A RARE portrait of Dorothy Wordsworth as a young woman has been bought by Rydal Mount, the home near Amble-side that she shared with brother William and his wife Mary.

The unsigned and unattributed miniature was given by Dorothy’s niece Dora to Maria Jewsbury who, at the age of 24, had presented a collection of her poems to William Wordsworth.

It was sold for an undisclosed sum by Bonhams of London.

Rydal Mount curator Peter Elkington, who bought it on behalf of the Wordsworth family, said he was thrilled.

“Dorothy lived a long time, and most of the representations of her show her as a placid, middle-aged woman.

"But she was known to be enigmatic in her youth and the essayist Thomas de Quincy described her wild eyes and impulsive nature – this comes much closer to that notion of her.”

It will hang in the drawing room at Rydal Mount alongside the well-known portrait of her as a mature woman.