Contempt of Court (includes Arthur Orton; George Borman Skipworth; Colin Blackburn, Baron Blackburn of Killearn and 34 other figures)

1 portrait of Arthur Orton

Contempt of Court (includes Arthur Orton; George Borman Skipworth; Colin Blackburn, Baron Blackburn of Killearn and 34 other figures), by Godefroy Durand, published 1874 - NPG D42341 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Contempt of Court (includes Arthur Orton; George Borman Skipworth; Colin Blackburn, Baron Blackburn of Killearn and 34 other figures)

by Godefroy Durand
wood engraving, published 1874
11 5/8 in. x 15 3/8 in. (294 mm x 391 mm) paper size
Given by Constantia Nicolaides, 2012
Reference Collection
NPG D42341

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During the Tichborne Trials, the most controversial court cases of the Victorian age and two of the longest in English legal history, there were a number of convictions of contempt of court. These contempt of court cases highlighted the imbalance in freedom of speech, resulting in restricted press commentary on the trial until its close.

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Current affairs

Disraeli becomes Prime Minister for the second time, winning the general election and giving the Conservative party its first absolute majority since the 1840s.
Professional opportunities for women develop, with the opening of the London School of Economics to women, the foundation of the London School of Medicine for Women and the Women's Protective and Provident League.

Art and science

The Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Printmakers, etc., including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Camille Pissarro organise an exhibition in Paris. Art critic Louis Leroy gives the group its name, criticising Monet's Impression, Sunrise for being merely an unfinished 'impression'. Impressionism becomes recognisable for techniques such as short, broken brushstrokes barely conveying forms, pure unblended colours, and an emphasis on the effects of light.


Britain annexes the Gold Coast, the region on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, now the independent nation of Ghana, following the second Ashanti war. The Treaty of Fomena secured massive financial reparations for the British, and strengthened their hold on the prosperous resources and trade routes in the regions. However, weakening the Ashanti tribe greatly destabilised the area.

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Dr Laurie Durand

16 March 2018, 22:07

Godefroy Durand was my great great grandfather. He was of French heritage but born in Dusseldorf in what was then Prussia, in 1832. He lived in London for many years and had two sons by his wife Emily, who tragically died when their younger son was only a few months old. He returned to Paris and died there in 1896. His sons emigrated to South Africa and Canada. His own father, Francois, was a lacemaker who later became a Photographic Artist and also lived in London in the 1870s.

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