Amelia Curran (painter)

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Amelia Curran
Born 1775
Died 1847
Nationality Ireland

Amelia Curran (1775 – 1847) was an Irish painter.

Amelia Curran, Portrait of Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1819

She was the eldest child of the barrister and wit John Philpot Curran and his wife Sarah Creagh.[1] Her sister Sarah Curran was the fiancée of Robert Emmet. Amelia was a member of the Church of Ireland for the early part of her life. In 1810, through her father, she met William Godwin and Aaron Burr. Soon after, she met her lifelong friend, Percy Bysshe Shelley. In 1812, when Percy Shelley traveled to Ireland to campaign against the injustices done there by Britain, Amelia was his traveling companion, and introduced him to her father, one of the leaders of the cause. She later traveled to Rome and built up a close friendship and correspondence with Shelley's second wife Mary.[2] In 1821, she moved to Naples, where she converted to Catholicism. She moved to Paris the next year, where, it was falsely rumored, she had married and separated from a man. She returned to Rome in 1824, where she spent the rest of her life.

She painted Shelley several times. These are among the few paintings of Shelley painted in his lifetime, and the only ones of him in his adulthood. They are noted for their androgynous features, and their striking similarity to Guido Reni's painting of Beatrice Cenci, which was one of the poet's favorite pictures. Her 1819 portrait of Shelley was included in the 1905 book Women Painters of the World and hangs at the National Portrait Gallery in London.[2][3] She also painted a portrait of Claire Clairmont and made copies of several Renaissance Madonnas.

She died in 1847 in Rome, and was buried in the Church of St. Isidore. The future Cardinal Newman presided at her funeral Mass.