William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone
by William Currey
carbon cabinet card, 6 August 1877
5 5/8 in. x 3 3/8 in. (143 mm x 85 mm)
Given by executors of Cecil Beaton, 1980
Sitterback to top
- William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), Prime Minister and writer; Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery. Sitter associated with 321 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 93 Read entry
No English politician has been more intensely loved or more fervently hated than Gladstone. A man of formidable intelligence and energy and of wide interests - he gave the same attention to everything that he put his mind to - he was a force in British politics for more than sixty years, serving as prime minister no less than four times, and equalled as an orator only by Bright. He died, according to Lord Salisbury 'a great Christian man'.
He pursued his leisure activities with equal intensity, and his favourite pastime was cutting down trees, a taste which he acquired on the Duke of Newcastle's estate at Clumber. Here he is seen at his Welsh home, his wife's estate of Hawarden Castle, taking a brief respite from wood-chopping. It is a fitting image of a politician in opposition (he was between ministries), taken by the little-known photographer Currey of Bolton and Manchester. Its publication, along with three others from the same sitting, was noticed in The British Journal of Photography on 7 September 1877, as affording 'a peep behind the scenes in connection with the private life of this energetic statesman.
the expression on the face is … perhaps the finest we have ever seen of this gentleman, an immense amount of latent power being apparent, ready to be displayed at a moment's notice'.
Placesback to top
- Place made and portrayed: United Kingdom: Wales, Flintshire (sitter's home, Hawarden Castle, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales)
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- The Beautiful and the Damned (6 June 2001 - 7 October 2001)
Events of 1877back to top
Current affairsTrial of social activists Annie Besant and Charles Bradlaugh following their publication of a book by the American birth-control campaigner Charles Knowlton, which suggested that working class families should be able to practice birth control. Although found guilty, the case was thrown out on a technical fault.
Art and scienceThe Grosevenor Gallery opens, founded by Sir Coutts Lindsay, as a rival to the Royal Academy. It exhibited work by artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and Walter Crane, outside of the British mainstream, and became famous as the home of the Aesthetic movement.
The first Lawn Tennis Championship is held at Wimbledon with around 20 male competitors, witnessed by a few hundred spectators. Spencer Gore the first singles champion, wins 12 guineas.
InternationalThe American inventor Thomas Edison invents the tin foil phonograph, combining the technologies of the telegraph and telephone. Experimenting with a stylus on a tinfoil cylinder, he recorded and played back the short message 'Mary had a little lamb'.
Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.
Subjects and themes
Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!
Black History Month
Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.
A Picture of Health
Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.
Tell us more
Framed & unframed prints
Choose your favourite portrait from our Collection as a framed or unframed print for your home.