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Algernon Charles Swinburne

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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One of the outstanding poets of the nineteenth century. Born into the minor aristocracy, he met Rossetti at Oxford, and became an intimate member of his circle. His unconventional behaviour and the erotic nature of much of his poetry aroused controversy; his lyrical gifts gradually won him recognition as a major poet, and he exerted considerable influence on the literary and aesthetic tastes of his age. Despite his republican sympathies, Swinburne was considered as a successor to Alfred Lord Tennyson as Poet Laureate in 1892. Although not appointed Laureate, he remained popular until long after his death. Spent his last years in semi-retirement in Putney, with Theodore Watts-Dunton.

National Portrait Gallery, London



Algernon Charles Swinburne




oil on canvas


H 64.8 x W 52.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by wish of George Frederick Watts, 1909

Work type



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National Portrait Gallery, London

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

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