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Addison's first major poem, An Account of the Greatest English Poets, appeared in 1694. An active Whig supporter, he was made Under-Secretary of State in 1705 and was elected as an MP in 1708. In 1709 his friend Richard Steele founded The Tatler, which ran until 1711. Addison was one of the major contributors to this periodical. The two subsequently established The Spectator in 1711 and although the paper closed a year later it remained in demand, with hundreds of reprinted editions appearing over the next two centuries.
oil on canvas
H 88.9 x W 67.3 cm