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Robert Barclay Allardice

1 of 5 portraits of Robert Barclay Allardice

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Robert Barclay Allardice

by and published by Robert Dighton
hand-coloured etching, published June 1809
10 3/4 in. x 7 7/8 in. (273 mm x 199 mm) plate size; 12 1/2 in. x 8 1/8 in. (317 mm x 206 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Reference Collection
NPG D10727

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  • Robert Dighton (1751-1814), Portrait painter, caricaturist and actor. Artist or producer associated with 320 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This etching, drawn from life, depicts Barclay during his most infamous performance. On another occasion in 1808 he had started out one day at 5.00am, walked 30 miles grouse-shooting, had dinner, walked 60 miles to his house at Ury in 11 hours, walked a further 16 miles to Laurence Kirk, danced at a ball there, returned to Ury, arriving at 7.00 am and then spent that day partridge-shooting. In short he had walked almost 130 miles and had been without sleep for two nights and three days.

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Current affairs

Duke of Portland resigns as Prime Minister to be succeeded by Spencer Perceval.
Motion for parliamentary reform is defeated in the House of Commons.
Notorious duel between George Canning and Viscount Castlereagh over strategic failures against Napoleon.

Art and science

Maria Edgeworth publishes Tales of Fashionable Life, a popular and perceptive series of stories exploring Anglo-Irish society after the Union.
Robert Smirke completes the New Covent Garden Theatre after fire. 'Old Price' theatre riots quickly break out against rising cost of admission.
Pall Mall in London is lit by gas for the first time.


British army lands in Lisbon and defeats the French at Talavera. Arthur Wellesley is created Viscount Wellington as a result of this victory.
Walcheren expedition led by General Chatham, which aimed to take Antwerp, fails amidst allegations of military corruption and carnage.
James Madison is elected President of the United States.

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