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Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

3 of 6 portraits by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour

by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
oil on canvas, exhibited 1891
50 in. x 36 1/4 in. (1270 mm x 921 mm)
Given by William Henry Smith, 3rd Viscount Hambleden, 1938
Primary Collection
NPG 2949

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Current affairs

The Irish Nationalist leader Charles Parnell is forced to resign after being named in the divorce proceedings brought by William O'Shea against his wife Kitty, who had been Parnell's mistress for a decade. The scandal severely damages the campaign for the Home Rule Bill, contributing greatly to its subsequent failure. Parnell's health also suffered; he contracted rheumatic fever and died a few months after resigning.

Art and science

Thomas Hardy's publishes Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a tragedy which explores the consequences of the young Tess's seduction by the wealthy Alec D'Urberville. In the novel, Hardy sets forward his major concerns about the individual's powerlessness before fate, whilst radically critiquing the hypocritical double standards of contemporary morals.

International

The construction of Trans-Siberian railway, the longest single rail system in Russia, begins in the Urals and at Vladivostock. Running between Moscow and Vladivostock, work was completed in 1917.
The German aviation pioneer Otto Lilenthal takes off in the first glider from a hill near Potsdam, the first of many guided flights and an important step in the development of aerial technology.

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