While examining these portraits, the author considers three questions: what was Wesley’s attitude toward the portrait (if any), how did the public respond to these portrayals, and what was the artist attempting to convey? This book focuses on the main portraits and their derivatives, looking at them within the three main categories that developed over the years: Oxford don, Methodist preacher, and notable person. Although these types seemed to arise in chronological order, there is some overlap between categories, especially toward the end of Wesley’s life and beyond.
“Richard Heitzenrater has devoted his scholarly career to casting new light on the ‘elusive’ John Wesley. He is particularly known for probing (and when necessary, decoding) an abundance of Wesley’s manuscript and print materials. But the author’s personal artistic bent and pursuit of the ‘whole Wesley’ also sustained across the decades a remarkably broad-ranging and insightful exploration of the physical renderings of Wesley—in portraits, etchings, ceramic busts, and beyond. This volume gathers the rich fruit of this lifetime of exploration. It will be deeply appreciated by all who care about Wesley and ‘the people called Methodists.’”
–Randy L. Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC, and General Editor of the
Bicentennial Edition of The Works of John Wesley