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Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822, poet and husband of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

The only mature portrait of the poet to be surely authenticated was painted by Amelia Curran, daughter of the Irish statesman John Philpott Curran, in 1819 when the Shelleys were living in Rome where she was in residence as a student still learning her basic craft. Although thus the product of an inexperienced portraitist and never thought very true by Shelley's intimate friends, the romantic cast of the painting has had a marked impact on the popular conception of Shelley as an otherworldly aesthete. It was first reproduced as an engraving in Finden's Landscape & Portrait Illustrations to the Life and Works of Lord Byron, Volume 2 (London: John Murray, 1832), which is the version included here. The original is in the National Portrait Gallery, London.