This sensitive drawing shows Harlow's debt to Sir Thomas Lawrence, his one-time tutor, who permitted the younger artist to copy and occasionally assist him in his work. A rift led to Harlow establishing himself independently, though he concentrated on portraiture, often depicting members of artistic or theatrical coteries.
Benjamin Robert Haydon is the archetypal Romantic figure: an aspirational history painter who yet rankled the establishment and never secured the approbation of the buying public. Following his failure to win any of the Westminster Hall decoration schemes, and a disastrous solo exhibition held at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, in 1846, Haydon committed suicide in June of the same year. His published diaries testify to the vital originality of a man who befriended Keats and Wordsworth, and tackled his critics in scathing pamphlets.