William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne(1779-1848), Prime Minister
Sitter associated with 159 portraits
Melbourne was a Whig MP from 1806, Irish Secretary under Canning and Home Secretary under Lord Grey, 1830-34. After Grey's resignation he was appointed Prime Minister, a position he held twice (1834, 1835-41). He married the poet Lady Caroline Lamb in 1805 but they separated in 1825 following her infamous affair with the Romantic poet Lord Byron. Melbourne advised the young Queen Victoria and she became very devoted to him, to the extent that she was criticised for too partisan an approach to political issues, and rumours of a romantic attachment between them proliferated in the early days of her reign.
by James Gillray, published by Robert Wilkinson, after William Humphrey
crayon manner engraving, published 1 November 1781
by John ('HB') Doyle, printed by Charles Etienne Pierre Motte, published by Thomas McLean
lithograph, published 17 May 1831
- Lady Caroline Lamb (wife)
- George Lamb (brother)
- Peniston Lamb (brother)
- Elizabeth Lamb (née Milbanke), Viscountess Melbourne (mother)
- Frederick James Lamb, 3rd Viscount Melbourne (brother)
- Emily Mary ('Amelia') (née Lamb), Viscountess Palmerston (sister)
View a wide collection of video content on our YouTube channel from past projects to our latest films.
Artist and sitter interviews
Get insights into creating portraiture from BP Portrait Award 2020 artists and their sitters.
Watch our film created to say ‘goodbye’ to the Gallery before we closed for our major transformation project.