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Haydon, Benjamin Robert

Haydon, Benjamin Robert (1786–1846). A historical painter, born in Plymouth, the son of a painter and publisher, Haydon was encouraged to sketch while at school. From an early age he showed great determination to succeed, yet his life ended in imprisonment for debt and suicide. For much of his life he painted large canvases of historical or religious subjects rather than more marketable works. A stubborn man, invariably in opposition to the establishment, he campaigned strenuously for patronage for the arts, the foundation of schools of design, decoration of public buildings, in particular the Houses of Parliament, and to save the Elgin marbles for the nation. He also became involved in radical politics. Despite his pugnacious character he had many admirers among the Romantic movement in literature, especially Wordsworth and Keats, whose portraits he painted. He is now chiefly remembered for his Autobiography and Memoirs, published in 1853.

June Cochrane

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Haydon, Benjamin Robert

Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1786–1846, English historical painter and writer. A painter in the Grand Manner expounded by Reynolds, Haydon was also a popular teacher, writer, and lecturer. His lectures on design were published in 1847. Among his admirers were most of the great literary figures of the day, including Wordsworth and Keats, who sat for him for their portraits (both: National Portrait Gall., London).

See his Correspondence and Table-Talk (1876) and his autobiography and journals (1926 ed., with introduction by A. Huxley).

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