Portrait of Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

According to Lady Shelley this posthumous miniature of Mary was ultimately based upon a death-mask, though presumably the artist was also informed by Sir Percy and Lady Shelley’s personal knowledge and their (probably idealized) recollections of Mary’s appearance. Mary wears blue-and-yellow pansies, the symbol of remembrance that she adopted after Shelley’s death in July 1822. The miniature, and the matching portrait by Easton of Shelley as a boy, were displayed alongside other precious family relics in the room which Lady Shelley called her ‘sanctum’. A number of these relics were given similarly ornate gilt frames.

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Watercolour and bodycolour on ivory laid on card, oval, 110 x 88 mm

In an ornate gilt frame made by Asprey of London (matching Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley)