William Wordsworth

1 portrait

William Wordsworth, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1815 - NPG 2020 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William Wordsworth

by Benjamin Robert Haydon
plaster cast of lifemask, 1815
9 1/2 in. (241 mm) high
Given by Sir George Buckston Browne, 1924
Primary Collection
NPG 2020


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  • Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), History painter and diarist. Artist associated with 34 portraits, Sitter in 10 portraits.

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A cast of the mask taken for Haydon on 12 June 1815, as he described in his diary: 'I had a cast made yesterday of Wordsworth's face. He bore it like a philosopher. Scott (John Scott, editor of The Champion) was to meet him at Breakfast. Just as he came in the Plaister was covered over. Wordsworth was sitting in the other room in my dressing gown, with his hands folded, sedate, steady, & solemn. I stepped out to Scott & told him as a curiosity to take a peep, that he might say the first sight he ever had of so great a poet was such a singular one as this. I opened the door slowly, & there he sat innocent & unconscious of our plot against his dignity, unable to see or to speak, with all the mysterious silence of a spirit. When he was relieved he came into breakfast with his usual cheerfulness and delighted & awed us by his illustrations & bursts of inspiration.'

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