The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797), Writer and feminist; mother of Mary Shelley; wife of William Godwin

Author of Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792 and other feminist books; married William Godwin in 1797 and died in childbirth.

'Her person was above the middle height and well-proportioned; her form full; her hair and eyes brown; her features pleasing; her countenance changing and impressive; her voice soft, and, though without great compass, capable of modulation. When unbending in familiar and confidential conversation, her manners had a charm that subdued the heart' (Mary Hays in Annual Necrology, 1797-8).

Referencesback to top

Davies 1946
Martin Davies, The British School, National Gallery, 1946, p 105.

Earland 1911
Ada Earland, John Opie and his Circle, 1911, p 123-4.

Godwin 1798
William Godwin, Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft, 1798, ed. W. Clark Durant 1927.

Kegan Paul 1876
Charles Kegan Paul, William Godwin his Friends and Contemporaries, 1876.

Kegan Paul 1879
Charles Kegan Paul, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1879.

Letter from Kegan Paul in The Times, 2 January 1885.

Letters from Sir F. Burton in The Times, 2 and 7 January 1885.



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.