Artwork - Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester

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  • Title: Charles Abbot, 1st Baron Colchester
  • Artist: Sir Thomas Lawrence
  • Date: 1824--
  • Medium: Oil painting
  • Categories: Portraits
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2715
  • Description: Charles Abbot, Esqre. Speaker 1802-17 [Baron Colchester 1757-1829]. A period dominated by the Napoleonic war, Abbots time in office was eventful to say the least. The Dictionary of National Biography recounts the following incident: \'it fell to his lot to give the casting vote on Mr Whitbread\'s resolutions impugning the conduct of Lord Melville as treasurer of the navy, amid a scene long remembered as one of the most striking that have ever been witnessed within the walls of the House of Commons. Mr Pitt had moved the previous question, and on division the numbers were 216 on each side. Abbott turned as white as a sheet, says an eye witness, and he paused for at least ten minutes, after which he explained very briefly his reasons for voting in favour of the question being put, which was accordingly put and carried, to the intense grief of Mr Pitt, who pulled a cocked hat over his face to hide the tears which trickled down his cheeks.\'

    Sir Thomas Lawrence was the greatest image -maker of the Regency and the reign of George IV. His decadent fabrics and sympathetic rendering of face and form guaranteed his popularity amongst the glitterati of courts and theatre. This is one of the few paintings signed by the artist.

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