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James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale

(1782-1868), Judge

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter associated with 7 portraits
Trained in the law, he was called to the Bar and rapidly built up a legal practice. In 1828, he was raised to the King's Bench and in 1834; he was transferred to the Court of the Exchequer, where he exercised considerable influence as a judge for almost twenty years until 1855. The government under Lord Palmerston was keen to have his services as a Law Lord, and he was made a life peer as Baron Wensleydale in 1856. There was opposition in the House of Lords, particularly from the Conservatives, to the notion of life peerages, as they feared this would enable the government to swamp the House with its supporters. Palmerston was determined to have him as a Law Lord, and made Parke a heredity peer.

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