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Henry Wallis, 1830–1916

The Death of Chatterton

Former Title(s):

Chatterton [1856, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]

ca. 1856
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
8 15/16 x 11 7/8 inches (22.7 x 30.2 cm)

Signed, lower right: "H Wallis" Signed in lower right: "H Wallis"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
arsenic | bed (furniture) | bedroom | bolster (soft furnishing) | broken | candle | chest | coat | curls | dead | death | genre subject | man | manuscripts | pillow | plant | poet | suicide | sun | table (support furniture) | torn | vial | window
Associated People:
Chatterton, Thomas (1752–1770), poet
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770) was an aspiring poet and author of a brilliant series of forgeries that he successfully passed off as the rediscovered work of a medieval English monk. The dishonor of his eventual exposure led the teenaged poet to commit suicide in a London garret. He became revered among nineteenth-century poets as a martyr of frustrated genius. In keeping with Chatterton’s status, and Henry Wallis’s own admiration for the Pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood, the painter incorporates abundant detail into his representation of the poet’s death. This is a smaller replica of the version shown at the Royal Academy in 1856, which prompted the influential art critic John Ruskin to exhort his contemporaries to “examine it well inch by inch.” The artist Augustus Egg bought the larger version, and his own contemporaneous painting The Death of Buckingham (shown nearby) shares obvious affinities with Wallis’s Chatterton.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Ron Brown, Suicidal Tendencies, Tate: The Art Magazine, Spring 2002, p. 54, N1 T37 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catalogue of the art treasures of the United Kingdom : collected at Manchester in 1857., Bradbury and Evans, London, p. 93, no. 371, N5056 .M35 M25 1857 (YCBA) Also available in Hathitrust [YCBA]

Christie's sale catalogue : The Neil Wilson Collection : a romantic vision : Christie's South Kensington : 4 September 2014, Christie's, Christie's (UK), South Kensington, September 4, 2014, p. 66, lot 130, Auction Cat 2014 September [ORBIS]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 232-233, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

cover, British Art Journal, vol. 15, Autumn 2014, front cover, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Death of Chatterton, Athenaeum, 25 June 1859, pp. 841-842, Available online: British Periodicals database [ORBIS]

Death of Chatterton, Athenaeum, 4 Febuary 1860, p. 177, Available online: Nineteenth Century Index [ORBIS]

Martina Droth, Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA), Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2016, p. [12]-[15], V 2643 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Lindsay Duguid, The Recollected Works, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, Issue no. 5458, November 8, 2007, p. 17, Available Online : TLS Archive Also Available on microfilm : Film S748 (SML) [ORBIS]

Gillian B. Greenhill, The Death of Chatterton, or Photography and the Law, History of Photography, vol. 5, no. 3, July 1981, p. 199, fig. 1, TR15 H57 + (HAAS) [ORBIS]

Jerrold's guide to the exhibition: how to see the Art Treasures Exhibition : a guide, systematically arranged, to enable visitors to take a view, at once rapid and complete, of the Art Treasures Palace, A. Ireland and Co., Manchester : UK, 1857, p. 31, Fiche B1244 Fiche.N.4.2.224 (SML and available online: HathiTrust)

Helen Rees Leahy, 'Walking for Pleasure' ? Bodies of Display at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857, Art History, vol 30, September 2007, pp. 557-558, N1 A75 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Ronald Lessens, Henry Wallis ( 1830 - 1916 ), a neglected Pre-Raphaelite, British Art Journal, vol. 15, Autumn 2014, pp. 47, 51-52, fig. 1, N6761 B74 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Alena Marchwinski, The Romantic Suicide and the Artists, Gazette Des Beaux-Arts, 6:109, February 1987, pp. 70-72, fig. 4, p. 70 is image of RELATED Work, N2 G3 (LC) (HAAS Reference) [ORBIS]

Mr. Henry Wallis, Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, vol 30, March 1917, p. 124, N1 B87 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Geraldine Norman, More High Prices for Paintings, The Times (London), London, 29 November 1972, p. 18, Available online: Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm : Film An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

Pagliacci, dramma in a prologue and two acts ... : [programme]., , Royal Opera House (London, England), July 2003, p. 24, Not available at Yale [ORBIS]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Elizabeth A. Pergam, Creating a Furore, Annibale Carracci's 'The Three Maries', Thomas Gainsborough's 'Blue Boy' and Henry Wallis's 'Death of Chatterton' at the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition , Apollo, vol 155, June 2002, pp. 48-53, fig. 7, N1 A54 155:2 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sotheby's Belgravia : Fine Victorian Paintings, Drawings, and Watercolours, , Burlington Magazine, vol 114, November 1972, pp. Ixxxii, Ixxxvi, N1 B87 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Martha Tedeschi, Where the Picture Cannot Go, the Engravings Penetrate : Prints and the Victorian Art Market, , Museum Studies, vol 31, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2005, pp. II, 13, JSTOR Arts & Sciences VII [ORBIS]

The Companion to a Walk Through the Art Exhibition of Paintings and Engravings at Old Trafford Palace, A. Ireland and Co., Manchester : UK, 1857, p. 94, no. 371, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=gri.ark:/13960/t10p4pj8s&view=1up&seq=1 [Website]

The English Pre-Raphaelites at the Birmingham Art Gallery, Manchester Guardian, Oct 14, 1891, p. 8, ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Manchester Guardian [ORBIS]

What to see, and where to see it! : or, the operative's guide to the art treasures exhibition, Manchester, 1857, A . Hewood, Manchester : UK, p. 13, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=gri.ark:/13960/t3gx7xr2x&view=1up&seq=1 [Website]

Yale Center for British Art, Selected paintings, drawings & books, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1977, p. 50, N590.2 A82 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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