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Mary Shelley-icious

As a long-term fan of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's amazing writing, I'm fascinated by this. This oil painting, dated to 1843 and attributed to Richard Rothwell, surfaced in 1955 and only recently has been recognized as a "lost" portrait of Mary Shelley.

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(Rothwell was also responsible for one of the most famous portraits of the author.)

This rediscovered painting is being shown for the first time as one of many artifacts in the Shelley's Ghost exhibition at the Bodleian Library, which is dedicated to Mary Shelley, her parents William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, and husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. If you can't make it to the Bodleian, there's an extensive website for Shelley's Ghost showing all of the exhibits, complete with detailed descriptions. The companion book to the exhibition is Shelley's Ghost: Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family by Stephen Hebron and Elizabeth C. Denlinger.


* Speaking of Mary Shelley, it looks like the March 17, 2011 National Theatre Live performance of the Danny Boyle-directed play Frankenstein that I mentioned here will be the one featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Victor Frankenstein (which was the combination I most wanted to see). I can't wait! Reports suggest that the alternate performance (with the lead roles switched) is also being taped for later airing, however, and I suspect I'll want to catch that one, as well. I'd love to hear spoilers if anyone happens to see it in London.

* In other news, Presenting Lenore is hosting a month-long celebration of dystopian literature, so be sure to check out her Dystopian February posts here.


"You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 5th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
I agree with you. Those portraits offer quite a contrast, don't they? And I think this one makes her much more accessible. I'm with you: having more than one to compare helps me get a more three-dimensional perspective on her.

I'm so glad this was of interest to you, too. Thanks for sharing it with me!
sneezythesquid
Feb. 5th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC)
FYI, The Lion in Winter and Beckett are making the rounds on TCM this month as part of their 30 Days of Oscar thing. Beckett's next showing is either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 5th, 2011 03:30 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! Thank you so much for the heads up.
karmaku
Feb. 5th, 2011 10:31 am (UTC)
Wow, very interesting. This painting helps us get a better idea of what she looked like. You can see she also has the heavy lids and the chest-shoulder shape as in the painting we are all familiar with... Thanks for sharing!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 5th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
My pleasure! I thought the same thing: I can see the resemblance between the portraits, but this one really helps me a tremendous deal in visualizing her.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )