Sylvia Plath

© Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation, Courtesy Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona Foundation. Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Plath was a leading writer whose 'confessional poetry', journals as well as her suicide and subsequent re-appraisal have established her status. Born in Boston, Plath moved to England with a Fulbright scholarship to study at Newnham College, Cambridge. There she met fellow poet Ted Hughes. Her first collection of poems 'The Colossus' was published in 1960. Her marriage to Ted Hughes was troubled by his infidelity and by her own disturbed psychological history, elements of which informed her celebrated novel 'The Bell Jar' (1963). The vicissitudes of their relationship were described in Plath's journals, and were later evoked by Hughes in his collection of poems, 'Birthday Letters' (1998).

National Portrait Gallery, London



Sylvia Plath




bromide print


H 18 x W 15 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Rosalie Thorne McKenna Foundation, 2011

Work type



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