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Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891), Politician; MP for Northampton and freethinker; founder of National Secular Society

Sitter in 16 portraits
Bradlaugh left school at eleven and worked as a clerk to a coal merchant. He enlisted in the army in 1850 and served in Ireland until 1853. On his return to London he became a pamphleteer and writer about 'secularist' ideas under the pseudonym 'Iconoclast'. In 1880 he was elected as an MP, and claimed the right to affirm, a non-religious alternative to taking the Oath of Allegiance, but this was denied. Because all MPs had to take the Oath before taking their seat or voting, he effectively forfeited his seat in Parliament. With the support of his constituency he successfully recontested Northampton four times, and on each occasion pleaded his case to affirm. Finally in 1888 he secured an act to permit parliamentary affirmations.

List Thumbnail

2316

Three sketches

by Sydney Prior Hall
pencil
NPG 2316

3555

Charles Bradlaugh

by Harry Furniss
pen and ink, 1880s-1900s
NPG 3555

5256

The Lobby of the House of Commons, 1886

by Liborio ('Lib') Prosperi
oil on canvas, published in Vanity Fair Christmas Supplement 1886
On display in Room 25 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 5256

2332

Charles Bradlaugh; John Bright

by Sydney Prior Hall
pencil, circa 1887
NPG 2332

2868

Florence O'Driscoll; Charles Bradlaugh

by Sir Francis Carruthers Gould ('F.C.G.')
pencil, circa 1889
NPG 2868

2206

Charles Bradlaugh

by Walter Richard Sickert
pencil, 1890
NPG 2206

Ax18357

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s
NPG Ax18357

x44842

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870s
NPG x44842

x127413

Charles Bradlaugh

by Elliott & Fry
chlorobromide print on cream card mount, 1890
NPG x127413

D538

Charles Bradlaugh

by Harry Edwin
silhouette, circa 1887-1891
NPG D538

D9019

Charles Bradlaugh

by William Strang
etching, circa 1890
NPG D9019

D4414

Charles Bradlaugh

after William Strang
etching, circa 1890
NPG D4414

x1212

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s-1870s
NPG x1212