Bust of Percy Bysshe Shelly

  • William Ordway Partridge, Bust of Percy Bysshe Shelly, n.d., copyrighted 1899, plaster, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. William Ordway Partridge, 1994.73

Luce Center Label

William Ordway Partridge created numerous idealized portraits of famous writers, musicians, and artists. He used his own experience as a writer and poet to model sensitive images of the artists, often portraying them deep in thought. In this portrait the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) is shown with a downward gaze and slightly tilted head. His dreamy expression evokes a sense of introspection, as if he is away in a world of his own.

Luce Object Quote

“Eternal Soul of man, how strong to save!

How strong to live, outlasting death’s great pain!

Remembering Shelley’s triumph, we grow brave

To barter life itself for surer gain-

Since joy beyond all vision rent the night,

When that swift spirit melted into light.”

From the poem “Shelley” by William Partridge, Archives of American Art

Bust of Percy Bysshe Shelly
n.d., copyrighted 1899
23 1/4 x 13 x 10 1/2 in. (59.1 x 33.0 x 26.8 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Mrs. William Ordway Partridge

Mediums Description
  • Occupation – writer – poet
  • Portrait male – Shelley, Percy B. – bust
Object Number
Linked Open Data
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