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Cecil John Rhodes

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Imperialist and benefactor; shaped the economic and political development of South Africa; extended British influence into what is now Zimbabwe; compromised by the Jameson Raid (1895), but remained enormously influential; endowed Rhodes scholarships. Rhodes wrote to Mrs Watts while the portrait was being painted, asking her to tell Watts to 'put in the eyes of the Sphinx looking over the desert into eternity, only in my case for empire of the race that I believe to be the best'.

National Portrait Gallery, London


  • Date


  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Measurements

    85.7 x 67.9 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    Given by the artist's executors, 1905


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National Portrait Gallery, London

St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London WC2H 0HE England

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