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Robert Southey

Robert Southey, by Peter Vandyke, 1795 -NPG 193 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Regency Portraits Catalogue

Robert Southey

by Peter Vandyke
21 1/2 in. x 17 1/2 in. (546 mm x 445 mm)
NPG 193

This portraitback to top

The portrait was painted for Joseph Cottle, the Bristol bookseller who gave Southey the hospitality of his house and published his Joan of Arc in 1796. Cottle at the same time commissioned portraits of Coleridge, Lamb, Wordsworth and Amos Cottle, and described them all in his Early Recollections xxxi-xxxiv. Southey mentions it in a letter to John May 15 September 1827, persuading him to visit Joseph Cottle: 'you will see a notable portrait of me before my mane was shorn ...' (The Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, ed. Rev. Charles Cuthbert Southey, V, p 310). His son described his refusal to have a haircut by the Balliol College barber (ibid., pp 170-1).

Physical descriptionback to top

Head and shoulders slightly to right aged 21, in a dark blue-green coat, white waistcoat, voluminous white bow-tie; luxuriant wavy dark brown hair, dark brown eyes, pale complexion, serious expression; plain light fawn background.

Provenanceback to top

Joseph Cottle, then his niece Elizabeth Green who sold it to the NPG in 1864 together with her portrait of Coleridge.

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.

View all known portraits for Robert Southey


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