Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Sir George Beaumont: Collaboration and the 'Sketcheresque'

Jessica Fay

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In 1815 Wordsworth dedicated the first collected edition of his Poems to Sir George Beaumont, ‘[w]ishing and hoping that this Work, with the embellishments it has received from your pencil, may survive as a lasting memorial of a friendship, which I reckon among the blessings of my life’. In offering this combination of his poetic ‘Work’ and Beaumont’s artistic ‘embellishments’ as a memorial of such a valuable friendship, Wordsworth elevates the significance of the frontispieces Beaumont contributed to the volumes. Engravings of Beaumont’s painting for ‘Lucy Gray’ and ‘Peele Castle in a Storm’ appeared as frontispieces to the 1815 edition, and Beaumont also provided frontispieces for The White Doe of Rylstone (1815), Peter Bell (1819), and all four of the volumes Wordsworth published in 1820. These images, and the letters in which Beaumont and Wordsworth discuss them, suggest that painter and poet engaged in a mode of collaboration that is unexpected in the context of patronage; they also highlight the importance, for Wordsworth, of the reader’s role in completing the ‘Work’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Coleridge Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jul 2017


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