© National Portrait Gallery, London
by (George) Herbert Watkins Click on the links below to find out more
albumen print, late 1850s
7 1/2 in. x 5 5/8 in. (191 mm x 143 mm) ova\l
- Samuel Wilberforce (1805-1873), Bishop of Oxford and of Winchester; son of William Wilberforce. Sitter in 84 portraits.
Palmerston passes the Matrimonial Causes Act in the face of parliamentary opposition. The act establishes divorce courts, although women, unlike men, are not allowed to sue for divorce on the grounds of adultery. The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition is held, a follow-up to the Great Exhibition of 1851, although highlighting Britain's private art collections rather than industry and technology. More than 1.3 million people visit the event.
Art and science
Elizabeth Gaskell publishes The Life of Charlotte Brontë
, a year after the author's death. The controversial biography consolidates the myth of the Brontë sisters as isolated geniuses living in remote Yorkshire.Illustrator George Scharf becomes the first Secretary of the National Portrait Gallery, overseeing the collection's growth and its several moves around London before a permanent home is established in 1896, the year after Scharf's death.
The Indian Mutiny takes place following the insensitive response of the British army to complaints by Muslim and Hindu sepoys about using animal grease on their gun cartridges, which results in a horrific and violent uprising. The event precipitated a more involved role by the British government in India, taking over responsibility from the East India company.