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Pencil drawing of Edmund Rolfe Finch by John Polidori

 Single Item
MS. Eng. c. 8410, fol. 138

  • Request

Pencil drawing attributed to John William Polidori of Edmund Rolfe Finch in Elizabethan-style costume (head and shoulders only). Signed 'J.W.P_ 181[-]' at lower right in ink (slight loss to both lower corners), and annotated on reverse 'Edmund Finch by Dr. Polidori. 1818.' Paper has watermark of Prince of Wales's feathers above monogram 'J&M', and the date '1817'.


  • Creation: [1818]


1 item

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Eng. c. 8410, fol.138].

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MS. Eng. c. 8410, fol. 138

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17561


Pencil drawing of Edmund Rolfe Finch by John Polidori [1818].

Biographical / Historical

John William Polidori (1795-1821), physician and writer, became Lord Byron's physician and accompanied the poet on his tour of the Continent in 1816. Byron rented Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva from May 1816 and was visited by Percy and Mary Shelley who were staying nearby. Polidori was party to the storytelling competition that occurred on 19 July 1816, which proved to be the genesis for Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as well as his own influential composition The Vampyre, which was eventually published in 1819. Polidori accompanied Byron to Chamonix but was dismissed in September 1816. He returned to England in 1817 where he briefly set up practice as a physician in Norwich before moving to London in early 1819 to pursue a literary career. He died in London in August 1821 aged 25.

For a full biography of John William Polidori (1795-1821) see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Edmund Rolfe Finch (1789-1831), a Norwich brewer, was made president of the Norfolk and Norwich Literary Institution in 1826.

Custodial History

This sketch was sold at Cheffin's Fine Art Sale, 4 Jul 2019 (lot 227) and at Forum Auctions, 3 Oct 2019 (lot 124).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased by the Bodleian Library with the support of the Roy Davids fund from Christopher Edwards, January 2020.

Catalogue of pencil drawing of Edmund Rolfe Finch by John Polidori [1818]
Rachael Marsay
Language of description
Script of description
Catalogued with the generous support of the Roy Davids bequest

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom