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Richard Whately

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Richard Whately

by Henry Meyer, after Charles Grey
stipple engraving, 1830s-1840s
9 in. x 6 in. (229 mm x 152 mm) plate size; 9 3/8 in. x 6 3/8 in. (238 mm x 162 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D8299

Sitterback to top

  • Richard Whately (1787-1863), Archbishop of Dublin and philosopher. Sitter in 5 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • Charles Grey (circa 1808-1892). Artist associated with 5 portraits.
  • Henry Meyer (1782?-1847), Portrait painter and engraver. Artist associated with 280 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Foister, Susan, Cardinal Newman 1801-90, 1990 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 2 March - 20 May 1990), p. 16 Read entry

    Richard Whateley was elected Fellow of Oriel in 1811; an unconventional man, he was known at Oxford as the White Bear and could be seen early in the morning walking cross-country, wearing a white hat and rough white coat, or in the evenings showing off the tricks of his spaniel dog Sailor, who would climb a tree and drop into the river. He attracted the attention of journalists, who in 1830 branded Whateley, Arnold, Hawkins and their colleagues at Oriel the 'Noetics', or 'Thinkers'.

    Whateley was an eminent logician, and Newman later wrote that, 'He, emphatically, opened my mind and taught me to think and to use my reason'. In 1825 Whateley was appointed Principal of Alban Hall, Oxford, which enjoyed an extremely low academic reputation; with Newman as his first Vice-Principal (until 1826) he set out to improve it. To Whateley, an advocate of the independence of Church and State, Newman attributed the growth of his own view that the State should cease to interfere with the Church, but the two men began to diverge in their views as Newman moved away from liberalism. The breach widened when in 1829 Newman voted against Robert Peel's re-election as the University MP. Whateley's response was to invite the abstinent, shy Newman to a party of port-swilling dons.

    Whateley was appointed Archbishop of Dublin in 1831 where he presided over major and highly unpopular changes in the Irish Church, and the introduction in schools of a course of religious instruction theoretically acceptable to both Catholics and Protestants.

Events of 1830back to top

Current affairs

George IV dies at Windsor on 26 June; William IV succeeds to the throne.
Duke of Wellington resigns as Prime Minister to be succeeded by Earl Grey.
'Captain Swing' disturbances among agricultural districts in southern England. Taking their name from a mythical leader, hundreds of labourers break the threshing machines that threaten their winter employment.

Art and science

Liverpool and Manchester Railway opens; MP William Huskisson is run down by a train and killed at the inaugural ceremony.
William Cobbett publishes Rural Rides; a nostalgic tribute to the English countryside which expresses dismay at the sweeping changes taking place.


July Revolution in France overthrows the Bourbon dynasty. Charles X goes into exile in England and Louis Philippe, Duc d'Orleans is proclaimed King by the Chamber of Deputies who fear European opposition to the declaration of a second Republic.

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