Image, Identity and John Wesley ─ A Study in Portraiture
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John Wesley’s national evangelistic career between 1740 and his death coincided closely with the development of the ‘English school’ of art, especially portraiture, as well as the growth of popular print, on which he capitalised for his religious publications. As an admired or vilified public persona, he was (especially in old age) a figure of curiosity whose image was popularly known and circulated.

In his lifetime Wesley sat for around a dozen painted portraits, ranging from those by significant artists such as Nathaniel Hone, John Russell and George Romney, to local, sometimes anonymous face painters. Analysing the ways in which Wesley’s ‘image’ developed John Wesley, Image and Identity offers a new understanding of the propaganda and ‘image control’ of Methodism.

Peter S. Forsaith is a historian of religion, culture and society in eighteenth-century Britain. He is Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, Oxford Brookes University, U.K. and has written and lectured on many aspects of Methodist history. He gained his Ph.D. in 2003 for a scholarly edition of Rev. John Fletcher’s letters to Rev. Charles Wesley, later expanded and published as Unexampled Labours (Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2008). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Image, Identity and John Wesley represents the fruit of more than twenty years of scholarly research by the author, who is recognised as a foremost expert on Wesley iconography.