Algernon Charles Swinburne

1 portrait on display in Room 28 at the National Portrait Gallery

Algernon Charles Swinburne, by Carlo Pellegrini, published in Vanity Fair 21 November 1874 - NPG 2216 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Algernon Charles Swinburne

by Carlo Pellegrini
watercolour, published in Vanity Fair 21 November 1874
12 in. x 7 in. (305 mm x 178 mm)
Purchased, 1928
Primary Collection
NPG 2216


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  • Carlo Pellegrini (1839-1889), 'Ape'; caricaturist. Artist associated with 351 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

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Swinburne's portrait featured in the 21 November 1874 Vanity Fair magazine's 'Men of The Day', with the accompanying article praising his poetic talent: 'For imagination, for variety and force of fleshy images, and for agility and ingenuity in the ordering of the bits of coloured glass of the poetic kaleidoscope.' It described his personality as 'nervous, excitable, explosive, rebellious, graphic, and ready in revolt against all revealed religions and moralities.' Swinburne's biographer Edmund Gosse believed this watercolour to be 'the best surviving record of Swinburne's general aspect and attitude.'

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