Portraits of Shelley

Portraits of Shelley


Sir,—In the article from a correspondent published in your columns on September 9, a very interesting portrait of Shelley is overlooked. I refer to the oil painting by West, a young American artist, who met Shelley at Byron's villa, near Leghorn, in 1842, and was so struck by his appearance that he secretly made a sketch of him, which he afterwards completed and took back to America. There it was preserved by West's relatives, and was first reproduced in the Century Magazine in October, 1905, with an article by Mrs. Dunn, the owner of the picture, by whose courtesy, and that of the editor, I was enabled to use it, in 1913, as a frontispiece to my "Percy Bysshe Shelley," a book Since reprinted by Messrs. George Allen and Unwin.

The painting, so I was informed by Mrs. Dunn, is nine inches in length, and is very beautiful, showing the poet with light brown hair and blue eyes. Its authenticity was disputed, but well-known Shelley students, like Dr. Richard Garnett, pronounced in its favour, and to some readers it seems to be more illustrative of Shelley's personality than any other portrait of him.

Yours faithfully,

Henry S. Salt
21, Cleveland Road, Brighton

The Times, September 23, 1930, p. 8