Elizabeth Barrett Browning
1 portrait on display in Room 24 at the National Portrait Gallery
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
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), Poet; wife of Robert Browning. Sitter in 7 portraits.
This portraitback to top
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.
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
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 145
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1858back to top
Current affairsAfter Palmerstone's government collapses, the Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister for second time, again heading a minority government. The Property qualification for MPs is abolished; one of the demands made by the Chartists, this allowed men who did not own property to stand as parliamentary candidates. Lionel Nathan Rothschild becomes the first Jew to sit in Britain's House of Commons, taking his oath on the Old Testament.
Art and scienceThe pianist Charles Hallé founds a symphony orchestra in Manchester, the Halle; now Britain's oldest professional orchestra. The Hallé symphony rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, under the tenure of conductor John Barbirolli, during which time they made many recordings, including Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 8.
InternationalThe British Crown assumes control of India from the East India Company.The Treaty of Tientsin, ending the Second Opium War, gives European powers new rights to intervene in Chinese affairsThe Fenian Brotherhood is founded by John O'Mahony, an Irish emigrant to the United States, to support Irish republican ambitions.
See this portrait
On display in Room 24 at the National Portrait Gallery