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Charles George Gordon

2 of 3 portraits by Lady Julia Abercromby

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Charles George Gordon

by Lady Julia Abercromby
watercolour, after 1885
23 1/2 in. x 19 1/2 in. (597 mm x 495 mm)
Given by wish of Lady Julia Abercromby, 1916
Primary Collection
NPG 1772

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Current affairs

Redistribution Act; continues Gladstone's extensive package of electoral reform, although his Liberal government is later defeated when the Irish Nationalists, seeking support for Home Rule, side with the Conservatives over a budget measure. The Marquess of Salisbury is invited to form a 'caretaker' government.

Art and science

The Dictionary of National Biography is first published quarterly, under the editorship of Leslie Stephen, and sub-editorship of Sidney Lee. Volume 63 completed the work in 1900. Setting new standards in life writing, the DNB exemplified the form of the brief biography, formalising a style and approach to writing lives, based on Stephen's guiding principles of selection and presentation in 'business-like form'.

International

The death of the famous General Charles Gordon sparks outrage in Britain. Sent to the Sudan to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum, threatened by Sudanese rebels under Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi, Khartoum quickly came under siege, and Gordon is killed and beheaded two days before the relief force arrived. The British public proclaimed Gordon a martyr, and attacked government, particularly Gladstone, for not relieving British forces earlier.

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