by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1811
35 1/2 in. x 27 1/2 in. (902 mm x 699 mm)
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Sitterback to top
- Warren Hastings (1732-1818), Governor-General of India. Sitter associated with 46 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 683 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Warren Hastings was Governor-General of Bengal and epitomised the luck, spirit and ruthlessness on which the British empire was built. Arriving in India aged seventeen, he rose swiftly through the ranks of the East India Company, the trading body that held the political reigns of Britain's Asian territories. Though a considerable statesman, doubts began to surface over Hastings's methods and morals. In a parliamentary attack, mounted by the statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke, Hastings was accused of embezzling funds and ordering the judicial murder of a native official. His impeachment and trial, which lasted from 1788-95, became one of the great causes célèbres of the age. Though Hastings was not convicted, Burke's speeches during the trial, outlining the responsibilities owed by conquering powers to subject peoples, prompted a serious re-evaluation of Britain's imperial policy.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 244
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 287