3 of 32 portraits of William Wilberforce
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1828
38 in. x 43 in. (965 mm x 1092 mm)
Given by executors of Sir Robert Harry Inglis, 2nd Bt, 1857
Sitterback to top
- William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Philanthropist and reformer. Sitter associated with 32 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 686 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The belief that heroes could inspire us led to the foundation of the National Portrait Gallery in 1856. Among the first portraits acquired was this painting of William Wilberforce the man who, between 1787 and 1833, led Britain's campaign to abolish slavery. By conjuring up the life-like presence of a
great man, this portrait characterises what the Gallery hoped portraits could do for the country.
Lawrence's unfinished portrait was said to capture 'the intellectual power and winning sweetness of the veteran statesman'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- National Portrait Gallery: 100 Portraits, p. 63
- Audio Guide
- Cooper, John, Great Britons: The Great Debate, 2002, p. 13
- Holmes, Richard; Crane, David; Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p. 139
- Levey, Michael, Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1979 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 9 November 1979 - 16 March 1980)
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 108
- Ross, Josephine, Jane Austen and her World, 2017, p. 90
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 116
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 116
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 661
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 331
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 130
- Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 554
- Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantic Icons, 1999, p. 47
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1828back to top
Current affairsDuke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister.
Madhouse Act attempts to regulate asylums and ensure new arrivals are genuinely insane.
Repeal of the Test Acts removes political restrictions from dissenters, allowing them to hold public office.
Art and scienceLondon Zoological Gardens open in Regent's Park. They provide both entertainment and a supply of exotic specimens for naturalists and anatomists such as Richard Owen who becomes a European authority on the subject.
InternationalDaniel O'Connell is elected Member of Parliament for County Clare but as a Catholic is not permitted to take his seat.
See this portrait
On display in Room 20 at the National Portrait Gallery
- 18th Century and Regency Portraits
- Collected Archives - J-M
- Thomas Lawrence Portraits
- Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance minisite
- Thomas Lawrence and picture framing
- 2. Lawrence at work
- My Favourite Portrait by Jeremy Paxman
- Director's Trail by Nicholas Cullinan
- Party Trail
- Bronze sculpture founders: a short history
- WebQuest: Heroes of Abolition
- Abolition Trail
- The Regency
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer