The other great early 19th century writer of whom there are no decent portraits is Shelley. (I mean Percy not Mary). This is odd, given that Shelley was a wealthy aristo and very much in love with himself. The one authentic adult portrait- by Amelia Curran- is horribly bland and- though Mary begged it off the artist- generally regarded as a poor likeness.
Here it is, anyway.
And here's Mary in her early 40s.
There are several rather good portraits of Keats- including a life mask and a death mask- but then Keats- though only a middle-class vulgarian- had friends who were artists.
Here's one I hadn't seen before- a charming silhouette by Marianne Hunt.
There are, of course, lots and lots of portraits of Byron. Most of them serve the legend. Here's one (by Count d'Orsay) that subverts it, showing him as nervy, querulous and (unmistakeably) balding.
But the Victorians did rather overlook the political radicalism of the romantics, didn't they- reducing them to singers of sweet songs- or at least that's the impression I get from browsing through my Palgrave.
Oh, fascinating! I was unaware of this, but I think it's a well-argued case. I knew a man who developed an equivalent of Little's Disease in adulthood after a head injury from a motorcycle accident. The style of movement described as Byron's gait is in fact nearly identical. The funny thing is that my former acquaintance also appeared to have very small feet due to the peculiar way he stood.
It's at times like these that I have an irresistable urge to quote Dorothy Parker:
Byron and Shelley and Keats Were a trio of lyrical treats. The forehead of Shelley was cluttered with curls, And Keats never was a descendant of Earls, And Byron walked out with a number of girls, But it did not impair the poetical feats Of Byron and Shelley, Of Byron and Shelley, Of Byron, and Shelley and Keats.