William Ewart Gladstone in Two Perspectives: John Everett Millais’ Private Portrait and John Tenniel’s Public Political Cartoons, Ian M Williams
Three pieces of work by John Tenniel in the genre of political cartoons, and a John Everett Millais oil-oncanvas portrait commissioned by Christ Church College, Oxford, have been selected as artefacts for analysis.
They will be used to assess the portrayal of William Ewart Gladstone (1809 - 1898), statesman and fourtime Prime Minister of Great Britain, within portraiture as well as the public sphere of political cartooning.
Gladstone’s image became an icon of Victorian political culture, but there are two distinct perspectives evident in the representation of this national leader. Political cartoons were being published in increasingly popular periodicals such as Punch, while the more traditional portraits were still being commissioned by wealthy benefactors and institutions. Closer examination of these two genres will cast light on both mass public political persuasion and personal image management for Gladstone, at the same time identifying similarities and differences in technique and imagery used to impart and influence opinion and reputation.