English, Department of


Date of this Version


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The George Eliot Review 27 (1996) Published by The George Eliot Fellowship, http://georgeeliot.org/


The George Eliot Review 2018 (27)


In an excellent lecture John Cooper of the National Portrait Gallery showed all the authenticated portraits of George Eliot, contrasting them with those of other women writers of the time such as Charlotte Bronte and Agnes Strickland and quoting contemporaries' views on how good a likeness each was.

The portraits included an early silhouette given to the Gallery by a niece of John Cross; an 1842 watercolour given by Caroline Bray, too delicate to be put on public display; D'Albert Durade's Geneva portrait, painted when she was still mourning her father and struggling with religious doubts; the celebrated Samuel Lawrence drawing - nine sittings and a whole series of drawings were done by Lawrence for a now vanished oil painting bought by John Blackwood because George Eliot and G. H. Lewes disliked it. Mr. Cooper pointed out that the cameo brooch in the picture is now owned by Mary Haight, G. S. Haight's widow; the chalk drawing made by Frederic Burton, later Director of the National Gallery; two late sketches of George Eliot made at concerts, one by du Maurier; and, for the real truth, an 1858 photograph from the London Stereoscopic Company, showing her relaxed and smiling, together with photos of some pioneering women George Eliot admired - Barbara Bodichon, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and George Sand.