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Harriet Martineau

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Martineau had a difficult childhood, dogged by poverty and ill health, she became deaf at a young age and had to use an ear trumpet. To earn money for her family she sent out articles, stories and poems to magazines, with some of her pieces bringing financial success. Her trip to America in 1834 arose from her abhorrence of slavery. She travelled around the south unharmed, but met hostility further north and had to abandon her visit in 1835, writing Society in America (1837) to describe her experiences.

National Portrait Gallery, London


  • Date

    exhibited 1834

  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Measurements

    127.6 x 101.9 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    Purchased, 1897. On long-term loan to Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales


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Normally on display at

National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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