Elizabeth Barrett Browning

1 portrait on display in Room 24 at the National Portrait Gallery

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, by Michele Gordigiani, 1858 - NPG 1899 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

by Michele Gordigiani
oil on canvas, 1858
29 in. x 23 in. (737 mm x 584 mm)
Given by Florence Barclay, 1921
Primary Collection
NPG 1899


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Mrs Browning, like her husband, was a poet and her portrait was painted as a companion piece to that of her husband. According to a label on the back of the frame, it was done 'expressly for Sophia May Eckley and pronounced by Robert Browning to be the best Portrait ever taken of the Poetess' ; but at the time, Robert Browning was not convinced that it was a good likeness and wrote to Mrs Eckley that 'The portrait is not perfect certainly; the nose seems over long and there are some other errors in the face; also, the whole figure gives the idea of a larger woman than Ba'. It shows Elizabeth Barrett Browning looking dark-haired and intense and it is perhaps not surprising to learn that Mrs Eckley had introduced her at this time to spiritualism.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 1898: Robert Browning (companion portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Audio Guide
  • Eger, Elizabeth; Peltz, Lucy, Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings, 2008 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 March to 15 June 2008), p. 140
  • Funnell, Peter (introduction); Marsh, Jan, A Guide to Victorian and Edwardian Portraits, 2011, p. 38
  • Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 67
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 124
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 131
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 131
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 83