2 of 2 portraits of Robert Emmet
by William Read, after Unknown artist
stipple and line engraving, 1841
16 in. x 11 7/8 in. (407 mm x 302 mm) plate size; 20 3/8 in. x 14 3/8 in. (519 mm x 365 mm) paper size
Given by the daughter of compiler William Fleming MD, Mary Elizabeth Stopford (née Fleming), 1931
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Artistsback to top
This portraitback to top
This print records his celebrated speech during the trial, which was widely distributed and became a benchmark of radical rhetoric. His hasty execution the following day confirmed his romantic status and was hailed as a martyr to republicanism. His inclusion in the Northern Star series reflects the consistent Chartist opposition to British rule in Ireland. It was reportedly the most popular print of the series.
Events of 1841back to top
Current affairsSir Robert Peel's second term as Prime Minister. Peel replaces the Whig Prime Minister Lord Melbourne after a Conservative general election victory. The English comic periodical Punch is first published, under the auspices of engraver Ebenezer Landells and writer Henry Mayhew, and quickly establishes itself as a radical commentary on the arts, politics and current affairs, notable for its heavily satirised cartoons.
Art and scienceThomas Carlyle publishes his set of lectures On Heroes and Hero Worship, in which he attempts to connect past heroic figures to significant figures form the present. William Henry Fox Talbot invents the calotype process, in which photographs were developed from negatives. This allowed for multiple copies of images to be made, and was the basis of modern, pre-digital, photographic processing.
InternationalSigning of the Straits Convention, an international agreement between Britain, France, Prussia, Austria, Russia and Turkey, denying access to non-Ottoman warships through the seas connecting the Mediterranean and the Black Seas, a major concession by Russia. Whilst signalling a spirit of co-operation, the convention emphasises the decline of the Ottoman Empire.
Exhibitions and displays
- Framing the Face: Collars and Ruffs
Until 16 July
- Reproducing Fame: Printmakers and the Nineteenth Century Stage
Until 2 July
- Portrait of the Day: Augustus Pugin
31 January, 12:30