'After Prison - The Claimant' (Arthur Orton)

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'After Prison - The Claimant' (Arthur Orton)

by Herbert Rose Barraud
albumen cabinet card, circa 1884
5 5/8 in. x 3 7/8 in. (142 mm x 97 mm) image size
Purchased, 1987
Photographs Collection
NPG x29189

Sitterback to top

  • Arthur Orton (1834-1898), The Tichborne Claimant. Sitter in 24 portraits.

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This portraitback to top

Orton was released from prison after ten years in 1884. He emerged having lost weight and still insisting he was Roger Tichborne. It became clear he did not wish to become politically involved with the movement that had evolved with the Magna Charta Association, opting instead to appear in circuses and music halls, cashing in on his celebrity status. The movement quickly collapsed with Orton free and his indifference apparent, and with the loss of its main figures, Edward Kenealy, Guildford Onslow and George Whalley who had all died between 1878 and 1882. Orton's career was a failure and he died in poverty. He was buried in an unmarked grave, although the Tichborne family allowed for Sir Roger Tichborne's name to appear on his coffin. Thousands attended his funeral in Paddington Cemetery.

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Events of 1884back to top

Current affairs

The Third Reform Act further reduces the financial threshold for voters, extending the franchise to all householders in the counties, achieving uniformity with those in the boroughs, and effectively doubling the electorate from 2.5 million to just under 5 million.
Foundation of the socialist group, the Fabian Society. The group quickly grows in size, including members Eleanor Marx, George Bernard Shaw and Beatrice Webb.

Art and science

Under the editorship of James Murray, the Oxford English Dictionary begins publication, with the tenth and final volume appearing 1928. The idea for a historical dictionary of the English language had been conceived by members of the Philological Society in 1857, including Frederick Furnivall, and some 800 voluntary readers contributed to the immense project.


Germany annexes Southwest Africa, Togoland, the Cameroons, and Tanganyike, and launches the scramble for Africa as it becomes the third largest colonial power in the continent. Bismarck also invites the European powers to a West Africa conference in Berlin, which, carving up the map of Africa between them, regulates colonial practice, frees trade and prohibits slavery, formally marking the start of the New Imperialism which would flourish until World War I.

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