Mortimer was most famous for his scenes of romantic outlaws (‘banditti’). He was also notorious for his dissolute lifestyle and was known as ‘the English Salvator’: a reference to the famous seventeenth-century Neapolitan painter of such themes, Salvator Rosa. According to legend, Salvator himself lived as an outlaw.
This is a copy by an unknown artist of a self-portrait by Mortimer. The image prompted a nineteenth-century commentator to write that Mortimer ‘was fond of the wild, the savage, and the wonderful; and it was his pleasure in the fine picture before us to imagine himself a chief of banditti’.