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[Mary Wollstonecraft]
image id: ps_cps_cd6_081

John Keenan (fl. 1791–1815), after John Opie (1761–1807)
[Mary Wollstonecraft]
Oil on canvas, 1804
NYPL, The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle

Mary Wollstonecraft is shown here pregnant with the future Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley. Aaron Burr commissioned this 1804 copy of John Opie's portrait, painted just a few months before Wollstonecraft’s death in 1797. Burr, best known as the Vice President of the United States who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, was much impressed with Wollstonecraft’s ideas for egalitarian child-rearing, and brought up his daughter Theodosia on those principles. Opie’s original portrait, which hung over William Godwin’s fireplace, is now in the National Portrait Gallery (London). In Godwin's view, however, Burr’s copy was the better likeness.


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