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William Ewart Gladstone

(1809-1898), Prime Minister and writer; Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery

Early Victorian Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter associated with 324 portraits
Famous as the ‘grand old man’ of British politics; Gladstone was leader of the Liberal Party and prime minister in four governments from 1868 to 1894. Gladstone was responsible for major reforms in every sphere of national life, and for the development of imperial foreign policy. He divided the party on the issue of Irish Home Rule and stamped his moral authority on the politics of his time. Gladstone’s father, John Gladstone was one of the largest owners of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean and this wealth supported Gladstone’s early career in politics. As a politician, Gladstone supported the proposal to compensate slave-owners for the loss of their ‘property’ after slavery was abolished and the introduction of the apprenticeship system that required newly freed Africans to continue working for their masters for four to six years.

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The House of Commons, 1833, by Sir George Hayter - NPG 54

The House of Commons, 1833

by Sir George Hayter
oil on canvas, 1833-1843
On display in Room 12 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 54

William Ewart Gladstone, by Carlo Pellegrini - NPG 1978

William Ewart Gladstone

by Carlo Pellegrini
watercolour, published in Vanity Fair 6 February 1869
NPG 1978

William Ewart Gladstone, by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt - NPG 3637

William Ewart Gladstone

by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt
oil on canvas, 1879
On display in Room 19 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 3637

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