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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), Novelist; wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Sitter associated with 3 portraits
The novelist Mary Shelley was deeply influenced by the writings of her parents Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. When only sixteen, she eloped to the Continent with Percy Bysshe Shelley and married him two years later. In 1816, when they were neighbours of Byron, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Mary began Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus (1818) the tale of an idealistic student who discovers the secret of imparting life to inanimate matter. Contrasting scientific discovery with moral responsibility, Frankenstein, for the first time, seriously questioned the human impact of scientific research.

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

by Richard Rothwell
oil on canvas, exhibited 1840
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 1235


Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley; Percy Bysshe Shelley

by George J. Stodart, after a monument by Henry Weekes
stipple engraving, (1853)
NPG D5956