The Relief of Lucknow, 1857
The Relief of Lucknow, 1857
by Thomas Jones Barker
oil on canvas, 1859
41 1/2 in. x 71 3/8 in. (1054 mm x 1813 mm)
Artistback to top
- Thomas Jones Barker (1815-1882), Painter of portraits and military subjects. Artist associated with 6 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
Sittersback to top
- Sir Archibald Alison, 2nd Bt (1826-1907), General. Sitter in 2 portraits. Identify
- Colonel Alison. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Captain Allgood. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Major Hon. A.H. Anson. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Sir David Baird, 3rd Bt (1832-1913), Army officer and landowner. Sitter in 5 portraits. Identify
- Colin Campbell, 1st Baron Clyde (1792-1863), Field Marshal. Sitter in 26 portraits. Identify
- Colonel Crawford. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Captain Forster. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Sir James Hope Grant (1808-1875), General; brother of Sir Francis Grant. Sitter in 7 portraits. Identify
- William Wilberforce Harris Greathed (1826-1878), Major-General. Sitter in 2 portraits. Identify
- Lieutenant Harwood. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Sir Henry Havelock, Bt (1795-1857), General. Sitter associated with 6 portraits. Identify
- Hon. Adrian Hope (1821-1858), Soldier. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- John James Hope-Johnstone (1842-1912), Lieutenant and politician. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Sir John Eardley Wilmot Inglis (1814-1862), Major-General. Sitter in 3 portraits. Identify
- Thomas Henry Kavanagh (1822-1882), Assistant Commissioner at Oudh; awarded civilian VC for his services during The Relief of Lucknow. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Colonel Little (active 1857). Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- James Metcalfe (1817-1888), Lieutenant-Colonel. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- William Robert Moorsom (1834-1858), Aide-de-camp to Sir Henry Havelock. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Robert Cornelis Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala (1810-1890), Field Marshal. Sitter in 27 portraits. Identify
- Sir Henry Wylie Norman (1826-1904), Field Marshal and colonial governor. Sitter in 11 portraits. Identify
- Sir James Outram, 1st Bt (1803-1863), Lieutenant-General. Sitter in 10 portraits. Identify
- Sir William Peel (1824-1858), Naval captain. Sitter in 2 portraits. Identify
- Major Probyn. Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts (1832-1914), Field Marshal. Sitter in 81 portraits. Identify
- Brigadier General Russell (active 1859). Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
- William Rose Mansfield, 1st Baron Sandhurst (1819-1876), General. Sitter in 5 portraits. Identify
- Patrick Stewart (1832-1865), Soldier. Sitter in 2 portraits. Identify
- Captain Watson (active 1857). Sitter in 1 portrait. Identify
This portraitback to top
This painting represents one of the key events of the Indian Rebellion or Mutiny of 1857. The siege of Lucknow, which had lasted from July, was raised by Sir Colin Campbell, the new commander of the British armies, on 17 November. Sir James Outram and Sir Henry Havelock, who died only a week later, had brought reinforcements to bolster the small number of troops initially under siege. British public opinion was profoundly shocked by the scale of the mutiny and by the loss of life on both sides; the massacre of captured Europeans, and the indiscriminate killing of Indian soldiers and civilians by the British armies.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Audio Guide
- Smartify image discovery app
- Victorian Portraits Resource Pack, p. 22
- Bayly, Christopher, The Raj: India and the British 1600-1947, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 19 October 1990 - 17 March 1991), p. 247
- Funnell, Peter, Victorian Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery Collection, 1996, p. 22
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 727
- Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 72, 171 Read entry
Gilt compo on pine, mitred and pinned with triangular corner blocks, a diagonal pattern of strapwork and florettes in the scoop, Moresque ornament on the top and back edges, the two inner semi-circular fillets and the corner bosses burnished, the frame heavily restored on acquisition in 1985. 6 3⁄ 4 inches wide plus 1 7⁄ 8 inch slip.
The little-known Victorian history painter, Thomas Jones Barker, had a taste for elaborate frames, witness his Spanish Officers surrendering Swords to Nelson (Government Art Collection, on loan to the Admiralty) and The Secret of England's Greatness (NPG 4969). Some of his paintings were widely exhibited to promote the sale of the related engravings and for this purpose a spectacular frame was deemed necessary.
This picture of the relief of Lucknow, a key event in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, is appropriately housed in a frame decorated with trophies of flags and cannons. These were either modelled or cast in compo. If the trophies were removed, one would be left with a frame of Alhambra type with a scoop finished in a diaper pattern not unlike that of the frame on John Ballantyne's Sir Francis Grant (NPG 5239).
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1859back to top
Current affairsFormation of the first Liberal cabinet, following the dissolution of Parliament in light of the Liberal and opposition member Lord Russell's introduction of a resolution arguing for widening the franchise, carried because the Conservatives, the ruling party, only have a minority. Palmerston holds a meeting of Whigs, Peelites and Radicals, from which the Liberal Party is formed, and the Queen later invites him to become Prime Minister.
Art and scienceCharles Darwin's The Origin of the Species is published, in which he sets out his theory of evolution based on the process of natural selection, species mutation, and survival of the fittest.
The engineer Joseph Bazalgette begins work on constructing the London sewerage system, following the 'Big Stink' of the preceding summer. Bazalgette's system, now extended, continues to serve London.
InternationalOutbreak of war between an alliance of France and Italian nationalists, and Austria. Napoleon III signs an armistice with Austria. However, pressure from Britain, supporting Italian unification to counterweight French and Austrian influence, leads to success for Italian nationalists.
The first oil well is drilled in America, after Edwin Drake's discovery in Titusville, Pennsylvania, transforming a quiet farming region into Oil Creek.
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