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Object number


Object type



Percy Bysshe Shelley


Sculpted bust of of a young man with short hair, clean shaven, wearing shirt and jacket


'One other recent event deserves to be recorded; owing to the exertions, and, we must add, the personal generosity of Mr. Vaughan, the School has become possessed of a beautiful marble bust of the poet Shelley, which will shortly be placed in Upper School ; this bust, which at present stands in the College Library, has been executed by Mr. Storey, the famous sculptor, and is an admirable work; considering that nearly one-fifth of Shelley's short life was spent at Eton, it is only right that some memorial of one of the best-known names in English literature should have a place among the honoured names of our past generations, and we may connect this interest- ing gift with Mr. Swinburne's majestic reference to the poet in the Eton Jubilee Ode, which our readers will no doubt recollect.'
['Whitsuntide', Eton College Chronicle, No. 650, Saturday, May 19, 1894, p.1021]

'The bust of Shelley, which was placed in Upper School on June 1st... has been presented to the School by some old Etonians, among whom may be mentioned, besides the Prime Minister, two poets, Algernon Swinburne and Robert Bridges. It is the work of Mr. W. W. Story, of Rome, who had executed a bust in plaster many years ago. The following extract from a letter lately written by the sculptor to one of the subscribers may be of interest:
"I have always been a great admirer of Shelley's poems, and I determined to try my best to make a bust which should not only confirm to the portraits now existing of him, but also to the descriptions of his expression and features given by his friends. All of these representations I carefully examined, and endeavoured to interpret. I knew Leigh Hunt very well; he often described Shelley's appearance to me - as did, among other, Severn and Landor." ...Shelley's name is carved at the top of the oak panelling in Upper School close to the bust, but tradition asserts that this is not by his own hand, and that the genuine autograph is on the other side of the room, near the bust of the Marquis Wellesley. It was doubtless in Upper School that Shelley, on Election Monday, 1810, recited at Speeches a portion from one of Cicero's "Orationes in Catilinam."'
[Eton Chronicle, 4 June 1894, No. 653, p.1035]

'The busts in Upper School were added in the 1840's, in the reign of that fanatical protestant, Provost Hodgson... Shelley and Mr Gladstone were the lastest admissions, the poet, as we know, thanks to the persistence of a master.'
['Eton Busts' by Oliver van Oss, Etoniana, No. 123, November 29, 1969, p.353]

Other number



Content (person)

Dimension note

38in. high


Lettered on wall sconce supporting the bust: 'SHELLEY'






History and association

Object history note

Provenance: Purchased from the studio of the artist in Rome for 250 guineas by 'Mr. Vaughan' and Old Etonians; by whom presented to Eton College

[See: 'Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poet and Pioneer' by Henry Stephens Salt (Allen & Unwin, 1913), p.962]
image 69874
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