10 of 12 portraits of George Eliot
by London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company, after Mayall
albumen cabinet card, circa 1881 (1858)
5in. x 3 7/8in. (145 mm x 98 mm)
Given by H.J. Plenderleith, 1951
Sitterback to top
- George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross (n?e Evans)) (1819-1880), Novelist. Sitter associated with 12 portraits.
Artistsback to top
This portraitback to top
Eliot’s journal notes that she and her life partner, George Henry Lewes, sat to the successful Regent Street photographer John E. Mayall on 26 February 1858. This postcard is a later reproduction of that original image, which was widely circulated for years after it was initially taken by Mayall. Eliot didn't like the portrait and while she sent a copy to her friend, Cara Bray, she asked her not to hang it in a well-frequented room. She later told her publisher, John Blackwood, that 'I have rather a horror of photography. Mayall took one a couple of years ago [...] but it is not thoroughly satisfactory.'
Events of 1858back to top
Current affairsAfter Palmerston's government collapses, the Earl of Derby becomes Prime Minister for second time, again heading a minority government.
The Property qualification for MPs is abolished; one of the demands made by the Chartists, this allowed men who did not own property to stand as parliamentary candidates. Lionel Nathan Rothschild becomes the first Jew to sit in Britain's House of Commons, taking his oath on the Old Testament.
Art and scienceThe pianist Charles Hall? founds a symphony orchestra in Manchester, the Halle; now Britain's oldest professional orchestra. The Hall? symphony rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, under the tenure of conductor John Barbirolli, during which time they made many recordings, including Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony No. 8.
InternationalThe British Crown assumes control of India from the East India Company.
The Treaty of Tientsin, ending the Second Opium War, gives European powers new rights to intervene in Chinese affairs
The Fenian Brotherhood is founded by John O'Mahony, an Irish emigrant to the United States, to support Irish republican ambitions.
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