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John Clare (1793-1864), Poet

Sitter associated with 4 portraits
Promoted as 'the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet', Clare spent much of his life as a poor agricultural labourer before mental illness condemned him to an asylum in 1837. His intensely detailed poetry reflects his love of his native countryside. It also movingly describes the hardship suffered by the rural poor living in a landscape being destroyed by enclosure. Clare enjoyed a brief London vogue with his Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820) and The Village Minstrel (1821). In 1827, he published The Shepherd's Calendar a more political verse in which man shapes the landscape and is defined by it.

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1469

John Clare

by William Hilton
oil on canvas, 1820
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 1469

P1101

John Clare

by W.W. Law
albumen print, 1862
NPG P1101

D5221

John Clare

by Edward Scriven, after William Hilton
stipple engraving, published 1821
NPG D5221