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Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin

1 of 13 portraits of William Godwin

Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1794 - NPG 6880 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
pencil with black and red chalk, 1794
6 1/2 in. x 5 1/4 in. (164 mm x 134 mm)
Bequeathed by Kenneth John Garlick, 2009
Primary Collection
NPG 6880

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Sittersback to top

  • William Godwin (1756-1836), Philosopher and novelist. Sitter in 13 portraits.
  • Thomas Holcroft (1745-1809), Dramatist and writer. Sitter in 9 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 683 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This drawing shows the two writers as spectators at the trial of their fellow political radical, John Thelwall. This took place at the Old Bailey between 1 and 5 December 1794. Thelwall'' was the third of three famous 'Treason Trials' brought by the government against those who had openly sympathised with the French Revolution. According to Godwin's daughter, Mary Shelley, it shows them on the day Holcroft himself had just been acquitted, 'the bending, meditative figure of Godwin contrasting most happily with the upright, stern, and “knock-me-down” attitude and expression of his friend'.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Essay by Richard Holmes, Thomas Lawrence Portraits, 2010 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 21 October 2010 - 23 January 2011), p. 8