William Pulteney, 1st Earl of Bath(1684-1764), Statesman
Sitter in 15 portraits
Throughout the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14), Pulteney played a prominent part in the Whig struggle to regain power from the Tories. He became a Whig Member of Parliament in 1705 and held a number of government posts including Secretary at War, 1714-17, before falling out with Sir Robert Walpole, the Whig Prime Minister. From his opposition faction, Pulteney was in a position to take over the government on three occasions, but failed to do so. When Walpole fell from power in 1742, Pulteney declined two requests by George II to form a government, accepting instead the first Lordship of the Treasury in the 1st Earl of Wilmington's ministry (1742-3) and the earldom of Bath.