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James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce; Sir John Day

4 of 14 portraits of James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce

James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce; Sir John Day, by Sydney Prior Hall, published in The Graphic 2 March 1889 - NPG 2249 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce; Sir John Day

by Sydney Prior Hall
pencil, published in The Graphic 2 March 1889
7 7/8 in. x 10 in. (201 mm x 256 mm) uneven
Given by the artist's son, Harry Reginald Holland Hall, 1928
Primary Collection
NPG 2249

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  • Sydney Prior Hall (1842-1922), Portrait painter and illustrator. Artist associated with 152 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

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This is one of the many sketches of the proceedings of the Parnell Commission made by Sydney Prior Hall for the illustrated periodical The Graphic. The Parnell Commission was one of the most dramatic political and legal events of late Victorian Britain. Gladstone's advocacy of Home Rule for Ireland in 1886, and the Liberals' alliance with the nationalists under Charles Stewart Parnell, had set the Irish question at the top of the political agenda. In April 1887, The Times published a copy of a letter signed by Parnell approving the assassinations carried out in Phoenix Park in 1882. The commission set up to investigate the affair, which lasted over a year, eventually proved that the letter was a forgery. Despite the seriousness of the matter, there were evidently moments of levity. This sketch records the moment when 'Mr Bryce MP falls asleep on the Bench; Mr Justice Day lets fall all the photographs of the letters and wakes him'.