From March 1812 until his death Shelley was a practising vegetarian. He wrote on the immorality and damaging effects of meat-eating in a long note to Queen Mab which was later published separately as a pamphlet entitled A Vindication of the Natural Diet (1813). A number of people commented on Shelley’s frugal diet. Some admired it; others, like Byron, considered it extreme and even dangerous. He used this plate for bread and raisins while living in Marlow in 1817-18. Before leaving Marlow he gave the plate, filled with raisins and almonds, to Polly Rose, a local child he and Mary had taken in as a subject for their educational theories.
Percy Bysshe Shelley; (gift, Feb 1818) Miss Polly Rose; (gift, ‘almost half a century’ from 1818) Sir Percy and Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1889) Lady Shelley; (bequest, 1899) John C.E. Shelley (later Sir John Shelley-Rolls); (bequest, 1961) Bodleian.