In the spring of 1822, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his second wife, Mary Woolstonecroft, author of Frankenstein, along with her half-sister, Claire, rented a villa on the Tuscan coast. They were joined there by Jane and Edward Williams and later the Cornish adventurer Edward Trelawny.
The relationship between Mary and her husband had soured after two of their three children died young. Both Mary and Claire shared the poet’s affections. This caused constant friction. Claire had given birth to illegitimate daughters by both Shelley and Lord Byron. Living together in the same house was not easy.
Trelawny persuaded a friend to construct a yacht for Shelley. While sailing one day with Edward Williams, their boat was sunk by an Italian fishing vessel during a sudden squall and both men drowned. The remains of Shelley’s body were cremated on the beach in the presence of Byron and Trelawny.