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Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) Prime Minister

Sir Francis Grant

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) Prime Minister


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ArtistSir Francis Grant (1803-1878)
EngraverGeorge James Zobel (1810-1881)
TitleBenjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield (1804-1881) Prime Minister
MediumMezzotint with chine collé
ProvenanceGrosvenor Prints, London
Dimensionsheight: 69.20 cm, width: 50.30 cm
Inscriptionverso, in pencil: Rt Hon ble / Benjamin Disraeli / Ld. Beaconsfield
AcquisitionPurchased from Grosvenor Prints, May 2010
LocationUK, London, Department for Exiting the European Union, 9 Downing Street
GAC number18329
 

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Francis Grant’s original portrait of Disraeli, on which this mezzotint is based, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852 and is now on display in the library of the National Trust property Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire; Disraeli’s home from 1848 until his death.

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Sir Francis Grant

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.

George James Zobel

George James Zobel produced line, mezzotint and mixed media engravings, and occasionally etchings, mainly of portraiture subjects. He was probably born in Germany but lived in Brixton, London, for much of his career, with his wife and children. He exhibited 35 works at the Royal Academy between 1854 and 1879 and is reported to have frequently executed works for Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales and other members of the royal family. Zobel’s wife died at their home in Lorn Road, Brixton, in 1878, aged 59. The announcement of her death in the ‘London Standard’ was followed by the words: ‘German papers, please copy.’ Zobel himself died at the age of 70.