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Lord William Cavendish Bentinck

5 of 25 portraits matching 'james atkinson'

Lord William Cavendish Bentinck, by James Atkinson, circa 1833 - NPG 848 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lord William Cavendish Bentinck

by James Atkinson
pencil, pen and ink, circa 1833
8 7/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (226 mm x 162 mm)
Given by the artist's son, Canon J.A. Atkinson, 1890
Primary Collection
NPG 848

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Artistback to top

  • James Atkinson (1780-1852), Army surgeon and Oriental scholar. Artist of 9 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

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William Cavendish Bentinck is noted for the social reforms he implemented during his term as Governor-General of India (1827-35). In an unprecedented move, he encouraged Indians to assume greater responsibility in their government, allowing them access to administrative positions and ignoring caste barriers when making appointments. In 1829 he challenged Indian custom by outlawing infanticide and the suicide of widows on their husbands' funeral pyres. He also suppressed the 'Thuggee' cult, whose members murdered travellers as a sacrifice to the goddess Kali. While most of his reforms were welcomed, such moves were controversial and were later condemned as flagrant examples of culturial imperialism.

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Events of 1833back to top

Current affairs

Shaftesbury's Factory Act is passed regulating women's hours and providing for the education of children working in the textile industry.
Bank Act is passed, making Bank of England notes Britain's legal tender.

Art and science

Charles Lamb publishes Last Essays of Elia after the enormous success of his earlier Essays. A comic allegorization of his humdrum clerical job they become one of the period's literary sensations.
Charles Dickens begins his series Sketches by Boz in the Monthly Magazine.


Abolition of slavery in the British Empire; 780,000 slaves are freed, £20 million is allocated as compensation for slave owners and a six year apprenticeship system for freed slaves is established.

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