Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery and 1st Earl of Midlothian (1847-1929): “Little Bo-Peep”

  • About the work

    Interpretation about this artwork is under review

    The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.

    Sir Leslie Matthew Ward first produced a caricature of the young Earl of Rosebery in 1876. This, his second cartoon, was published 25 years later and shows the former Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs at the age of 53. The cartoon is titled ‘Little Bo Peep’ and the accompanying text, which is less than complimentary, begins:
    'He fills all sorts of offices, from the Leadership of an absent Party to a Trusteeship of the Imperial Institute, and he sometimes manages to make quite a sensation. He has filled even bigger offices, such as that of the Sovereign’s Prime Minister and the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow University; yet… he is at the moment a Leader of no Party…'
  • About the artist
    Leslie Ward was born into a family of painters. His mother and father were historical genre painters Edward Matthew Ward and Henrietta Ward. He was educated at Eton and then entered the studio of architect Sydney Smirke. However, he abandoned his architectural training to become apprenticed to W. P. Frith. In 1873 J. E. Millais sent some of his drawings to Thomas Gibson Bowles, founder and owner of ‘Vanity Fair’. Bowles immediately hired Ward, whose first ‘Vanity Fair’ caricature appeared in 1873 under the ‘nom de crayon’ Spy. Ward also painted portraits and made architectural drawings, exhibiting his work at the Royal Academy and Grosvenor Gallery. He was knighted in 1918. Ward died in 1922 and was buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
  • Explore
    Primrose, Archibald Philip, 5th Earl of Rosebery and 1st Earl of Midlothian
    Materials & Techniques
    lithograph, colour lithograph
  • Details
    Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery and 1st Earl of Midlothian (1847-1929): “Little Bo-Peep”
    Colour lithograph
    origin uncertain; old Ministry of Works acquisition, pre-1946
    GAC number