In this portrait, Lord Palmerston wears the badge, known as ‘the Lesser George’, the riband, or sash, and the star of the Order of the Garter, the highest English Order of Chivalry. He holds documents in his left hand and leans back onto a dispatch box (traditionally used by government ministers to carry documents), which rests on a plinth.
Sir Francis Grant, son of a Scottish Laird, took up painting professionally after having exhausted his £10,000 inheritance by his late 20s. An early enthusiasm for fox hunting led him to settle at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, the centre of hunting society, where he studied under the well-known sporting painter, John Ferneley. In 1840 Grant’s portrait of Queen Victoria riding with Prime Minister Lord Melbourne and others in the Great Park at Windsor established his reputation and he soon became one of the most fashionable society painters of the day. He was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1851 and its President in 1865. Grant died at the age of 75 and was buried at the cemetery near his country residence at Melton Mowbray.
Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865) Prime Minister
Oil on canvas
height: 141.00 cm, width: 111.50 cm
Purchased from Christie's, 28 February 1947
Collection of company promoter Albert Grant, Baron Grant in the Italian nobility (1831-1899) of 41 Queen’s Gate Terrace, Kensington, London, (purchased for 1,200 guineas); collection of J. M. Woodgate; on whose behalf sold by J. M. Woodgate through Christie’s, London, on 7 June 1879 (Lot 70), for 290 guineas (or £304.10.0), as ‘Portrait of Lord Palmerston’; from which sale purchased by ‘Graves’ (possibly writer on art Algernon Graves, 1845–1922); sold through Christie’s, London, on 28 February 1947 (Lot 55); from which sale purchased by ‘Scott’ on behalf of the Office of Works
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