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Joseph Blanco White

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Joseph Blanco White

by Joseph Slater
pencil and wash, 1812
7 3/4 in. x 6 1/4 in. (197 mm x 159 mm)
Given by Roland Heath, 1951
Primary Collection
NPG 3788

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Joseph Slater (circa 1779-1837), Painter and draughtsman. Artist associated with 127 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Foister, Susan, Cardinal Newman 1801-90, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 20 May 1990), p. 17 Read entry

    Born into a family of Irish Catholic merchants who had settled in Spain two generations earlier and translated their name to 'Blanco', Joseph Blanco White became a Catholic during the Napoleonic Wars, added 'White' to his name, and became a political writer. On regaining his religious faith he became an Anglican clergyman in 1814 as well as a prolific political writer. In 1826 White was made an MA by Oxford University and became a member of the Oriel common-room, where he played the violin with Newman and became a particular friend of Whateley. In 1828 he was appointed editor of the London Review, to which Newman contributed an essay on 'Poetry with reference to Aristotle's Poetics'. Blanco White moved to Dublin when Whateley became Archbishop there, but his views became increasingly liberal and rational, and in 1835 he settled in Liverpool as a Unitarian, much to Newman's distress - he regarded this 'defection' as an example of the 'flood of scepticism' faced by the Church (Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: A Biography, Oxford, 1988, p 119); from then on, 'he [Blanco White' made himself dead to me' (J. H. Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, second edition of 1865, in Newman: Prose and Poetry, selected by Geoffrey Tillotson, London, 1957, p 587). In his authobiography White wrote that Newman's 'sudden union with the most violent bigots was inexplixable to me'. (Quoted in J. H. Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua, second edition of 1865, in Newman: Prose and Poetry, selected by Geoffrey Tillotson, London, 1957, pp 613-4).

    Slater's drawing was executed two years after Jospeh Blanco White's arrival in England.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 658
  • Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 552

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1812back to top

Current affairs

Prime Minister Spencer Perceval is assassinated in the lobby of the House of Commons by a bankrupt named John Bellingham. A new administration is formed under Lord Liverpool.
The Toleration Act is passed giving greater freedom of worship to dissenters in order to ensure their political loyalty.

Art and science

Actress Sarah Siddons retires from the London stage. Her final appearance is as Lady Macbeth, the role that made her famous, but the performance has to end after the sleepwalking scene because of the fervour of the audience.
Building of Regent's Canal begins under John Rennie.


United States declares war on Britain over grievances arising from British naval conduct in the French wars. American plan for attack on Canada fails and British troops under Sir Edward Pakenham force surrender of Detroit.
Wellington defeats French at Salamanca and enters Madrid.
Napoleon leads France in disastrous Russian campaign.

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