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The British Army in Egypt

4 of 5 portraits of Sir Hildebrand Oakes

The British Army in Egypt, by Anthony Cardon, after  Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg, published 1806 - NPG D1368 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The British Army in Egypt

by Anthony Cardon, after Philippe Jacques de Loutherbourg
stipple engraving, published 1806
Reference Collection
NPG D1368

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The glories of the 1801 campaign against the French in Egypt are recalled in this engraving of 1806, which was probably sold by subscription. Soldiers are shown building a monument to heroism with portraits of the generals involved in the Egyptian campaign and garlands of laurel, symbolising victory. The likenesses were based on paintings by Philip James de Loutherbourg, well known for his popular contemporary battle scenes. At the very top is General Sir Ralph Abercromby who led the campaign and was mortally wounded in a failed French counter-attack. His successor General John Hely-Hutchinson, who forced the French to evacuate Cairo, is also included.

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Current affairs

William Pitt dies in January and his lifelong opponent Charles James Fox dies in September. Pitt is succeeded by William Wyndham, Baron Grenville, who forms the 'Ministry of all the Talents' coalition . Prince of Wales instigates the 'Delicate Investigation'; a Parliamentary enquiry into claims that his wife Caroline had an illegitimate child.

Art and science

John Constable embarks on a formative tour of the Lakes and makes landscape studies of the Langdale Pikes and Helvellyn. Turner exhibits his Thames views to acclaim at his own London gallery. Humphrey Davy discovers the elements potassium and sodium by passing an electrical current through molten compounds.


Soprano Angelica Catalani arrives from Italy to make her London debut, amazing audiences with her showpiece arias. Napoleon turns his forces east against Austria, Russia and Prussia and enjoys a wave of French victories. British attack on Buenos Aires under General William Beresford fails.

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