This portrait depicts the diplomat Stratford Canning, first Viscount Stratford De Redcliffe. It was engraved in 1888, after a miniature portrait painted in 1816 by Andrew Robertson, and shows Canning at the age of 30. At that time he was serving as Minister to Switzerland, where he was instrumental in the introduction of a plan for a neutral Swiss confederation, which was approved at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
This print was engraved as the frontispiece to volume I of S. Lane-Poole’s ‘The Life of Stratford Canning’ (published 1888). The print was presented to the British Embassy in Athens by the daughter of the sitter, the Honourable Louisa Canning (1828-1908), in 1899.
George James Stodart was born in Camden Town; the son of portrait engraver George Stodart. His brothers, Edward William Stodart and David J. Stodart, also trained as engravers. At 22 he was living in Islington with his parents. He married Maria, a dressmaker from Hackney, in 1862 and by the time of the 1871 census had a seven year old daughter, Ellen. His second daughter, Phanuel, was born 15 years after Ellen. By 1881 Stodart had moved from Islington to the town of Edenbridge and by 1891 to the village of Appledore, both in Kent. He was aged 73 and resident in Streatham at the time of the 1911 census. Although his occupation was still given as ‘portrait engraver on steel’ he was by now ‘blind [and] paralised’. He died two years later.
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