The Return of Milton's Wife

WAG 1539


The poet John Milton married Mary Powell in 1643, during the English Civil War. She was from a Royalist family, whereas Milton himself was of strong Parliamentarian sympathies, and she soon left him. Two years later however she returned and asked his forgiveness. Fuseli spent much of the 1770s on his Milton gallery, a series of paintings illustrating the life of the poet. This painting, though not part of that series, was closely related to it. In 1800 Fuseli sold it for 30 guineas to William Roscoe. Like Fuseli, and indeed Milton, Roscoe was also a man of radical sympathies.