John Bunyan (1628-1688): His Life, Times, and Work

By John Brown; Frank Mott Harrison | Go to book overview

XVII.
BUNYAN'S DESCENDANTS AND SUCCESSORS.

BUNYAN was two months short of completing his sixtieth year when he was unexpectedly called away from his life of active service to the Church. He was not an old man, therefore, counting by years, though somewhat worn and beaten by the storms of time. Three contemporary portraits of him, taken in later life, remain to us--an oil picture by Sadler of 1685, the engraving by Sturt of 1692, and the pencil sketch by Robert White, on which were based his engraved portraits of 1679 and 1682.*

* Vide Addendum

The painting of 1685 by Sadler was, so far as we know, first engraved by Simpson in 1767. This engraving was in the heaviest possible style and formed the frontispiece to the folio edition of Bunyan's works, published by Johnston, with a preface by George Whitefield. About 1780, also, this portrait was reproduced in mezzotint by Richard Houston, and published by Carington Bowles, the well-known print-seller of St. Paul's Churchyard. Three years later it was admirably engraved in small oval by T. E. Haid, and subsequently also by Spilsbury. On the engraving by Simpson it is stated that the original painting was then in the possession of Henry Stimson, gent. This is probably the portrait of Bunyan sent to the Loan Exhibition at South Kensington in 1866, by the Rev. John Olive, rector of Ayott, and which is now in the National Portrait Gallery.*

* Vidde Addendum

Sturt's engraving, prefixed to the first folio edition of Bunyan's works, published in 1692, was taken from a painting which, if still in existence, is not known. It is somewhat vigorously executed, but harsh and unpleasing. Other copies from the same plate were also prefixed to the later edition of 1736-7. Charles Doe, describing this engraving in 1692, says of it: "His effigies was cut in copper, from an original paint, done to the life, by his very good friend, a Limner." But who this limner was he does not tell us.

-385-

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