© National Portrait Gallery, London
Group including Isambard Kingdom Brunel
probably by Robert Howlett Click on the links below to find out more
albumen print, arched top, circa 1857
8 in. x 6 1/4 in. (204 mm x 160 mm)
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
- Robert Howlett (1830-1858), Photographer. Artist associated with 12 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.