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Sir James Brooke

3 of 23 portraits on display in Room 23 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sir James Brooke, by Sir Francis Grant, 1847 - NPG 1559 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir James Brooke

by Sir Francis Grant
oil on canvas, 1847
56 1/4 in. x 43 3/4 in. (1429 mm x 1111 mm)
Bequeathed by Sir Spenser St John, 1910
Primary Collection
NPG 1559

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Sitterback to top

  • Sir James Brooke (1803-1868), Army officer and first Raja of Sarawak. Sitter in 7 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Francis Grant (1803-1878), Portrait painter and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 101 portraits, Sitter associated with 22 portraits.

This portraitback to top

After suppressing a rebellion in the region, in 1841 Brooke, a quixotic and adventurous man, was invited to assume government and became the Rajah of Sarawak. He instituted various reforms and put down piracy, and although charges of cruelty and illegal conduct were brought against him they could not be proved. This portrait was painted on his return to England in October 1847. Brooke, in undress naval uniform, is set against an idealized Eastern landscape, presumably intended to represent Sarawak. The picture was apparently painted as an act of friendship and given to Brooke by the artist.

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