Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of Henry Pelham (c.1695 - 1754) 1720c.

Michael Dahl (1659-1743)

Portrait of Henry Pelham (c.1695 - 1754), Michael Dahl
Oil on canvas
18th Century
30 x 25 inches 76.2 x 63.5 cm
John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, H.M.S.O. 1977, Vol.1 (Text), p.209 & PL 616. By William Gardiner in 1802.
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This portrait of the Prime Minister Henry Pelham is the earliest known image of the statesman and was engraved in 1802 by William Gardiner when in the collection of Cresset Pelham, a descendant of the sitter. Other images include two portraits in the National Portrait Gallery by William Hoare and John Shackleton.

The sitter was the son of Thomas, 1st Baron Pelham and educated at Westminster School and Hart Hall, Oxford. He served as a volunteer in the deafeat of the Jacobites at Preston and in 1717 entered Parliament as member for Sleaford. From 1722 until his death he represented Sussex. At first he was a consistent supporter of Walpole and Townshend. In 1724 he was nominated Secretary at War and in 1730 Paymaster of the Forces.
In 1743 he was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer. As Prime Minister with his brother the Duke of Newcastle he was supreme in Parliament from 1746 until nearly breaking up the party for a time by their quarrel in 1749.
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