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William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

10 of 33 portraits on display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, circa 1805 - NPG 5185 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, circa 1805
29 7/8 in. x 24 7/8 in. (759 mm x 632 mm)
Accepted in lieu of tax by H.M. Government and allocated to the Gallery, 1978
Primary Collection
NPG 5185


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Sitterback to top

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

Lawrence's dashing portrait was painted at the time when Melbourne, then William Lamb, married the poet Lady Caroline Lamb (1805). Their marriage proved unhappy, being marred by her notorious affair with Lord Byron. They separated legally in 1825. Two years later Canning appointed him Chief Secretary for Ireland. In this post Melbourne was responsible for public safety during the widespread 'Swing Riots' (1830) when agricultural labourers revolted against low pay, the use of new farm machinery and the introduction of cheap Irish labour.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D15782: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (source portrait)
  • NPG D20159: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (source portrait)
  • NPG D21200: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (source portrait)
  • NPG D5673: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (source portrait)
  • NPG D38361: William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne (source portrait)

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