Obituary: Margaret Brown

FURTHER to your obituary of Margaret Brown (by Leigh Hatts, 12 December), may I add a few words? writes William Boyd. I first met Margaret in 1976 on a visit to Italy when I was working on a D Phil thesis on Shelley. She had retired to live in Lerici and had just established the Shelley Museum at Casa Magni and, as evidence of her energy, was working part-time for a villa rentals agency to help subsidise it.

All her efforts on behalf of Shelley and the museums she founded were genuine labours of love, and she gave no thought to the time or money she expended. Her huge and candid enthusiasm for life and literature was stimulating and affecting. From time to time she would come up to London from Bournemouth and host a lunch at the Commonwealth Society where, in the company of her old friends Robin Whitworth and Bob Castle, she would invite writers she knew and others she wanted to meet. She was an extraordinary, dynamic lady without a trace of pretension.