John Milton(1608-1674), Poet
Sitter associated with 72 portraits
Milton is regarded as one of the greatest English poets and a master of political pamphleteering. Forceful and idealistic, he served the Commonwealth as Latin Secretary but was arrested upon the restoration of Charles II. The tragic circumstances of his life – a difficult first marriage, the death of two wives, and his eventual blindness in 1652 – are reflected in the occasional melancholy of his work. Milton is best known for Paradise Lost (1667; 1674), an epic poem of Heaven, Hell, God, Satan, and angels: ‘Of things invisible to mortal sight’. Intense cultural interest in the nature of blindness meant that artists and writers continued to be fascinated by his experience of blindness in the Romantic and Victorian periods.
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below