Party politics and portraiture, 1832–46
in Politics personified
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This chapter shows how visual images personified and reaffirmed the party identities that were formed in the wake of the 1832 Reform Act. By examining the semi-official portrait series that were published in this period, it highlights the innovative new ways in which party identities were presented after 1832. The development of party identities created a market for portraits of politicians classified by party. The resultant series of engraved portraits were, however, only possible due to the development of steel engraving, which transformed the economics of reproductive printing. Steel engraving boasted potentially huge print runs, and it is significant that this medium was chosen by Henry Thomas Ryall and John Saunders as it suggests that large numbers of party portraits could have been produced. Ryall's series was eventually completed in 1846, after the publication of seventy-two portraits and biographies.

Politics personified

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


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