7 of 23 portraits of William Wordsworth
by Benjamin Robert Haydon
oil on canvas, 1842
49 in. x 39 in. (1245 mm x 991 mm)
Bequeathed by John Fisher Wordsworth, 1920
Click on the links below to find out more:
Artistback to top
- Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), History painter and diarist. Artist associated with 34 portraits, Sitter in 10 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This portrait depicts Wordsworth aged seventy-two. It was painted to commemorate a sonnet that he had composed on climbing the peak of Helvellyn, after seeing Haydon's picture of Wellington musing on the Battlefield of Waterloo. Wordsworth was pleased with Haydon's heroic image, describing it as 'a likeness of me, not a mere matter-of-fact portrait, but one of a poetical character.'
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 33
- Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 85
- Holmes, Richard, The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2013, p. 57
- Holmes, Richard, Insights: The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2005, p. 42
- Holmes, Richard; Crane, David; Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p. 27
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 184
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 125
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 125
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 678
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 129
- Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 575
- Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantic Icons, 1999, p. 59
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1842back to top
Current affairsEdwin Chadwick publishes his damning report, Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Poor, which details the shocking living conditions of the urban poor and prompts government to take a new interest in public health issues.
A year-long depression and the rejection of the Chartist petition leads to riots, with workers striking in the Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and parts of Scotland.
Art and scienceMudie's Lending Library opens, becoming one of the largest circulating libraries in the period. Made popular by the otherwise high cost of books, it exerts a great influence over literature; both by maintaining the more costly 'three decker' novel structure, and acting as moral censor.
Richard Owen, the English biologist, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist, coins the term 'dinosaur', combining the Greek words for 'formidable' and 'reptile'.
InternationalTreaty of Nanjing, which allows China to trade with Britain and lends Hong Kong to the British crown for 150 years. In Afghanistan, the Anglo-Afghan war ends as the British abandon Kabul, withdrawing to India and losing most of their garrison force in the operation with only one member, Dr William Brydon, surviving.
See this portrait
On display in Room 18 at the National Portrait Gallery