Sir Leslie Stephen

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir Leslie Stephen

by George Glanville
albumen carte-de-visite, circa 1870
3 1/8 in. x 2 1/8 in. (78 mm x 54 mm) image size, oval
Given by Cordelia Curle (née Fisher), 1959
Photographs Collection
NPG x18075

Sitterback to top

  • Sir Leslie Stephen (1832-1904), Writer, philosopher, mountaineer and first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography; Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Sitter in 13 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • George Glanville (born circa 1846), Photographer. Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This is the earliest portrait of Stephen in the Gallery's Collection. He is shown at the time of his emergence as a public figure following the publication of The Playground of Europe (1871), a classic account of climbing in the Alps. The book recounted Stephen's nine 'first ascents' of peaks in the Alps and confirmed his reputation as an outstanding mountaineer. He later wrote 'I am much inclined to measure a man's moral excellence by his love of walking.'

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1870back to top

Current affairs

William Edward Forster's Education Act is passed, making provisions for education for all under-13s. It demonstrated the balance in Gladstone's first ministry between progressive reform and conservativism by spreading literacy, whilst maintaining the status of Church schools.
The Married Women's Property Act gives wives rights over their own earnings.

Art and science

The Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet, based on Shakespeare's play and written with the aid of composer Mily Balakirev, debuts in Moscow, conducted by Nikolai Rubenstein.
W. G. Grace becomes cricket captain of Gloucestershire, marking the start of a successful decade for the club in which they won three 'Champion County' titles.

International

Isaac Butt, an Irish MP at Westminster, forms the Home Rule Association.
The Franco-Prussian war breaks out between France and a coalition of German states led by Prussia. Provoked by the candidacy of German Prince Leopold Hohenzollen-Sigmaringen for the Spanish throne, France declared war in July after Bismark published the deliberately provocative Ems telegraph, in which the French were represented in an offensive light on the issue.

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