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

This book examines the role of political likenesses in a half-century that was crucial for the political modernisation of Britain, a two-party system that began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. Political language, especially electoral rhetoric, has been accorded considerable weight by recent studies in building broad coalitions of political support in popular and electoral politics. The book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. It examines a diverse range of material including woven silk portraiture, oil paintings, numismatics and medals, banners, ceramics, statuary and memorials as well as items printed on paper or card. After an analysis of the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-1832, the book shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer identities were visualised through semi-official series of portrait prints. 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. Depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s often underplayed in pictorial representations to emphasise physical and political vigour. The role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act is also discussed.

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spawned by the reform bills of 1831–32. In prints, caricatures and material culture, the reform bills were seen as a means to destroy a corrupt, parasitic state funded by heavy taxes. This explains why Grey’s ministry were portrayed as heroes, why the redistribution but not the franchise clauses attracted most attention and why the popular enthusiasm for the measure quickly turned to disappointment so soon after its passing. However, the 1832 Reform Act stimulated the development of a two-party system and the second chapter shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer

in Politics personified

prose was unlikely to be read in Holland or Switzerland, and so wouldn’t cause offence overseas. 18 Despite all this, however, there was a palpable swing in understanding of the European position of the church between 1660 and 1714. If it had not abandoned its old Reformed identity, it had assumed a place more equidistant from Catholic and Protestant churches. For Anglicans there was still much wrong with Rome, but it was becoming less clear that

in The later Stuart Church, 1660–1714

were a form of music which was irreproachable even to the dourest Reformed theologian. They became a badge of Reformed identity, and their texts were peculiarly well suited to peoples under persecution. When Adam Wallace’s Bible was finally taken from him, he spent the night before his execution ‘in singing, and lauding God . . . having learned the Psalter of David without book, to his consolation’. George Buchanan, imprisoned in Portugal by the Inquisition, passed his time by composing metrical Psalms.23 When the Edinburgh Protestant Elizabeth Adamsoun was on her

in The origins of the Scottish Reformation