Disraeli, Gladstone and the personification of party, 1868–80
in Politics personified
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This chapter shows how Benjamin Disraeli, who was created 1st Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876, and William Ewart Gladstone came to personify the Conservative and Liberal parties after the 1867 Representation of the People Act. It focuses on how they symbolised the two parties and the extent to which they had any control over their images, and places these in the context of political developments after 1867. The chapter considers the extent to which Disraeli and Gladstone were able to present a favourable public persona through commercially produced imagery. National party leaders such as Disraeli and Gladstone gave a greater steer to electoral politics through platform speeches outside London that were widely reported in the press. Painted and photographic portraits provided both Disraeli and Gladstone with opportunities for self-fashioning, allowing them to project a particular public image or perform a particular role.

Politics personified

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

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