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Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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In 1779 Richard Samuel exhibited this painting at the Royal Academy. Leading 'bluestockings' of the day are portrayed as the nine muses, the daughters of Zeus who each presided over a different art. Elizabeth Sheridan (née Linley), the singer, stands in the centre playing on a lyre. To the left, the artist Angelica Kauffmann is seated at an easel and the writers Elizabeth Carter and Anna Barbauld stand behind her. To the right are grouped the writer Charlotte Lennox, the historian Catherine McCauley (holding a parchment), the writer Hannah More, the society leader Elizabeth Montagu and the playwright and novelist Elizabeth Griffith (with a tablet).

National Portrait Gallery, London





oil on canvas


H 132.1 x W 154.9 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Purchased, 1972

Work type



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National Portrait Gallery, London

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

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