13 of 13 portraits of George Byng
by William Holl Jr, after Sir George Hayter
stipple engraving, published 1840
11 in. x 7 3/4 in. (279 mm x 196 mm) plate size; 17 1/8 in. x 11 7/8 in. (434 mm x 301 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Sitterback to top
- George Byng (1764-1847), Politician; MP for Middlesex. Sitter associated with 13 portraits.
Artistsback to top
Events of 1840back to top
Current affairsVictoria marries her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; he is given the title of Prince Consort.
The Penny Black stamp is introduced by Rowland Hill; the first pre-paid, self-adhesive stamp, it marks the start of the modern postal system.
The start of the Irish potato famine, which by the time of its peak in 1851, had caused the deaths of one million, and contributed to the sharp rise of emigration from Ireland to England and America.
Art and scienceBeau Brummel, the fashion leader responsible for sparking the culture of 'Dandyism', dies of syphilis.
The first stone is laid on the new Houses of Parliament, based on the gothic designs by the architects Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. The old buildings had burned down in 1834, following a blaze caused by burning wooden tallies used by the Exchequer to calculate tax.
InternationalThe Afghans surrender to Britain during the Afghan-British war (1839-42). The war was sparked by British fear over Russian influence in Afghanistan, with the British East India Company resolving to depose the Afghan leader, Dost Muhammad, who was insistent on Afghan independence, and restore the former leader Shoja Shah.
The Maoris yield sovereignty of New Zealand under the Treaty of Waitangi.