About this artwork

The author W E Henley had a number of connections with Scotland, principally his friendship and collaborations with Robert Louis Stevenson. He worked in Edinburgh in 1875 on the Encyclopaedia Britannica and, in 1893, received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Andrews. As editor of the Magazine of Art, Henley championed the 'modern' artists Whistler and Rodin. Henley and Rodin had met in London in 1881 and this portrait was originally modelled (in clay) the following year. In his youth, Henley suffered from tuberculosis and had a leg amputated as a result. He moved to Edinburgh to consult Joseph Lister, about whose pioneering methods and use of antiseptics he had read. Lister treated Henley, with success, over several years. Stevenson said that he gave to the character of Long John Silver in his Treasure Island Henley's 'strength, his courage, his quickness, and his magnificent geniality.' Henley is best known for his poem, lnvictus, whose lines have been an inspiration to many, including Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment on Robben Island.

Auguste Rodin

Auguste Rodin