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John Wilkes (1725-1797), Politician; MP and agitator

Sitter associated with 47 portraits
Artist associated with 1 portrait
Wilkes's imprisonment for libel and banishment from the House of Commons brought into question the validity of parliamentary elections. Arrested in 1763 for publishing an attack on the King's speech in his newspaper The North Briton, his case became a popular cause, sparking violent public protests to the cry of 'Wilkes and Liberty'. Finally permitted to take his seat in 1774, he was then elected Lord Mayor of London. With his squint, crossed eyes and long jaw, Wilkes was called the ugliest man in England at the time, but he was well known for his verbal wit and snappy responses to insults.

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Edmund Burke

by John Chapman, published by John Wilkes
stipple engraving printed in colours, published 13 December 1798
NPG D13258