A portrait of the metaphysical poet John Donne (1572-1631) playing the role of a melancholic lover.

Donne was one of the most talented writers of the Elizabethan age and his poetry, essays and sermons were widely celebrated following publication after his death. The playwright Ben Johnson thought that Donne had written all his best poetry before the age of twenty-five and this portrait dates from this period of intense creativity. The painting was acquired after a successful public campaign.

Provenance

Robert Ker, 1st Earl of Ancram (1578-1654); by direct descent to the late Marquis of Lothian.




Exhibitions at National Portrait Gallery

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