Harriet Martineau (1802-1876)

George Richmond, RA (1809-1896)



24 5/8 in. x 18 5/8 in. (626 mm x 473 mm)

National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 1796

Bequeathed by the sitter's niece, Miss Emily Higginson, 1917

Harriet Martineau looks remarkably well here for a woman who had been an invalid for over five years in her in thirties, suffering from what the doctors had considered to be an incurable illness. She had been helped by mesmerism, and had written about her experiences of both illness and cure in Life in the Sick-room: Essays by an Invalid (1844), and Letters on Mesmerism (1845). She was now enjoying the most active years of her life. [Commentary continues below. Mouse over the text for links, and click on the picture to enlarge it.]