Robert Gooch (1784–1830) was described by the English poet Southey as one of the most remarkable men of his time. Gooch had a poor upbringing with an average education. A chance encounter with a blind man, Mr Harley, to whom Gooch would read aloud, sparked an interest in literature. He studied medicine at Edinburgh, and worked as a general practitioner in London. He moved to the West End and was patronised by his friend Sir William Knighton. He was appointed librarian to the king, an office which delighted him because of his fondness for literature. Gooch’s professional success was limited by his ill health, which frequently forced him to leave London for weeks at a time; he died aged 45.
The portrait was painted by the English Victorian engraver and lithographer Richard James Lane in 1823. Lane painted members of the Royal Family, society nobles and theatre personalities.
Where to see this painting?
Royal College of Physicians, London
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