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Robert Barrett Browning (1846-1912)

Professions: Painter; Sculptor

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  • Robert Wiedeman 'Pen' Barrett Browning (British 1846-1912)


  • 19th Century Carved Marble Sculpture

  • ROBERT WIEDEMAN BARRETT "PEN" BROWNING (1849-1912). "Mesmerism", a set of four caricatures pen and ink and wash each numbered 1,2,3,5 and each inscribed with different humorous quotations, "No. 1) I say! Thomas! - Go up stairs immediately, into Parlour No 1 - & ask what the company are about? - Did you ever hear such a horrible noise? - Are they fighting? Or have they all gone mad! It can never be the little drop of wine they've drank." each sheet measuring 18.3 x 11.6 cm mounted as one unframed FOOTNOTE: Robert "Pen" Browning was an English painter. His career was moderately successful, but he is better known as the son and heir of the celebrated English poets, Robert Browning and Elisabeth Barrett Browning. The phenomenon of mesmerism began in the late eighteenth century with the work of Austrian scientist Franz Anton Mesmer. Mesmer began developing his revolutionary theory in 1772 while studying at the University of Vienna.  Mesmerism swept through Victorian England beginning in 1837-38 as both a serious scientific and medical phenomenon and as a spiritual gateway to the mysteries of life, death, and the nature of the human soul. Prominent figures in science and literature saw in the flow of energies and mystifying trance a key to the health of the body and mind, while other equally prominent scientists and authors denounced mesmerism as a fraud and its practitioners as charlatans. For those who believed in the effects of mesmerism, many saw it as a remarkable discovery, but others saw a dark and dangerous power. Nowhere is the malevolent nature of mesmerism better expressed than in the poetry of Robert Browning, for whom mesmerism led to the loss of identity and self.

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