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Algernon Charles Swinburne with nine of his peers at Oxford

1 of 2 portraits of John Nichol

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© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Algernon Charles Swinburne with nine of his peers at Oxford

by Hills & Saunders
albumen print, circa 1859-1860
7 1/2 in. x 9 7/8 in. (189 mm x 251 mm) overall
Purchased, 1989
Primary Collection
NPG P416

Artistback to top

  • Hills & Saunders (active 1850-1900), Photographers. Artist or producer associated with 206 portraits.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

L-R: Joseph Frank Payne, physician (1840-1910); George Rankine Luke, scholar (1836-1862); John Warneford Hoole, scholar (1837-1902); Algernon Charles Swinburne, poet and literary reviewer (1837-1909); Thomas Hill Green, philosopher (1836-1882); John Nichol, literary scholar and writer (1833-1894); James Bryce, 1st Viscount Bryce, jurist, historian and politician (1838-1922); Albert Venn Dicey, jurist (1835-1922); Aeneas James George MacKay, legal and historical writer (1839-1911); Sir Thomas Erskine Holland, jurist (1835-1926).

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Events of 1859back to top

Current affairs

Formation 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 science

Charles 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.


Outbreak 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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Clive Simmonds

10 August 2019, 13:14

Monsman reproduces the photo too, and says 'a photo of the group was taken by Hills and Saunders, Trinity Term, 1860.'

[Gerald Monsman Oxford University's Old Mortality Society (Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1998), p.22]

He doesn't give the source of his information though the studio seems likely enough. But Rossetti's drawing dated Aug. 1860 means that 1860 can't be right for the Old Mortality group - Swinburne's hair won't have grown that quickly. And W.B. Scott's portrait, now at Balliol which is directly comparable to Rossetti's is dated in the shield "Jan. to Oct 1860" -

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