice. Hook, Hampshire, U.K.: Waterside Press. pp. 249–253. ISBN 1906534829. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Villino Trollope?". Atlantic Monthly. December 1864. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Downing, Ben (2013). Queen Bee of Tuscany: The Redoubtable Janet Ross. p. 90. ISBN 1429942959. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  6. ^ John Pemble, ‘Trollope , Theodosia (1816–1865)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, October 2006 accessed 21 September 2014
  7. ^ Claire Tomalin, ‘Ternan , Ellen Lawless (1839–1914)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, January 2008 accessed 20 September 2014

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