The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

(1848-1930), Prime Minister and philosopher

20th Century Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 138 portraits
Born at Whittingehame House, East Lothian and educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge; Balfour first made his mark as a philosopher, publishing A Defence of Philosophic Doubt in 1879; he entered politics in 1874 through the patronage of his uncle, Lord Salisbury, as a Conservative member for Hertford; succeeded Salisbury as Prime Minister in 1902 but was unable to keep together a party divided by issues of Free Trade and Protectionism and resigned in 1905; during the First World War he worked as First Lord of the Admiralty and, from 1916 to 1919, as Foreign Secretary; Balfour continued in politics until the age of eighty, having served for twenty-seven years as a member of the cabinet.

Watch a film clip on the sitter from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

Tell us More

1 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

List Thumbnail

'Luncheon Party at the House of Commons', probably by Roland Parker Stone, for  Benjamin Stone - NPG x135568

'Luncheon Party at the House of Commons'

probably by Roland Parker Stone, for Benjamin Stone
platinum print, 17 July 1908
NPG x135568

'Luncheon Party at the House of Commons', by Roland Parker Stone, for  Benjamin Stone - NPG x135574

'Luncheon Party at the House of Commons'

by Roland Parker Stone, for Benjamin Stone
platinum print, 29 June 1909
NPG x135574

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour; Gilbert Talbot, by Olive Edis - NPG x186

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour; Gilbert Talbot

by Olive Edis
platinum print on photographer's card mount, 1914
NPG x186

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, by Olive Edis - NPG x184

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by Olive Edis
platinum print on photographer's card mount, 1914
NPG x184

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, by Olive Edis - NPG x185

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by Olive Edis
matte bromide print on photographer's card mount, 1914
NPG x185

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, by Olive Edis - NPG x187

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by Olive Edis
platinum print on photographer's mount, 1914
NPG x187

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, by James Russell & Sons - NPG x137233

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by James Russell & Sons
vintage print, published 1916
NPG x137233

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, by Walter Stoneman, for  James Russell & Sons - NPG Ax39003

Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by Walter Stoneman, for James Russell & Sons
bromide print, circa 1916
NPG Ax39003

The Imperial War Cabinet, by Vandyk - NPG x32125

The Imperial War Cabinet

by Vandyk
10 x 12 inch glass negative, 25 June 1918
NPG x32125

The Imperial War Cabinet, by Vandyk - NPG x32126

The Imperial War Cabinet

by Vandyk
10 x 12 inch glass negative, 25 June 1918
NPG x32126

The Imperial War Cabinet, by Vandyk - NPG x32127

The Imperial War Cabinet

by Vandyk
10 x 12 inch glass negative, 25 June 1918
NPG x32127

The Imperial War Cabinet, by Vandyk - NPG x32124

The Imperial War Cabinet

by Vandyk
10 x 12 inch glass negative, 25 June 1918
NPG x32124

Media

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.

Do, draw and make!

Do, draw and make!

From building dens to food faces – enjoy our Playful Portraits activities and find out about some brilliant people!

Get Creative

Healthcare Heroes

Activities for children and families inspired by three healthcare heroes from our Collection.

Learn together

Learning resources

Downloadable and web based resources to support learning at home linked to art, history, citizenship and literacy.

Get learning