Discover significant anniversaries relating to the sitters and artists in the National Portrait Gallery’s collections.
Anne of Denmark
By John De Critz the Elder, circa 1605-1610, NPG 6918
2019 marks 400 years since the death of Anne of Denmark. After her death on 2 March, her art collection passed to her son, the future King Charles I. Anne was buried in Westminster Abbey, where the head of her wooden funeral effigy can still be seen today.
Also in 1619
The first records of Africans in British North American colonies date from this year. Although they were not the first Africans in the Atlantic world, this year is often seen by historians as marking the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade.
By unknown artist, background by Hendrik van Steenwyck, circa 1635, NPG 1247
2019 marks 350 years since the death of Henrietta Maria. A widow since 1649, she returned from England to her home country of France in 1665 to improve her failing health but died four years later at Colombes, her château on the outskirts of Paris, on 10 September.
Also in 1669
Samuel Pepys recorded his last diary entry.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
By Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1829, NPG 7032
2019 marks 250 years since the births of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, and Sir Thomas Lawrence, who were born less than three weeks apart. Wellington was born in Dublin with the surname Wesley, and did not adopt the altered version – Wellesley – that had been initiated by his elder brother, until 1798.
Lawrence showed a precocious artistic talent from a very early age. He gained attention sketching likenesses of the visitors to his father’s inn, the Black Bear on the London-to-Bath road, including the likes of Fanny Burney and David Garrick.
Also in 1769
Captain James Cook reached New Zealand and set off to chart its entire coastline.
By George Romney, circa 1700-1771, NPG 6641
2019 marks the 200 years since the death of Mary Moser. Moser died at home in London on 2 May and was buried beside her husband. She had considerable wealth at her death, providing in her will for several female friends and relatives.
Also in 1819
Cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000-80,000 people who had gathered peacefully in St Peter’s Field, Manchester to demand reforms to parliamentary representation. This became known as the Peterloo Massacre.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
Replica by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1867 based on a work of 1859, NPG 237
2019 marks 200 years since the birth of Prince Albert. He was baptized Franz Karl August Albrecht Immanuel, but Albert (Anglicized from Albrecht) was the only name ever used by his German and British families.
Also in 1819
Lord Byron published the first parts of his epic poem Don Juan, a satire on contemporary life.
By Theodore Blake Wirgman, circa 1886, NPG 3035
2019 marks 200 years since the birth of John Ruskin. He was the only child of first cousins John James Ruskin and Margaret Cox, who educated him at home until the age of fourteen. He would remain intensely close his parents until the end of their lives.
Also in 1819
British colonial official Thomas Raffles landed in the emerging trading hub, Singapura, on the Malacca Straits. Following a treaty with local rulers, it was established as a trading station known as Singapore.
After Jacob Kramer, 1932, NPG D7574
2019 marks 150 years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. He was the youngest son of Karamchand Uttamchand Gandhi, a high-ranking political figure in Porbandar, Rajkot and Wankaner, three princely states of India during the British Raj.
Also in 1869
Girton College was founded as the UK’s first residential college for women, at Cambridge University.
Statesmen of World War I
By Sir James Guthrie, 1924-1930, NPG 2463
2019 marks 100 years since the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The leaders of the victorious Allies (France, the USA and the UK) met other world leaders at the Paris Peace Conference in January to negotiate the terms of surrender and peace. The signing of the treaty at Versailles on 28 June not only officially ended the war, but also redistributed German borderlands and all its colonies, reduced its military resources, and imposed financial reparations. This led to years of economic hardship in Germany which has been linked by some historians to the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The majority of the statesmen in Guthrie’s portrait were delegates to the conference.
Also in 1919
More than 300 locals died when British troops fired on a peaceful demonstration in Amritsar, India.
Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
By Frank Salisbury, 1945, NPG L165
2019 marks 75 years since the D-Day landings in Europe. On 6 June 1944 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in the most significant seaborne invasion of the Second World War, code-named Operation Neptune. It initiated the liberation of Nazi-occupied France and marked the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Also in 1944
The Education Act made free secondary school education available to all 11-15 year olds in the UK.
By Leonard William McComb, oil on canvas, 1999, NPG 6516
2019 marks 100 years since the birth of Doris Lessing. The writer’s parents met during the First World War, after her father had to have his leg amputated and her mother nursed him back to health. They married shortly afterwards, but it was to be an unhappy partnership.
Also in 1919
Irish militant nationalist party Sinn Féin created its own parliament in Dublin and declared Ireland independent of Great Britain, sparking the Irish War of Independence.
By Tom Phillips, 1986, NPG 5944(1)
2019 marks 100 years since the birth of Iris Murdoch, in Dublin. Her family moved to London when she was very young, but she retained a deep identification with Ireland throughout her life, which is often evident in her writing.
Also in 1919
Afghanistan won back its independence from the British Empire in the third Anglo-Afghan War.
By Maurice Lambert, 1956, NPG 6033
2019 marks 100 years since the birth of Margot Fonteyn. She was the only child of a civil engineer and his Irish-Brazilian wife. Fonteyn claimed to have inherited her musicality and sense of rhythm from her mother, and from her father a tenacity and perfectionism that aided her rise to ballet stardom.
Also in 1919
US-born Lady Astor became the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons, as MP for Plymouth Sutton.