Charles William Vane-Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry

Charles William Vane-Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1812
56 1/2 in. x 46 3/8 in. (1435 mm x 1180 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, 1992
Primary Collection
NPG 6171

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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

In this painting Lawrence has created the ultimate Romantic military icon: a dashing cavalry officer in Hussar's uniform. He is depicted here with brilliance and swagger, wearing his Hussar uniform and the Peninsular Medal which he was awarded after the Battle of Talavera (1809). The painter and his subject were close friends and this portrait was thought to be Lawrence's best by the contemporary commentator Joseph Farrington. Its martial vitality anticipated the heroic air of the celebrated series of allied commanders Lawrence was to paint for the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor from 1814. The portrait was a turning point in Lawrence's career. In 1814, Stewart sent a print of it to the Prince Regent. The royal patronage that followed included a series of heroic portraits of the allied leaders involved in defeating Napoleon. Lawrence later acknowledged that Stewart's introduction 'led to all subsequent distinctions in my profession'.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D37415: Charles William Vane-Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (source portrait)
  • NPG D3609: Charles William Vane-Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (source portrait)
  • NPG D37416: Charles William Vane-Stewart, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry (source portrait)

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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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