William Harrison Ainsworth

WAG 2568


Maclise came to London from Ireland in 1827. He made his reputation as a painter of often light-hearted literary subjects and also serious historical events. The climax of his career was his series of vast murals for the Houses of Parliament, including The Death of Nelson, the oil version of which is shown below. This portrait is unfinished, and the lively handling of paint gives it a fresh look, very different from the artist’s completed paintings. Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882) was a popular writer of historical novels. He had a wide circle of literary and artistic friends including Charles Dickens and Landseer. He wrote for the journal Fraser’s Magazine, to which Maclise contributed caricatures.