This portrait shows the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge seated wearing a black coat and holding a silver snuff-box in his right hand. The painting was commissioned by the poet’s nephew, Rt. Rev. William Hart Coleridge, Bishop in the West Indies. Coleridge's uncertain health meant that the oil painting took over three years to complete, 1818 to 1821. In 1835 a copy was made for the publisher John Murray. Coleridge tends to disparage almost every portrait of himself, writing in 1825 of this portrait that 'the Smile is exaggerated'. Some of Coleridge's friends preferred the Allston portrait of 1814, which Phillips had taken as his model, as it is more idealised, with Coleridge's eyes raised upwards as if receiving some benignant light from above. Thomas Phillips was a leading portrait artist of the period and his subjects included many of famous literary figures, such as the famous portrayal of Lord Byron in Albanian dress (exhibited in 1814), the only studio portrait of William Blake (1807), as well as portraits of Robert Southey and Sir Walter Scott.