Search the Collection

Francis Thompson (1859-1907), Poet

Sitter in 4 portraits
Thompson began keeping notebooks of poetry and prose while at school. His mother died when he was twenty, and it is thought that he became addicted to opium that was prescribed for her. In 1884 he sent some of his poems to the literary journal Merry England. The poems were mislaid before they were published; in the interval Thompson had moved to London and ended up living on the streets. Wilfrid Meynell, the editor of Merry England, found and brought him into his own home, and published the first volume of his poems. Thompson subsequently lived as an invalid; a lifetime of extreme poverty, ill health, and opium addiction unbalanced him, even though he found success in his last years.

List Thumbnail


Francis Thompson

by Everard Meynell
plaster cast of life-mask
NPG 5271


Francis Thompson

by Elliott & Fry
bromide print, 1880s
NPG x91451


Francis Thompson

by Elliott & Fry
whole-plate negative, 1880s
NPG x82103


Francis Thompson

by Unknown photographer
NPG x26863