The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

William Gladstone

William Gladstone

A carte-de-visite portrait of William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898), Liberal politician and four times Prime Minster of Great Britain.

Queen Victoria grudgingly recognized Gladstone’s talents, yet she could not bring herself to either like or respect him. Lacking Disraeli’s ingratiating tact, he addressed her, she said, as though she were a public meeting. He was incapable of following the advice of his wife, who sensibly advised him to ‘pet’ her, but it was not in his nature and he could not bring himself to flatter her. On the contrary, he gave the Queen the impression he did not think her worthy of such attentions. She was deeply jealous of the respect he inspired in the people, and could not forget that ‘he tried to separate England from Ireland and to set class against class.’ She resented his attempts to draw her out of her self-imposed seclusion after the death of her husband, the lack of interest he showed in her opinions, and often felt exasperated by his tedious, high-minded discourses, taking refuge in the conclusion that he was an ‘arrogant, tyrannical and obstinate humbug’.

Photographed by John Mayall of London and Brighton.


Code: 124583
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© Paul Frecker 2019