Relics & Other Objects

Realia-Basket & Tea Set

Victorian Traveling Tea Set
Location: Treasure Room

Jean Sherwood, an American art critic, shared tea unknowingly with Robert Browning on a train in Italy in 1889. This wicker basket and its accompanying tea set were used on that occasion. Later, Mrs. Sherwood came to Waco for Dr. A. J. Armstrong's lyceum and presented the tea basket to the Browning Collection.

BR-Inkstand, Pencil, Hair

Dresden Inkstand, Lead Pencil, & Lock of Hair
Location: Research Hall

The elaborately decorated Dresden china inkstand was used by Elizabeth Barrett Browning after the marriage in their Florentine home, Casa Guidi.

The gold-chased pencil was given to Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her youth by her father and is decorated with a Rose of France stone at the end; 4 inches long.

A replica of a locket worn by Elizabeth Barrett Browning contains a wisp of Browning's hair.

BR-Lace, Mantilla, & Mittens

Elizabeth's Lace Pieces
Location: Treasure Room

These fingerless mitts would have been appropriate for use in chapel.

Black lace floral pattern with two scalloped ties, designed to be pinned rather than tied to the hair.

Black lace with repeated solid pattern floral design on mesh; approximately 7 feet long.

Realia-RB Oil Lamp

Realia-RB Inkwell

Robert Browning's Oil Lamp & Inkwell
Location: Entrance Foyer

The inkwell can be seen on Browning's desk in Felix Moscheles' painting, Robert Browning's Study. It is on loan from Mills College, California.

The oil lamp, believed to be of Venetian or Turkish design, was promised to Margaret Keep, a close friend of Browning's, upon his death. Browning had developed a close friendship with Miss Keep during the last two years of his life. His daughter-in-law Fannie Coddington Browning sent the lamp to Miss Keep following Browning's death in 1889. The lamp, which has a long handle for carrying, has four extensions for wicks and a set of small tools hanging conveniently from chains for trimming, cleaning, pulling, and snuffing. The Armstrong Browning Library later purchased the lamp from Dorothy Grant.

Realia-EBB Fan

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Fan
Location: EBB Salon

Folding fan, dark green muslin with gold border, on 15 wooden braces, 15 in. x 8 in. when opened; inscribed in unidentified hand: "E.B.B. 1859. Rome." It can be seen lying on a chair in George Mignaty's painting, Salon at Casa Guidi, which was commissioned by Browning shortly after his wife's death in 1861.

Realia-Laurel Leaves

Laurel Leaves from Robert Browning's Funeral
Location: Research Hall

Gift of Lady Teresa Berwick, Attingham Park, Shrewsbury, England, who found them among the papers of her mother, Mrs. Zina Hulton. She had received the leaves from Mrs. Katharine deKay Bronson, a close friend of Browning from 1880 to 1889. Mrs. Bronson had saved them from the wreath on RB's casket.

Realia-Letter Box

Letter Box
Location: Research Hall

A small wooden letter box, covered with an embroidered fabric and lined inside with green silk. Robert Browning's initials are embroidered a total of 24 times on the top and sides; it is believed to have been used as a letter box at Casa Guidi.

Realia-Letter Tray

Letter Tray
Location: EBB Salon

This mahogany letter tray on Chippendale bracket feet, with flared sides, belonged to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Realia-Picture Case

Victorian Picture Case
Location: Research Hall

Pine frame, covered with leather, velvet, and dark brown paper, holds a small print of the Fox-Bridell portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1858). It was in Elizabeth's possession at Casa Guidi and was a gift from her to Pen. He presented it to Ersilia Nardini, a member of his household staff. The case was given to the Library by Ruth Borchardt, Curator of Casa Guidi in 1968.

Realia-Single Rose

A Single Rose Sent in Robert's Love Letter to Elizabeth
Location: Treasure Room

A single rose, grown in Browning's mother's garden at Hatcham, South London, was sent in a love letter from Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett:

...this hot day draws out our very first yellow rose. 14 June 1845.

Realia-Snuff Box

Robert's Snuff Box
Location: Research Hall

Robert Browning's snuff box of Georgian silver. A crescent-shaped, engine-turned box made in Birmingham in 1797 with "R.B." monogramed on the lid. It was reputedly given by Browning's daughter-in-law, Fannie Coddington Browning, to John Ruskin and was still in his possession at his death in 1900.

Realia-Door Knocker

Location: Treasure Room

A fifteenth-century doorknocker, in the form of a large wrought-iron ring and spike, was used at Palazzo Dario, Venice, where Pen Browning resided briefly before moving to Palazzo Rezzonico.

Realia-Edelweiss Blossoms

Edelweiss Blossoms
Location: Treasure Room

A note by A.J. Armstrong reads--

Edelweiss picked by Robert Browning at St. Moritz Switzerland in 1884, and sent by him to Mrs. Katharine deKay Bronson. Given to Dr. A. J. Armstrong in 1927 by her daughter Princess Editha Rucellai in Florence.