The son of a London vintner, Chaucer spent much of his life in the service of the crown. His poetry reflects the influence of the countries to which he was sent on various missions. The period of French influence lasted from 1359 to 1372; that of Italian, in which he was influenced by Boccaccio whom he met, from 1372 to 1386; and finally his mature style which lasted from 1386 to his death in 1400. It was during this period that he wrote The Canterbury Tales, which would later become the first book published by printing press in England. This small portrait may have been produced as part of a series for a library in the years when Chaucer's reputation was growing. It appears to derive, like all other portraits of Chaucer, from an illustration in an early fifteenth-century manuscript, Hoccleve's De Regimine Principum.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London, England, WC2H 0HE
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.