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Algernon Charles Swinburne

3 of 10 portraits on display in Room 26 at the National Portrait Gallery

Algernon Charles Swinburne, by George Frederic Watts, 1867 - NPG 1542 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Algernon Charles Swinburne

by George Frederic Watts
oil on canvas, 1867
25 1/2 in. x 20 1/2 in. (648 mm x 521 mm)
Given by wish of George Frederic Watts, 1909
Primary Collection
NPG 1542

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  • George Frederic Watts (1817-1904), Painter and sculptor. Artist associated with 85 portraits, Sitter in 43 portraits.

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Swinburne met Dante Gabriel Rossetti at Oxford, and became an intimate member of his circle. At first his unconventional behaviour and the erotic nature of much of his poetry aroused controversy, but his lyrical gifts gradually won him recognition as a major poet, and he exerted considerable influence on the literary and aesthetic tastes of his age. Swinburne told his friend George Powell on 22 May, 1867, that he was 'in the honourable agonies of portrait sitting - to Watts . . . he won't let me crop my hair, whose curls the British public (unlike Titian's) reviles aloud in the streets'.

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