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William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Philanthropist and reformer

Sitter associated with 31 portraits
An evangelical Christian and social reformer, Wilberforce dedicated himself to the 'suppression of the Slave Trade and the reformation of manners'. He entered Parliament in 1780 as a Tory MP and was the Parliamentary leader of the Abolition movement from 1787. After years of campaigning, Wilberforce's bill to end Britain's part in slave trading was passed to a standing ovation in 1807. A further act of 1833 provided for the emancipation of slaves in British colonies. Wilberforce was plagued by illness for most of his adult life developing ulcerative colitis in his 20s and a curvature of the spine in his 50s which resulted in him wearing a metal support to maintain his head position.