Mary Fryer Todd (née Evans) (1770-1843)
ALLEN, Joseph (1770 - 1839)
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 76.5 x 63.9 cm
Acquired: 1991; Purchase
Accession Number: NMW A 556
The sitter's brother Tom was a school friend of the poet S.T.Coleridge, who fell deeply in love with Mary Evans (1770-1843) after staying with her family in London during his first vacation from Cambridge at Christmas 1791. Unable to declare himself, in the summer of 1794 he 'turned sick and all but fainted away' at a glimpse of her leaving church in Wrexham, where she was visiting her grandmother. Coleridge dedicated the following poem, titled 'The Sigh' to her:
And though in distant climes I roam,
A wanderer from my native home,
I fain would soothe the sense of Care,
And lull to sleep the Joys that were!
Thy image may not banished be -
Still, Mary! Still I sigh for thee.
Joseph Allen trained in the Royal Academy Schools and established a considerable reputation in the north-west of England. He is documented in Wrexham in 1798 and 1799.