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Harry Furniss: Gladstone Caricature

William Ewart Gladstone was born on 29 December 1809 in Liverpool. He was educated at Eton and Oxford University and was elected to parliament in 1832 as a member of the Conservative party. He rose through the ranks of Robert Peel's government, eventually becoming a member of Peel's Conservative cabinet. In 1859, Gladstone joined the Liberal party and became their leader in 1867. The following year he became Prime Minister. His government made major administrative reforms and in Ireland, Gladstone disestablished the Irish Protestant church. A heavy defeat in the 1874 general election led to Gladstone's rival Benjamin Disraeli becoming Conservative Prime Minister. In 1880, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the second time. He introduced a third Reform Act in 1884 which nearly doubled the electorate but his failure to rescue General Charles Gordon from Khartoum affected his popularity and in 1885 the government's budget was defeated, prompting him to resign. Gladstone's third and fourth terms as Prime Minister were dominated by his support for home rule in Ireland. Gladstone found himself increasingly in disagreement with his cabinet and in 1894 he resigned. He died on 19 May 1898 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Sketch of William Ewart Gladstone


Harry Furniss



Catalogue number

HC/LB/1/112/102, Parliamentary Archives