Mary Shelley(1797-1851), Novelist
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Sitter associated with 3 portraits
The novelist Mary Shelley was deeply influenced by the writings of her parents Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin. When only sixteen, she eloped to the Continent with Percy Bysshe Shelley and married him two years later. In 1816, when they were neighbours of Byron, on the shores of Lake Geneva, Mary began Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus (1818) the tale of an idealistic student who discovers the secret of imparting life to inanimate matter. Contrasting scientific discovery with moral responsibility, Frankenstein, for the first time, seriously questioned the human impact of scientific research.
More on Mary Shelley: The Romantic Poets and their Circle book in our Shops
Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.