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.

Advanced Collection search

Hannah More

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Hannah More

by Henry William Pickersgill
oil on canvas, 1822
49 1/2 in. x 35 1/4 in. (1257 mm x 895 mm)
Purchased, 1875
Primary Collection
NPG 412

On display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

  • Hannah More (1745-1833), Religious writer. Sitter in 11 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The writer and reformer Hannah More was in her seventies at the time this portrait was painted. In her letters, More described her objections to sitting for this portrait: 'Morally and physically it is grievous to me ... I object, in a moral point of view, that so much time out of my little fragment of life should be so spent'. The letter on the table is addressed to William Wilberforce, the friend who inspired her support for anti-slavery after they met in 1787. The most striking part of her outfit is the layered 'van Dyck' ruff collar and high-crowned, frilled muslin cap tied under the chin and trimmed with abundant silk ribbons. These were a popular form of indoor head wear. With them she wears a simple silk day dress with a high waistline, smooth ungathered shoulders and muslin frills at the wrists. Over the top of this is wrapped a shawl of silk or fine wool with fashionably patterned borders and ends. In her right hand she holds a scent bottle.

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Pioneering Women, p. 50 Read entry

    The influential dramatist, religious writer and Evangelical social reformer Hannah More (1745-1833) was born a schoolteacher’s daughter, near Bristol. Both a successful promoter of female activism and a conservative feminist, she was a prolific author; her first published play was The Search for Happiness (1773). On moving to London in 1774, she joined the Bluestocking circle, after which she wrote two more plays, Percy (1777) and The Fatal Secret (1779), for actor-manager David Garrick. Following her retreat from London society, for reasons of faith, she continued to write. Her campaigning moral tales Village Politics (1792), written under the pseudonym ‘Will Chip’, and Cheap Repository Tracts (1795-8), inexpensively produced, populist and anti-radical, sold more than two million copies in less than two years. Many were circulated by the middle classes in their communities in the hope that their homilies would encourage an awareness of poverty and the need for charitable work among the poor. In the wake of its success, the Religious Tract Society was founded in 1799. Educated at a school run by her sisters, More expressed her reforming zeal for women’s education in Strictures on the Modern System of Female Education (1799).

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Eger, Elizabeth; Peltz, Lucy, Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings, 2008 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 13 March to 15 June 2008), p. 115
  • Holmes, Richard; Crane, David; Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p. 141
  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 346
  • Ross, Josephine, Jane Austen and her World, 2017, p. 69
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 440

Events of 1822back to top

Current affairs

Lord Castlereagh (the Marquis of Londonderry) commits suicide after a blackmail campaign against him.
Tory cabinet joined by liberals George Canning and Robert Peel. Canning is appointed Foreign Secretary.

Art and science

John Nash completes the remodelling of the King's villa, the Brighton Pavilion and begins plans for the new layout of Regent Street and Regent's Park.
The Caledonian Canal opens to link eastern to western Scotland.
The Sunday Times is founded.

International

David Wilkie exhibits celebrated Chelsea Pensioners at the Royal Academy to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo. It proves so popular a rail has to be erected to protect it.
First major failure of the potato crop in Ireland. A large-scale public works programme is implemented to provide employment.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.