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  • Drawing
    Mortimer, John Hamilton, born 1740 - died 1779
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    England (possibly, drawn)

  • Date:

    c.1775 (drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mortimer, John Hamilton, born 1740 - died 1779 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    drawn with the pen

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case DG, shelf 30

John Hamilton Mortimer was a key figure in the development of Romanticism in Britain. Among his most famous works are a series of illustrations of Shakespearean characters which he drew in the 1770s, including this dramatic study for King Lear. Mortimer developed a drawing style of fine lines and dense cross-hatching to create intense, compelling images.

Physical description

Study for 'Poor Tom' in Shakespeare's King Lear; Drawn with the pen.

Place of Origin

England (possibly, drawn)


c.1775 (drawn)


Mortimer, John Hamilton, born 1740 - died 1779 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

drawn with the pen


Height: 13.3 in, Width: 10.8 in

Object history note

Mortimer etched an oval print of this design in 1775, the reverse way of the drawing.

Descriptive line

Mortimer, John Hamilton (1740-1779); Study for Poor Tom in Shakespeare's 'King Lear'; Pen and ink; English School; c.1775.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Owens, Susan, The Art of Drawing British Masters and Methods since 1600, V&A Publishing, London, 2013, p. 68, fig. 47
DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum, 1874.

Labels and date

John Hamilton Mortimer 1741-1779
Edgar Disguised as 'Poor Tom' from Shakespeare's 'King Lear'
Exhibited at the Society of Artists 1775

Mortimer was a painter and etcher, who excelled in romantic subjects. In Shakespeare's King Lear, prince Edgar disguises himself as the madman 'Poor Tom'. This powerful and bold drawing was made for a series of 12 etchings of characters from Shakespeare

Pen and ink on paper

Bequeathed by Alexander Dyce 1869
Museum no. Dyce. 630 []


Paper; Pen


Drawing (image-making)


Drawings; Shakespeare


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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