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John Horne Tooke

3 of 49 portraits of John Horne Tooke

John Horne Tooke, by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey, circa 1810 - NPG 316a(122) - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

John Horne Tooke

by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey
ink and pencil, circa 1810
14 1/2 in. x 10 7/8 in. (368 mm x 276 mm)
Given by Mrs George Jones, 1871
Primary Collection
NPG 316a(122)

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  • John Horne Tooke (1736-1812), Radical politician; MP and philologist. Sitter associated with 49 portraits.

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'one of the wisest and most judicious friends [I] ever encountered' Sir Francis Chantrey on John Horne Tooke, quoted in Fraser's Magazine, 1850
Chantrey was one of the first artists to experiment with the camera lucida. In this early drawn example he concentrates on the outlines of his subject's profile, and has annotated dimensions of his sitter's head. The marble bust related to this drawing (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Art and was Chantrey's first great success, securing commissions worth £12,000.
The radical politician Horne Tooke was introduced to Chantrey by the artist John Raphael Smith. This drawing was made soon after Horne Tooke was released from prison, after being wrongly accused of planning an uprising.

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Current affairs

Serious 'Burdett and Liberty' riots break out in London in support of radical MP Sir Francis Burdett who had been arrested for denouncing the House of Common's decision to bar journalists from some debates. Princess Amelia dies triggering renewed bout of illness in her father, George III.

Art and science

Sir Walter Scott publishes his chivalrous, medieval ballad, The Lady of the Lake, set on Loch Katrine in Perthshire. Kennett and Avon Trunk Canal is completed. First Savings Bank is set up by financier Henry Duncan.


Madame De Stael writes De l'Allemagne which portrays Germany as a model of Romantic nationalism for emerging revolutionary nations. It was banned by Napoleon but published in London to great acclaim. Lisbon besieged. Wellington takes shelter behind the fortified lines of the Torres Vedras and the French army are forced to retreat.

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