19 January 2010

Happy birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

...scholars say Poe looked far more vigorous, perhaps even dashing, in his earlier years than he does in the well-known series of daguerreotypes taken in the final years of his life.

The more robust Poe is captured in a small watercolor by A.C. Smith, one of just three surviving portraits of the author... His upper lip is clean-shaven, though he sports long, bushy sideburns. And there's the slightest hint of a smile on his face.

"It actually represents Poe as he appeared to his contemporaries — a handsome, sophisticated young man on the rise... The daguerreotypes show him in his rather dissipated state, where he has gone through the difficulties of his life."
The image above is not the watercolor described, but rather an engraving by the same artist done at about the same time, printed in Graham's magazine in 1845.  Credit.

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