19th Century England

After Sir Thomas Lawrence, 19th century Portrait of George Canning PM (1770-1827)



Height 39 1/2 inches (100.25 cm)
Width 33 inches (84 cm)
Depth 2 inches (5 cm)

After Sir Thomas Lawrence, nineteenth century

Portrait of George Canning PM (1770-1827)

Oil on canvas; held in period style frame

Provenance: An English Noble Collection

George Canning served as Tory prime minister from April 1827 until his untimely death of tuberculosis in that August. He was historically the shortest serving prime minister until Liz Truss stepped down after just 50 days in 2022.

Born into an Anglo-Irish family in London, Canning showed early intellectual promise and was raised as a ward of his uncle, Stratford Canning, after his father died in poverty and his mother became an actress. Although he began his career in politics with his views aligned with the Whig party, his distaste at the excessive radicalism of the French Revolution led him to seek the support of William Pitt the Younger and the Tory party when he entered parliament. He became a prominent figure in Westminster, famed for his oratory, and held a variety of cabinet roles, including that of Foreign Secretary during the Napoleonic Wars. Famously in 1809, following a disagreement over the deployment of naval troops, Canning was injured in a duel with his arch political rival within the Tory party, Lord Castlereagh. His policies as Foreign Secretary in the 1820s were pivotal in the independence of Latin America, recognising Mexico, Argentina, Colombia and Brazil as independent countries and encouraging trade with them, and all of those countries have streets or areas named after him.

Lawrence made several portraits of Canning in different poses, the present painting is a reduced version of that commissioned by Canning’s alma mater Christ Church, Oxford in 1809. The picture was also engraved in mezzotint in 1813.

Reference: 3069 Categories: ,
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