20 of 23 portraits of William Wordsworth
by Edward McInnes, published by Sir Francis Graham Moon, 1st Bt, after Margaret Gillies
mezzotint, published 6 August 1841
13 7/8 in. x 10 1/8 in. (352 mm x 258 mm) plate size; 20 in. x 14 3/4 in. (509 mm x 376 mm) paper size
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Artistsback to top
- Margaret Gillies (1803-1887), Painter. Artist associated with 9 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.
- Edward McInnes (1812-1859), Mezzotint engraver. Artist associated with 24 portraits.
- Sir Francis Graham Moon, 1st Bt (1796-1871), Printseller and publisher. Artist associated with 59 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Wordsworth experienced recurring episodes of the infectious disease trachoma, which causes painful inflammation of the eyelids and can lead to temporary or long-term blindness, from 1805 until his death. Described by his daughter Dora as a 'blind man' during one instance, he sought repeated medical advice to manage symptoms, which often confined him to darkened rooms for days. He was also advised that the writing of poetry could exacerbate the condition. Wordsworth was recovering from a recent inflammation when the artist Margaret Gillies painted the portrait from which this print is taken in 1839.
Related worksback to top
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Facing Blindness: Visual Impairment in the Nineteenth Century (From 18 November 2013)
Events of 1841back to top
Current affairsSir Robert Peel's second term as Prime Minister. Peel replaces the Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne after a Conservative general election victory. The English comic periodical Punch is first published, under the auspices of engraver Ebenezer Landells and writer Henry Mayhew, and quickly establishes itself as a radical commentary on the arts, politics and current affairs, notable for its heavily satirised cartoons.
Art and scienceThomas Carlyle publishes his set of lectures On Heroes and Hero Worship, in which he attempts to connect past heroic figures to significant figures form the present.
William Henry Fox Talbot invents the calotype process, in which photographs were developed from negatives. This allowed for multiple copies of images to be made, and was the basis of modern, pre-digital, photographic processing.