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William Wilberforce

(1759-1833), Philanthropist and reformer

Sitter associated with 32 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.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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William Wilberforce, by John Russell - NPG 759

William Wilberforce

by John Russell
oil on canvas, 1770
NPG 759

The House of Commons 1793-94, by Karl Anton Hickel - NPG 745

The House of Commons 1793-94

by Karl Anton Hickel
oil on canvas, 1793-1795
NPG 745

William Wilberforce, by Sir Thomas Lawrence - NPG 3

William Wilberforce

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1828
On display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 3

William Wilberforce, by George Richmond - NPG 4997

William Wilberforce

by George Richmond
watercolour, 1833
NPG 4997

William Wilberforce, after John Rising - NPG D37514

William Wilberforce

after John Rising
stipple engraving, after 1789
NPG D37514

William Wilberforce, by Charles Howard Hodges, published by  John Rising, published by  Thomas Harmar, after  John Rising - NPG D37512

William Wilberforce

by Charles Howard Hodges, published by John Rising, published by Thomas Harmar, after John Rising
mezzotint, published 1 February 1792
NPG D37512

William Wilberforce, after J. Davies - NPG D8323

William Wilberforce

after J. Davies
line and stipple engraving, published 1792
NPG D8323

'Frontispiece' (Charles James Fox; William Wilberforce), by James Sayers, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D9561

'Frontispiece' (Charles James Fox; William Wilberforce)

by James Sayers, published by Hannah Humphrey
etching, published 14 April 1795
NPG D9561

'The weathercock of St Stephen's' (Charles James Fox; William Wilberforce), by James Sayers, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D9575

'The weathercock of St Stephen's' (Charles James Fox; William Wilberforce)

by James Sayers, published by Hannah Humphrey
etching, published 14 April 1795
NPG D9575

'Presages of the millenium', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12528

'Presages of the millenium'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, engraving and aquatint, published 4 June 1795
NPG D12528

'The death of the Great Wolf', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12551

'The death of the Great Wolf'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching and engraving, published 17 December 1795
NPG D12551

'The giant factotem amusing himself', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12593

'The giant factotem amusing himself'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 21 January 1797
NPG D12593

'Parliamentary-reform, - or - opposition-rats, leaving the house they had undermined', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12614

'Parliamentary-reform, - or - opposition-rats, leaving the house they had undermined'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 28 May 1797
NPG D12614

'Consequences of a successful French invasion, No 1, plate 1st', by and published by James Gillray - NPG D13086

'Consequences of a successful French invasion, No 1, plate 1st'

by and published by James Gillray
hand-coloured etching, published 1 March 1798
NPG D13086

'Sketch of the interior of St Stephens, as it now stands', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12781

'Sketch of the interior of St Stephens, as it now stands'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 1 March 1802
NPG D12781

'A phantasmagoria; - scene - conjuring-up an armed-skeleton', by and published by James Gillray - NPG D12799

'A phantasmagoria; - scene - conjuring-up an armed-skeleton'

by and published by James Gillray
hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 5 January 1803
NPG D12799

'The state waggoner, and John Bull - or - the waggon too much for the donkeys!', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12829

'The state waggoner, and John Bull - or - the waggon too much for the donkeys!'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 14 March 1804
NPG D12829

storming Heaven; - with, the gods alarmed for their everlasting-abodes', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D13106

storming Heaven; - with, the gods alarmed for their everlasting-abodes'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, engraving and aquatint, published 1 May 1804
NPG D13106

'Political-candour; - i.e. - Coalition-"resolutions" of June 14th 1805. - pro bono publico', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12846

'Political-candour; - i.e. - Coalition-"resolutions" of June 14th 1805. - pro bono publico'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 21 June 1805
NPG D12846

'The wounded lion', by James Gillray, published by  Hannah Humphrey - NPG D12847

'The wounded lion'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 16 July 1805
NPG D12847

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