Portrait of John Dryden by John Michael Wright

This hitherto unknown work depicts John Dryden (1631 – 1700), one of the great figures in the history of English literature and a welcome addition to the gallery's collection of Restoration period portraiture.


Oil on canvas
76.8 x 63.5 cm
Art Fund grant:
£45,000 ( Total: £225,000)
Acquired in:
Philip Mould

Well-known by his contemporaries as a playwright, his plays are now largely neglected and he is most admired for his topical satirical poetry, including Absalom and Achitophel, and his translations of classical texts. Wright shows Dryden at the height of his literary career, at the time of his appointment as Poet Laureate in 1668. The laurel wreath around the portrait and the Latin inscriptions referring to the wreathing of poets with laurels or ivy suggest the close involvement of the sitter with the artist.


Henry M. Weston; Christie's, 1908; Parsons; Harrison Holt; by descent; Christie's, 2007 (withdrawn); Christie's, 2008; Philip Mould.

Venue details

National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place, LONDON London WC2H 0HE 020 7306 0055 www.npg.org.uk

Entry details

50% off with National Art Pass

Sat – Wed, 10am – 6pm Thu – Fri, 10am – 9pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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