George Richmond’s portrait Stratford Canning, first Viscount Stratford De Redcliffe, is dated 1853, the year after he became a Viscount. At around this time Canning supported the Sultan’s resistance to Russian attempts to enforce influence over Ottoman affairs and tried, unsuccessfully, to avert the start of the Crimean War. After resigning from his Ambassadorship, Canning returned to England in 1858, where he remained until his death in 1880.
This print was engraved as the frontispiece to volume II of S. Lane-Poole’s 'The Life of Stratford Canning' (published 1888). The print was presented to this Embassy by the daughter of the sitter, the Honourable Louisa Canning (1828-1908), in 1899. Louisa also bequeathed Richmond’s original drawing of her father, on which this print is based, to the National Portrait Gallery, London.
George Richmond was born in London and received his first training in art from his father, Thomas Richmond, a miniature portrait painter. From 1824 he studied at the Royal Academy Schools, where he was taught briefly by Henry Fuseli. He was particularly influenced by the visionary art of William Blake, joining the close circle of Blake’s followers known as ‘The Ancients’. Richmond later established a reputation as a leading portraitist and painted several notable figures, including William Wilberforce (1832) and John Ruskin (1842). In 1867, he was elected a Royal Academician. He died in London, just before turning 87.
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