Benjamin Robert Haydon Criticism - Essay

Aldous Huxley (essay date 1926)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Huxley, Aldous. Introduction to The Autobiography and Memoirs of Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), by Benjamin Robert Haydon, edited by Tom Taylor. Vol. 1, pp. v-xix. London: Peter Davies, 1926.

[In the following excerpt from his introduction to the 1926 edition of Haydon's Autobiography, Huxley insists that Haydon wasted his creative energy on painting when it was as a writer—in particular as a romantic novelist—that Haydon's true talent lay.]

Haydon was something more than a bad and deservedly unsuccessful painter. He was a great personality to begin with. And in the second place he was, as I like to think, a born writer who wasted his life...

(The entire section is 1239 words.)

Clarke Olney (essay date March 1934)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Olney, Clarke. “John Keats and Benjamin Robert Haydon.” PMLA 49, no. 1 (March 1934): 258-75.

[In the following essay, Olney discusses Haydon's influence on the young John Keats during the mid-1810s, when the two men shared an intense devotion to art. Haydon encouraged Keats to undertake themes considered by Olney to be more “grand” and “powerful” than the poet's earlier subjects.]

The friendship between John Keats and Benjamin Robert Haydon is one chapter in the life of the poet which has never been satisfactorily written. A biography, like a novel, must needs have a villain; and in Haydon, Keats's biographers have one ready made. He was an egoist,...

(The entire section is 8575 words.)

Varley Lang (essay date July 1947)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lang, Varley. “Benjamin Robert Haydon.” Philological Quarterly 26, no. 3 (July 1947): 235-47.

[In the following essay, Lang portrays Haydon as a reformer in the field of the arts, focusing in particular on the painter's lobbying for increased public support of the arts and his belief that all English manufacturers and artisans should combine excellent workmanship with high artistic skill. In addition, Lang compares Haydon's ideas with those of later English art reformers, including Matthew Arnold, William Morris, and John Ruskin.]

Whenever reforms in English art of the nineteenth century are mentioned, whether they concern standards of beauty in things of...

(The entire section is 5988 words.)

Eric George (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: George, Eric. “Haydon on Haydon.” In The Life and Death of Benjamin Robert Haydon, Historical Painter: 1786-1846. 1948. Reprint, with additions by Dorothy George, pp. 374-84. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.

[In the following essay, George, using as his source W. B. Pope's Diary of Benjamin Robert Haydon (1960-63), the first publication of the full text of Haydon's Journals, focuses on Haydon's entries describing his “darker side”—the anguish over his own sanity, and those feelings of anxiety and despondency that plagued the artist throughout his entire career.]

Painters & Poets are liable to the erruptions of...

(The entire section is 4737 words.)

Colbert Kearney (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kearney, Colbert. “B. R. Haydon and The Examiner.Keats-Shelley Journal 27 (1978): 108-29.

[In the following essay, Kearney attempts to prove that Haydon was the author of several anonymous letters and articles published in the Hunts' paper The Examiner during the early 1800s, using entries in Haydon's Diary to validate his argument and maintaining that the published pieces attest to the close relationship between Haydon and the Hunts during that time.]

Writing in The British Press for 3 July 1823, “An Observer” claimed that Haydon the historical painter—then in the King's Bench Prison for debt—had written critiques of...

(The entire section is 8671 words.)

Roger J. Porter (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Porter, Roger J. “‘In me the solitary sublimity’: Posturing and the Collapse of Romantic Will in Benjamin Robert Haydon.” In The Culture of Autobiography: Constructions of Self-Representation, edited by Robert Folkenflik, pp. 168-87. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Porter attempts to pinpoint the reason why Haydon felt the intense need to chronicle his life in his autobiography and in his journals.]

On June 22, 1846, moments before he committed a kind of double suicide by shooting himself and slashing his throat, Benjamin Robert Haydon, historical painter, would-be savior of British art, and friend to...

(The entire section is 8462 words.)