Category Archives: British

John Dryden 1631-1700 Dramatist and Poet Laureate

Dryden was appointed Poet Laureate by Charles II in 1668. He wrote over twenty plays, including All for Love (1678), and numerous poems, particularly political satires, such as ‘Absalom and Achitophel’ (1681), and odes, including the famous ‘Ode for St Cecilia’s Day’. In 1686 he converted to Roman Catholicism, and at the Revolution of 1688 he was deprived of the laureateship. He devoted the rest of his life largely to translations, notably a verse translation of the works of Virgil.

Artist: Sir Godfrey Kneller,

Size 16 x 10 cms

Price £10.00


Catherine of Braganza 1638-1705 queen of Charles II

The Roman Catholic queen of Charles II and daughter of John, Duke of Braganza, afterwards King of Portugal, Catherine came to England in 1662, bringing a dowry of Tangier, Bombay and £300,000. Shy, solemn and pious, she was devoted to Charles who, although he hurt her by his infidelities, was genuinely attached to her.

Subject gender: Female
Artist: John Smith, after Jacob Huysmans
Size 16 x 9 cms

Price £12.00


George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron 1788-1824

Byron was famous for his swaggering good looks and his brilliant, reckless personality. The publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812) made him famous overnight. He was also a scathing critic and his Don Juan (1819-24) is the ultimate satire of Regency society. He lived abroad from 1816 in self-imposed exile and became an attraction for English tourists. A lifelong supporter of liberal causes, he joined the Greeks in their fight against Ottoman rule but died of fever in Missolonghi in 1824.

Subject gender: Male
Artist: George Henry Harlow
Size 12 x 10 cms

Price £14.00


John Hampden 1594-1643 Statesman

One of the central figures at the start of the English Revolution. He entered Parliament as an MP in 1621, eight years before Charles I dissolved Parliament. Ship Money was a tax sometimes levied on coastal towns in wartime to pay for ships to protect the country from invasion. Charles, no longer receiving money from Parliament, in 1635 extended the Ship Money tax to include inland towns and counties. This attempt to create a new form of taxation without parliamentary sanction was resisted by Hampden, who refused to pay the levy. The king was unable to collect Ship Money, and was forced to recall Parliament in 1640. Hampden was one of the five MPs selected by Charles I for impeachment in 1642.

Subject gender: Male
Artist: Robert Walker
Size 20 x 13 cms

Price £14.00


John Gay 1685-1732 poet and dramatist

Poet and dramatist, best remembered for his hugely successful dramatic satire The Beggar’s Opera . Along with his friend Alexander Pope. Gay was a member of the Scriblerus Club, a group of like-minded men who exposed and attacked ignorance and pretentiousness in literature. Johnson did not rate Gay’s poetry highly but credited him with the invention of the ballad opera.

Subject gender: Male
Artist: William Aikman
Size 16 x 9 cms

Price £14.00


William Robertson FRSE FSA 1721-1793

Scottish historian, minister in the Church of Scotland, and Principal of the University of Edinburgh. “The thirty years during which [he] presided over the University perhaps represent the highest point in its history.”
Artist: Joshua Reynolds
Size 9 x 13 cms
Price £14.00