Robert Peel was from Bury in Lancashire and was educated at Harrow School and then at Oxford University. His career began as with his election as the Member of Parliament for Cashel, Tipperary, in 1809, and culminated with his election as Prime Minister, leading the country from 1834 to 1835 and from 1841 to 1846. As Home Secretary he became the founder of London’s Metropolitan Police, uniting the former police offices, watchmen, constables and Bow Street Patrols. The Metropolitan Police Bill was passed in 1829. Police officers came to be known as ‘peelers’, and later as ‘bobbies’, after Sir Robert Peel.
This work was presented to the Home Office by the Provincial Chief Constables 100 years after the bill in September 1929.
Henry William Pickersgill was a sought-after British portrait painter. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1806 and exhibited at the Royal Academy from this year until 1872. Although known for his portraits, he also produced landscapes, scenes from the works of Shakespeare and Byron, and genre figure paintings. He was elected a Royal Academician in 1826 and in 1856 he assumed the role of librarian to the Royal Academy, a position he held until his death in 1875.
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet (1788-1850) Prime Minister
Oil on canvas
height: 235.00 cm, width: 145.50 cm
Presented by the Provincial Chief Constables, September 1929
[Possibly artist’s studio sale, Christie's, 16 July 1875 (Lot 171) as by G. R. Ward, after Pickersgill, for £0.4.0; from which sale purchased by writer on art Algernon Graves (1845-1922);] with Leger & Sons; collection of the Provincial Chief Constables; by whom presented to the Office of Works in 1929, to mark the Centenary of Metropolitan Police Force
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