Introduction
in Politics personified
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book examines the political modernisation of Britain, in which the electorate gradually expanded, a two-party system began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. It starts by analysing the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-32. The book describes that, in the pictorial press, photographs and portrait testimonials, statues and memorials, MPs were venerated as independent representatives and champions of particular localities, trades, interests or issues, and not party hacks. It focuses on the depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s. The book discusses the role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act.

Politics personified

Portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830–80

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