CLARE, JOHN (1793-1864, poet, farm labourer and naturalist) PORTRAIT [BY W.W. LAW OF GOLD STREET NOR
Lot 33
CLARE, JOHN (1793-1864, poet, farm labourer and naturalist) PORTRAIT BY W.W. LAW OF GOLD STREET NORTHAMPTON,
Sold for £3,600 (US$ 5,815) inc. premium

Lot Details
CLARE, JOHN (1793-1864, poet, farm labourer and naturalist)
PORTRAIT BY W.W. LAW OF GOLD STREET NORTHAMPTON,
photograph, albumen print, half-length, seated, oval, SIGNED BY CLARE ON THE MOUNT, some spotting and discoloration possibly from retouching in the print or negative, 3¾ x 2¾ in (9.5 x 7 cm).

Footnotes

  • REFERENCES: Catalogue of the John Clare Collection in the Northampton Public Library, 1964; Jonathan Bate, John Clare, 2003.

    This photograph, the only one of Clare, was taken in 1862, when he was nearly seventy years of age, by W.W. Law of Northampton, the town where Clare lived in the asylum. It is extremely rare, especially carrying Clare’s own bedraggled signature. Only one other signed copy is known to be extant, in Northampton Library.

    John Taylor, Clare's editor and publisher, wrote in 1893 that the photograph was 'taken by Mr Law, of Gold-Street, I having special permission from the Doctor at the Asylum for Clare to visit Mr Law's for the purpose. His fine head and exceedingly fine long eyelashes are well represented in the photograph. At the same time he signed his name on a dozen slips of paper to be placed under the portrait'. The present photograph is one of those mounted above his own signature. No example of it is in the National Portrait Gallery.
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