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Celebrity's Picture: Using Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Portraits to Observe Historic Changes

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Isle of Wight, 1868

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Isle of Wight, 1868 / Maine Historical Society

Longfellow's physical appearance changed rapidly after his wife’s death, with first with growing a beard, then with his hair turning white almost overnight. At sixty-one, just seven years after Fanny's tragedy, the eccentric London photographer Julia Cameron dramatically presented the American writer with the aging majesty of a Shakespearean character. Various artists tried to recreate the noble endurance of her image in paint and print. William Merritt Chase, for example, copied Cameron for an etching at Ernest Longfellow's request and possibly for a painting. The dramatic pose appealed to many unidentified printmakers, including an engraver who published a mundane version in McGee's Illustrated Weekly, vol. III, No. 26, May 18, 1878. (Bowdoin College Library’s Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Collection contains clippings of the two prints and photos of the painting in M112.5.1 Box 4, Folder 26.)

<a href="http://www.hwlongfellow.org/pdf/Whitmore_lessonplan2.pdf">Now-and-Then Portrait Lesson Plan</a>
<a href="http://www.hwlongfellow.org/pdf/Whitmore_lessonplan3.pdf">Commercial Illustrations Lesson Plan</a>


Item 32 of 35