The writer, William Godwin is perhaps not the most famous but was one of the most influential British radicals and political philosophers of the Age of Revolution. He was married to the revolutionary feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, and was the father of Frankenstein author Mary Mary Shelley. He established the Juvenile Library and had a powerful influence on the Romantic poets, including William Wordsworth andhis son-in-law Percy Shelley.
Marie Antoinette was the wife of the last King of France, Louis XVI, before the French Revolution overthrew the monarchy. She was known for extravagance and indulgence, and was despised by the people of France. She came to symbolise the Ancien Régime - a long-standing system where the monarchy, aristocracy and Catholic Church held absolute power and privilege over ordinary people.
Born Margaret Bulkley, James Barry lived most of his life as a man, qualifying as a doctor and becoming an accomplished and respected military surgeon. His identity as a woman was only revealed when his maid laid him out after his death. It is not known whether Barry identified as a man or whether he simply kept up a disguise in order to have a medical career, at a time when women were denied this opportunity.
Angelica Kauffman was a successful and influential artist of the mid-late 1700s, and one of only two female founder members of the Royal Academy of Arts, in Londonin 1768. Despite also being a skilled portrait and landscape artist, she is rememberedprimarily for her success as a history painter. This was seen as the most elite category in academic painting at the time, and an unusual choice for a female artist.
This portrait shows the flamboyant and controversial figure Sir Banestre Tarleton, a cavalry officer best known as commander of the ‘Tarleton Raiders’ during the American war of independence. It was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the leading British portrait painter of the 18th century. Reynolds was a founding member of the Royal Academy and its first President, and was knighted by King George III.
Mary Wollstonecraft was a revolutionary writer who made a powerful case for educating and emancipating women. She is still regarded as one of the founders of modern British feminism.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758 – 1806) was born into slavery in St Domingue (now Haiti) he went on to become the first ruler of the independent republic.
In 1791 Toussaint Louverture (1743 – 1803), who was born into slavery, led the first - and only - successful uprising of enslaved Africans.
November 3, 2016 - Richard Moss
The National Portrait Gallery needs £300,000 to buy a distinguished portrait of the Duke of Wellington and has launched a public appeal.