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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851), Novelist

Mary Shelley is believed to have been painted on at least two occasions by Amelia Curran, probably both in Rome where she had also been painted by Signor Delicati. Miss Curran was an amateur artist who painted other members of the party including Shelley himself (NPG 1234); her portrait of Mary was lent to Trelawny for safe keeping but never apparently returned despite several requests.

Mary's Journal for February 1821 records sittings to Edward Williams for a portrait later given to Shelley for a birthday present.

Oil by Rothwell (NPG 1235) shows her aged about 40 with straight brown hair, not at all the 'golden head' remembered by Mary Cowden Clarke.

References are known to an untraced miniature by Clint.

Watercolour miniature by Reginald Easton in the Bodleian Library, half-length with fair hair dressed in a fillet, is believed to have been based on a bust modelled from a death-mask (R. L. Poole, Catalogue of Oxford Portraits, I, p 119).

Identity doubtful
Drawing called Mary Shelley 1816 but of a young lady in the costume and hair-style of 1825 or later is believed to have been given by Trelawny to W. M. Rossetti, reproduced in colour in R. Glynn Grylls, Mary Shelley, 1938, frontispiece.

By John Stump (NPG 1719, see Unknown Woman).

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.