Lizzie Tuckett 150th Anniversary

Lizzie Tuckett

The 31st of May this year marks 150th anniversary of the death of Lizzie Tuckett. Born in The Old House Frenchay in 1837, Elizabeth Fox Tuckett was the eldest surviving daughter of Francis and Mariana Tuckett. Lizzie was educated at the Quaker Girls’ School in Cedar Hall, and became an artist, and the author of many books.

She travelled in the Alps with her brother Frank Tuckett, who was a prominent Alpinist, and she wrote a number of books about Alpine exploration. Published by Longmans, Green & Co. of London, her books include, “How We Spent the Summer”, “Beaten Tracks”, and “Pictures in Tyrol”.

She also wrote two children’s books, “Our Children’s Story”, and “The Children’s Journey and Other Stories”. Her books were profusely illustrated with her drawings.

Through visits to F. D. Maurice (who featured in the March Community News) in London, Lizzie got to know members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and became a pupil of William Holman Hunt. In 1869 he produced a sketch of her, which is on display in Frenchay Village Museum. John Ruskin wrote many favourable reviews of her books, and there are a number of surviving letters from him addressed to her.

Her last book, “Zigzagging Amongst Dolomites”, was published in 1871, and became very influential. Novelist Amelia Edwards, who lived in Westbury-on-Trym, was moved by reading the book to retrace Lizzie’s journey. Amelia published her own version of the journey in 1873, and had caught the travel bug. She next went to Egypt for an extended journey up the Nile, which gave her an interest in Egyptian history.

She published her book “A Thousand Miles up the Nile” in 1876, and in 1882 she was co-founder of the Egyptian Exploration Society. They organised all the early excavations in the Valley of the Kings, which led directly to the world-wide interest in ancient Egypt.

“Zigzagging Amongst Dolomites” is still in print in Italy, and in 2012 it became the core of an European Union education project in the Lifelong Learning Programme. The summary of the project is “Getting to know the landscape of the Dolomites by means of a travel journal: “Zigzagging Amongst Dolomites” by Elizabeth Tuckett. The project involves students studying English, History, Geography, Geology, Science and Literature, as well as comparing the landscape as it used to be and it is today.

In March 1871 Lizzie Tuckett was 34 when she married John Fowler in Frenchay Quaker Meeting House. He was a former climbing companion of her brother Frank, and the MP for Cambridge. He was a widower with six children, so Lizzie had a ready-made family when she moved into their London home. In 1872 she was expecting her first child, but the pregnancy ended in tragedy with the death of both mother and child on 31st May 1872. Her remains were brought back to Frenchay, and buried in the Frenchay Quaker Burial Ground on 5th June 1872. Copies of the book Lizzie Tuckett’s Letters from the Alps are available in the Museum, price £3.