The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield

by (Cornelius) Jabez Hughes
carbon cabinet card, 22 July 1878
5 1/8 in. x 3 5/8 in. (130 mm x 93 mm) image size
Given by Mrs W.O. (Elfrida) Manning (née Thornycroft), 1958
Photographs Collection
NPG x665

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

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. 95 Read entry

    Few would have predicted that the young Disraeli, restless, romantic and Jewish, was to become a great statesman. But by sheer ability he gradually asserted his influence on the Tory party, becoming Prime Minister in 1868. He guided the passage of the second Reform Bill, and his diplomatic triumphs included the purchase of the Suez Canal and the Congress of Berlin (1878). Unlike Gladstone he was a debator rather than an orator, possessed a sense of humour, and was, in addition, a prolific novelist, whose Coningsby (1844) and Sybil, or the Two Nations (1845) are among the earliest political novels in English, and distinguished by their concern for major social issues.

    Again, unlike his rival, Disraeli was the intimate friend of Queen Victoria whom he nicknamed 'The Faery', and their relationship amounted almost to a romance. This carefully composed portrait was taken by her command at Osborne on the day that Disraeli was created a Knight of the Garter. The photographer Hughes is first recorded in 1848, as running a daguerreotype studio in Glasgow. He worked subsequently as assistant to Mayall, on the Strand, London, and from 1861 had his own studio at Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where he was extensively patronized by the Queen.

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1878back to top

Current affairs

The University of London becomes the first English university to admit women to examination and degree, although women had been allowed to attend classes at the University since 1830.
The former British Prime Minister Lord John Russell dies at Pembroke Lodge, in Surrey.

Art and science

Libel trial between critic John Ruskin and artist Whistler, provoked after Ruskin's review of Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket accused Whistler of 'flinging a pot of paint in the public's face'. Whistler sued Ruskin, and although Ruskin was found guilty, he only had to pay one farthing in damages; the case bankrupted Whistler.
Frederic Leighton, the renowned painter and sculptor is elected President of the Royal Academy.


The Treaty of Berlin is signed following the end of the Turkish-Russo war (1877-8). In a major shake-up of the Balkans, Bulgaria became autonomous, and Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania gained independence and territory, and Bosnia-Herzegovina was assigned to Austria for administration. The British delegation, including Lord Russell and Disraeli, score diplomatic success in limiting Russian influence in the Balkans, continuing to prop up Turkey.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.