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The Death of General Sir Ralph Abercromby, K.B.

4 of 4 portraits of Robert Anstruther

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The Death of General Sir Ralph Abercromby, K.B.

by Francis Legat, after Thomas Stothard
line engraving, published 1805 (reissued 1828)
19 1/4 in. x 24 3/8 in. (490 mm x 620 mm) plate size; 21 1/4 in. x 29 1/8 in. (540 mm x 740 mm) paper size
Purchased, 1934
Reference Collection
NPG D11101

Artistsback to top

  • Francis Legat (1755-1809). Artist or producer associated with 1 portrait.
  • Thomas Stothard (1755-1834), Painter and illustrator. Artist or producer associated with 34 portraits, Sitter in 14 portraits.

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

Heroic deaths in the midst of battle became a popular subject for commercial prints. Ever since the best-selling engraving after Benjamin West's The Death of General Wolfe (1771) had captured the public imagination, the demand for prints of military martyrs was insatiable. In this engraving of the death of Sir Ralph Abercromby in Egypt (1801), West's prototype was closely followed. General Abercromby collapses on the field between two of his faithful generals with the flag raised high above his head. The popularity of such prints relied on their combination of realism - in details of costume and portraiture - and idealised religious references. This engraving was so successful it was reissued in 1828, over twenty years after its first appearance.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D7544: Key to The Death of Sir Ralph Abercromby (key)

Placesback to top

  • Place portrayed: Egypt (Alexandria, Egypt)

Events of 1828back to top

Current affairs

Duke of Wellington becomes Prime Minister.
Madhouse Act attempts to regulate asylums and ensure new arrivals are genuinely insane.
Repeal of the Test Acts removes political restrictions from dissenters, allowing them to hold public office.

Art and science

London Zoological Gardens open in Regent's Park. They provide both entertainment and a supply of exotic specimens for naturalists and anatomists such as Richard Owen who becomes a European authority on the subject.


Daniel O'Connell is elected Member of Parliament for County Clare but as a Catholic is not permitted to take his seat.

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