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Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton

12 of 19 portraits of Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, by Bourne & Shepherd, 1877 - NPG x13100 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton

by Bourne & Shepherd
albumen cabinet card, 1877
5 3/8 in. x 3 7/8 in. (136 mm x 99 mm)
Purchased, 1979
Photographs Collection
NPG x13100

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  • Bourne & Shepherd (founded 1863), Photographers. Artist associated with 44 portraits.

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  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 91 Read entry

    The only son of the novelist Lord Lytton, Edward Lytton was a distinguished if flamboyant colonial administrator, and one of the century's worst and most prolific poets: 'his massed jewels glitter against no background, and the eye becomes confused and fatigued with their dazzle. Some, also, are unquestionably paste, and many are not his property' (Richard Garnett). By contrast, 'as a prose writer Lytton takes high rank; his minutes and despatches were the admiration of the India Office'.

    These photographs were taken in India in 1877, in the year that Lytton as Viceroy proclaimed Queen Victoria Empress of India at Delhi. They are by the leading firm of photographers in India, founded by Samuel Bourne (1834-1912) and Charles Shepherd, which had studios in Simla, Bombay and Calcutta. They show something of Lytton's histrionic tendencies, and his love of dressing up: the one in his Viceroy's robes, the other in academical dress (by him is a cast of P. J. Mane's bronze The Accolade).

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Current affairs

Trial 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 science

The 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.

International

The 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'.

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