Gwyllym Lloyd Wardle

Gwyllym Lloyd Wardle, by Arthur William Devis, 1809 - NPG 4265 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Gwyllym Lloyd Wardle

by Arthur William Devis
oil on canvas, 1809
18 1/4 in. x 14 1/4 in. (464 mm x 362 mm)
Purchased, 1962
Primary Collection
NPG 4265

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Arthur William Devis (1762-1822), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 38 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

This portrait was painted at the climax of Wardle's career when, as MP for Okehampton, he exposed the scandals arising from the association of the Duke of York with Mary Anne Clarke, in particular the sale of army commissions. The Duke was compelled to resign as Commander-in-Chief and, in April 1809, Wardle was awarded the freedom of the City of London. The portrait shows him with his right hand resting on some documents and although this is a conventional device the papers assume greater significance in the light of the scandal. The idyllic landscape in the distance is likely to represent Devon. Numerous caricatures of Wardle, Clarke and the Duke of York were published at the time, including The Welsh Rat-Catcher which appeared in The Satirist and incorporated Devis's portrait.

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Events of 1809back to top

Current affairs

Duke of Portland resigns as Prime Minister to be succeeded by Spencer Perceval.
Motion for parliamentary reform is defeated in the House of Commons.
Notorious duel between George Canning and Viscount Castlereagh over strategic failures against Napoleon.

Art and science

Maria Edgeworth publishes Tales of Fashionable Life, a popular and perceptive series of stories exploring Anglo-Irish society after the Union.
Robert Smirke completes the New Covent Garden Theatre after fire. 'Old Price' theatre riots quickly break out against rising cost of admission.
Pall Mall in London is lit by gas for the first time.


British army lands in Lisbon and defeats the French at Talavera. Arthur Wellesley is created Viscount Wellington as a result of this victory.
Walcheren expedition led by General Chatham, which aimed to take Antwerp, fails amidst allegations of military corruption and carnage.
James Madison is elected President of the United States.

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