5 of 12 portraits of George Eliot
by Lowes Cato Dickinson
7 1/2 in. x 3 3/4 in. (191 mm x 95 mm)
Bequeathed by Mary E.L. Brownlow (née Dickinson), 1973
Sitterback to top
- George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross (n?e Evans)) (1819-1880), Novelist. Sitter associated with 12 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Lowes Cato Dickinson (1819-1908), Portrait painter. Artist or producer associated with 38 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This pen sketch of Eliot shows her aged fifty-two in July 1872, not long after her novel Middlemarch had been published. By this point, Eliot's popularity was confirmed and people longed for images of her that could be reproduced, circulated and collected. In fact, Eliot's resistance to sit for her photograph made her face even more present as the subject of curiosity. When the portraitist Lowes Cato Dickinson saw her at a concert in London, he seized the opportunity to capture her distinctive profile on the back of a letter he had with him.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 199
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Portraying George Eliot (16 January 2019 - 19 December 2019)
Events of 1872back to top
Current affairsThe (Secret) Ballot Act is passed. By ending open voting in local and general elections, the act reduced the scope for intimidation at hustings, an important step towards democracy. Previously, voters had to mount a platform and announce their choice of candidate to a recording officer, so although most working men had already been enfranchised, employers were able to punish workers who did not vote for their preferred candidate.
Art and scienceGeorge Eliot's novel Middlemarch is published. Exploring the impact of the 1832 Reform Act on provincial England, and charting the changes in class, politics, art and science in the nineteenth-century, Eliot's novel is widely perceived to be one of the best examples of the English realist novel.
InternationalThe Metaphysical Club is formed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by William James (brother of author Henry James), Oliver Wendel Holmes Jr, and Charles Sanders Peirce. The group begins to develop the American philosophy of pragmatism, which held that ideas were simply mental constructs that people formed to help them cope with the world, but which did not exist in an ideal realm.
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