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Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine (1750-1823), Lord Chancellor

Sitter associated with 67 portraits
Erskine was a lawyer and Whig politician who rose to prominence defending political radicals during the 1790s. He was Lord Chancellor in Grenville's coalition 'Ministry of All the Talents'. Erskine stood for free speech and a free press and is remembered primarily as one of the great advocates in English legal history. He rose to prominence defending political radicals in the 1790s, winning a notable victory against the State during the infamous Treason Trials of 1794. His best known client was Thomas Paine whom he defended unsuccessfully against a charge of seditious libel after the publication of his Rights of Man (1791). Erskine's last notable case was his defence of Queen Caroline at her divorce 'trial' in 1820.