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William Astell (1774-1847), Chairman of the East India Company
Sitter in 3 portraits
William Astell was a director of the East India Company, the trading body with effective political control of Britain's imperial interests in Asia. He held the post from 1800 for an unprecedented forty-seven years. This period was a time of rapid change for the company and saw the abolition of their trading monopolies with both India (1813) and China (1834). Astell was a staunch advocate of tolerance for native religious practices in the colonies and spoke in the House of Commons on a regular basis.