© National Portrait Gallery, London
by Carl Fredrik von Breda Click on the links below to find out more
oil on canvas, 1788
35 3/4 in. x 27 3/4 in. (908 mm x 705 mm)
Bequeathed by Henry Crabb Robinson, 1867
The philanthropist , Thomas Clarkson, was a member of the committee formed in 1787 for the suppression of the slave trade. In this portrait, Clarkson is depicted inscribing with a quill the title-page of his Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave Trade which was published in May 1788. The portrait was painted during von Breda's visit to London; its silvery-grey tones are typical of his work and earned him the soubriquet 'the Swedish Van Dyck' .
Parliament begins an investigation into the slave trade, led by reformers Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce.Regency Crisis; George III's madness is announced provoking a political storm. Former Governor-General of Bengal Warren Hastings' trial begins before the House of Lords.Henry Benedict Stuart becomes the new Stuart claimant to the British throne.
Art and science
Artist Thomas Gainsborough dies. First edition of The Times
newspaper is published in London.Scottish engineer and inventor William Symington demonstrates the first paddle steamer on Dalswinton Loch near Dumfries.Robert Burns writes his version of the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne
Ministers of the French King, Louis XVI, reluctantly announce that the Estates General will meet the following year, for the first time since 1614. United States constitution comes into force when New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify it. First Fleet reaches Australia, anchoring in Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip, selecting a suitable site for the first Australian penal colony, names the place Sydney Cove.