Eleanor Anne Franklin (Porden)

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Eleanor Anne Franklin (Pordon)

Also Known As: "Porden", "Pordon"
Birthdate: (29)
Death: Died
Place of Burial: Newport, Gwent, UK
Immediate Family:

Daughter of William Pordon and Mary Porden
Wife of Rear-Admiral Sir John Franklin KCH FRGS RN
Mother of Eleanor Isabella Gell (Franklin)

Managed by: Timothy Michael Gell
Last Updated:

About Eleanor Anne Franklin (Porden)

Wikipedia Biographical Summary

"Eleanor Anne Porden (14 July 1795 - 22 February 1825) was a British Romantic poet and the first wife of the explorer John Franklin.

She was born in London, the younger surviving daughter of the architect William Porden and his wife Mary Plowman. (Another sister and brother had died in infancy.) Her mother was an invalid, and after her older sister's marriage, she nursed her from 1809 until her death in 1819.

An intelligent young woman, educated privately at home, and interested in the arts and sciences, Porden attracted attention for her poetry from an early age. Her first major work, the allegorical The Veils; or the Triumph of Constancy, was published in 1815, when she was just twenty - although she had written it at the age of sixteen. She prefaced it with an introduction which gives a clear indication of her interests and education:

The author, who considers herself a pupil of the Royal Institution, being at that time attending the Lectures given in Albemarle-Street, on Chemistry, Geology, Natural History, and Botany, by Sir Humphry Davy, Mr. Brand, Dr. Roger (sic, for Roget), Sir James Edward Smith, and other eminent men, she was induced to combine these subjects with her story; and though her knowledge of them was in a great measure orally acquired, and therefore cannot pretend to be extensive or profound, yet, as it was derived from the best teachers, she hopes it will seldom be found incorrect.

In 1818, she met her future husband, John Franklin, on board his ship, HMS Trent, before his departure on David Buchan's British Naval North Polar Expedition. This inspired a short poem, The Arctic Expeditions.

During Franklin's absence, she researched and wrote a historical epic poem, Cœur de Lion, or The Third Crusade. A poem, in sixteen books. This was published in two volumes in 1822, with a dedication to the king, George IV. Based on historical research, and also on mediæval romances, it recounts the adventures of Richard I of England on the Third Crusade. Other prominent characters include Guy of Lusignan, Isabella of Jerusalem (portrayed as a femme fatale), and Conrad of Montferrat, whom she depicts as a flawed, tragic Byronic hero, in contrast with the unequivocally hostile treatment by her contemporary Walter Scott in The Talisman. She also depicts Richard's former fiancée, Alasia of France, fighting for the Saracens as the female knight Zorayda, and being mortally wounded by her own son (fathered by Henry II). Indeed, despite such fanciful episodes, strongly influenced by Torquato Tasso, her poem has more historical content than Scott's better-known novel. Her sources included the works of Joseph François Michaud and Charles Mills.

Also in 1822, her father died, and Franklin returned from the Arctic. She married him on 19 August 1823. She made her acceptance of his proposal conditional on his acceptance of her continuing her career as a poet after their marriage. She wrote to him six months before the wedding:

it was the pleasure of Heaven to bestow those talents on me, and it was my father's pride to cultivate them to the utmost of his power. I should therefore be guilty of a double dereliction of duty in abandoning their exercise.

She gave birth to their daughter, Eleanor Isabella, on 3 June 1824. Childbirth accelerated the advance of the tuberculosis from which she suffered, and she died on 22 February 1825, aged twenty-nine. She had encouraged her husband not let his concerns for her health impede his career, and he had set off on the second Arctic Land expedition shortly before her death. On his return, he married her friend Jane Griffin."

SOURCE:Wikipedia contributors, 'Eleanor Anne Porden', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 March 2013, 06:16 UTC, <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Eleanor_Anne_Porden&oldid=544567294> [accessed 10 May 2013]


  • Daughter of the architect William Porden, was known in her lifetime as a poet and writer. She is sometimes regarded as a ‘protofeminist’ because of her dedication to an independent literary life. ‘The Veils or the Triumph of Constancy’, published in ‘six books’ in 1815, is one example of her long poems. For ten years she collected poems, essays, letters and other material in unpublished magazines called ‘The Attic Chest’ Her early travel diaries survive at the Derbyshire Records Office. Eleanor died from tuberculosis less than two years after her marriage to John Franklin.

London St James Chronicle and General Evening Post 22 Feb 1825

M r s. E l e a n o r F r a n k l i n .—W e feel regret in announcing the death of this lady, the wife of Captain John Franklin, 11. N . one of those gallant officers who have distinguished themselves in the N orthern Expeditions so honourable to the enterprising spirit of this country. M rs. F ranklin has not less distinguished herself in the province of literature, by works of high poetical and scientific m erit. She was one of the daugh­ ters of the late M r. Porden, the architect. H e r poem, entitled The V eils,” has been justly admired for genius, learning, and the beautiful union of poetry with chymical and geologic know­ ledge by which it is characterised, as well as by other works o f a similar description, and many effusions o f wit and hum our. She was in the prime o f life, and it was impossible for her to have m et with a partner m ore suitable to her habits and disposition than Captain Franklin. The separation which took place on the 14th inst. when the Captain left town on the N orthern Expedition, was of so affecting a nature as to threaten the me­ lancholy event which has unfortunately occurred. M rs. Franklin died last night at her house in D evonshire-street, Portland-place, deeply lam ented by her num erous friends.— Evening Paper

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Eleanor Anne Franklin (Porden)'s Timeline

July 14, 1795
June 3, 1824
Age 28
London, UK
February 22, 1825
Age 29
Newport, Gwent, UK