Painting depicting a right hand profile perspective bust portrait of dramatist Thomas Otway, directly interrogating the viewer with his eyes. His head is resting on his right hand, surrounded by a wreath of grasses. On the left the City of Venice is depicted with a crescent moon in the sky above. On the right the Appeal of Belvidera to Jaffier is depicted, with a man beating a kneeling woman with a stick.
Bottom left: Alexander Pope Pope was one of Hayley’s favourite writers and one of Blake’s least favourite. As their relationship soured, Hayley’s admiration for Pope probably intensified Blake’s dislike of his work. The kneeling figure is Eloisa, praying in her cell, from Pope’s poem Eloisa and Abelard. Bottom right: Thomas Otway Otway was a well-regarded playwright in 1800. His masterwork was the play Venice Preserved. An imaginary view of Venice is on the left, and two characters from the play are on the right: Jaffier attempting to stab Belvidera. Purchased 1885.8 and 1885.7
unframed: 40.5cm x 76.2cm
framed: 49.8cm x 85cm
Place of creation
© Manchester Art Gallery