Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Lord Randolph Churchill on the Front Bench 1886

Charles Paul Renouard 

Lord Randolph Churchill on the Front Bench, Charles Paul Renouard
Pencil on Paper
19th Century
4 x 9 inches 11.4 x 22.8 cm
Collection of Tony Banks MP
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This group sketch is typical of the economical yet meticulous graphic style of Charles Paul Renouard. He exhibited in London between the 1881 and 1907, when he gave his address as that of ''The Graphic'' magazine, whose articles he illustrated. The series to which this drawing belongs depicts the controversial Irish Home Rule Debate of June 1886, in which Lord Randolph (and his companions, left to right, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Henry Chaplin and Lord George Hamilton) put up a strenuous resistance to Gladstone's Bill, resulting in the Prime Minister's defeat. Further illustrations from this series, of Joseph Chamberlain and Charles Parnell were reproduced in ''The Graphic'' during that month.

Churchill entered the House of Commons as a Conservative in 1874 and was a passive member until 1880, when the Conservative defeat roused him to action as leader of the so-called Fourth Party, a small band of independents of the Conservative and Tory parties. They advocated a progressive program for the Conservative Party known as Tory democracy. Churchill distinguished himself as a ready unconventional debater, attracting particular attention by his criticism of the foreign and domestic policy of Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. When the Conservatives returned to power in 1885, Churchill became secretary of state for India. His period of office was marked by the annexation of Burma (now known as Myanmar). For six months in 1886 he was leader of the House of Commons and chancellor of the Exchequer, but he resigned because he opposed increased military expenditures. Thereafter he was inactive in public life. In 1874 Churchill married the American heiress Jennie Jerome. Their son, Sir Winston Churchill, was British prime minister during and after World War II.
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