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Benjamin Robert Haydon

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Benjamin Robert Haydon

by Georgiana Zornlin
oil on canvas, 1825
27 in. x 22 1/2 in. (686 mm x 572 mm)
Given by Georgiana Margaretta Zornlin, 1878
Primary Collection
NPG 510

Sitterback to top

  • Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), History painter and diarist. Sitter in 10 portraits, Artist associated with 34 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

This is an appropriately idiosyncratic portrait of Benjamin Robert Haydon, a highly opinionated and arrogant artist with a misplaced belief in his own abilities, now better remembered for his diaries and for his friendship with Keats and Wordsworth than he is for his sprawling canvases. His portrait was painted by Georgiana Margaretta Zornlin, when she was Haydon's pupil. She recalled working under his 'especial superintendence' with Haydon even providing and mixing the colours himself.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Audio Guide
  • Curtis, Penelope; Funnell, Peter; Kalinsky, Nicola, Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 7 February to 30 May 2001), p. 45
  • Holmes, Richard, The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2013, p. 50
  • Holmes, Richard, Insights: The Romantic Poets and Their Circle, 2005, p. 38
  • Holmes, Richard; Crane, David; Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p. 41
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 114
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 114 Read entry

    This is an appropriately idiosyncratic portrait of Benjamin Robert Haydon, a highly opinionated and arrogant artist with a misplaced belief in his own abilities, now better remembered for his diaries and for his friendship with Keats and Wordsworth than he is for his sprawling canvases. His portrait was painted by Georgiana Margaretta Zornlin, one of his pupils, who presented it to the Gallery in 1878 with a hope that 'by this time, the faults in Haydon's character have been consigned to oblivion, but that he may still be held in remembrance as the enthusiastic promoter of the study of the Elgin Marbles, and the zealous encourager of Art Schools throughout this country'. Aldous Huxley thought that Haydon's head was just like that of Mussolini.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 290
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 239

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1825back to top

Current affairs

Strikes, contract breaking and worker intimidation prompt the passing of a new Anti-Trade Union Combination Act to the dismay of economist John McCulloch, MP Joseph Hume and radical Francis Place who had worked for the repeal of the previous year.
Catholic Relief Bill is rejected by the House of Lords.

Art and science

Construction of Thames Tunnel begins under the direction of Marc Isambard Brunel.
Stockton to Darlington Railway, the world's first passenger system, opens.
William Hazlitt publishes The Spirit of the Age; twenty-five pen-portraits of his contemporaries in the world of literature, philosophy and politics.

International

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premieres in London.
John Quincy Adams is elected President of the United States.

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