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William Godwin (1756-1836), Philosopher and novelist

Sitter in 13 portraits
Philosopher and novelist, Godwin was arguably the most famous English writer of the revolutionary period and the leading radical spokesman. In the Enquiry concerning Political Justice (1793) he detailed his optimistic belief that human reason was a means to dispense with authoritarian laws and institutions. Despite having argued against the need for marriage, he married the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft in 1797 when she was pregnant with their daughter, the future Mary Shelley. Godwin had a powerful influence on the Romantic poets, especially Wordsworth and Shelley.

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Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
pencil with black and red chalk, 1794
NPG 6880


William Godwin

by James Northcote
oil on canvas, 1802
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 1236


William Godwin

by Henry William Pickersgill
oil on canvas, feigned oval, 1830
On display at Dove Cottage & Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere
NPG 411


William Godwin

by William Brockedon
pencil and white and red chalk, 1832
NPG 2515(29)


William Godwin

by George Dawe, after James Northcote
mezzotint, (1802)
NPG D8387


William Godwin

by and published by George Dawe, after James Northcote
mezzotint, published 4 October 1802 (1802)
NPG D8414


William Godwin

by Miss Roberts, after Thomas Kearsley
stipple engraving, published 1821
NPG D2789


William Godwin

by George Dawe, published by Francis Graves & Co, and published by James Macrone, after James Northcote
mezzotint, published 1 June 1836 (1802)
NPG D8415


William Godwin

by George Dawe, after James Northcote
mezzotint, (1802)
NPG D20131


William Godwin

by William Ridley, published by Vernor & Hood, after Sir Thomas Lawrence
stipple engraving, published 31 January 1805
NPG D15558


William Godwin

by Daniel Maclise, published by James Fraser
lithograph, published 1873
NPG D15559