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Robert Browning

2 of 53 portraits of Robert Browning

Robert Browning, by Michele Gordigiani, 1858 -NPG 1898 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Robert Browning

by Michele Gordigiani
1858
28 1/2 in. x 23 1/8 in. (724 mm x 587 mm)
NPG 1898

Inscriptionback to top

Signed (bottom left): M. Gordigiani

This portraitback to top

This forms a pair with the portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning (NPG 1899, where both portraits are discussed in detail). W. M. Rossetti wrote of it ('Portraits of Browning', p 186):

'The spacious unwrinkled forehead, in which thought seems to have accumulated and condensed; the watchful eyes, slightly over-drooped by their lids; the half-smiling, half-pondering mouth, - Browning's face was, indeed, seldom without a certain lambency, as of pleasant and kindly thought, which would easily lapse into a smile; the whole set of the visage, which seems to be listening, and preparing to reply - all these points are well given, and realize very satisfactorily the impression which the man produced. The face in this portrait is certainly a highly intellectual one; but I think it is treated with too much morbidezza, so as to lack some of that extreme keeness, which characterized Browning.'

Referenceback to top

De Vane and Knickerbocker (eds.) 1951
New Letters of Robert Browning, edited W. C. De Vane and K. L. Knickerbocker (1951), pp 109, 123.

McAleer (ed.) 1951
Dearest Isa: Robert Browning's Letters to Isa Blagden, edited E. C. McAleer (1951), pp 43, 44, 306-7, 309.

Rossetti 1890
W. M. Rossetti, 'Portraits of Robert Browning - I and II', Magazine of Art (1890), pp 186-7, 247.

Wilson
G. E. Wilson, Robert Browning's Portraits, Photographs and Other Likenesses and their Makers, edited A. J. Armstrong, Baylor Bulletin, XLVI (December 1943), no.4, 65-9.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, brown hair and beard. Dressed in a white shirt, dark stock, brown suit. His elbow resting on a table or chair-arm, covered with red material with black floral motifs. Rest of background greenish-brown.

Provenanceback to top

Commissioned by Mrs Eckley; bequeathed by her to Browning's son; R. B. Browning Sale, Sotheby's, 1 May 1913 (lot 59), bought Mrs Florence Barclay; presented by her husband, Charles Barclay, in accordance with her wishes, 1921.

Reproductionsback to top

W. M. Rossetti, 'Portraits of Robert Browning - I and II', Magazine of Art (1890), p 181.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Ormond, Early Victorian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1973, 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.

View all known portraits for Robert Browning