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Walpole was a Whig statesman but in all but name he was Prime Minister (1721–1742). He came to office in the wake of the South Sea Bubble crisis and built up British prosperity in a long period of peace by his economic reforms. He obtained more power than any previous minister and remained in office for over twenty years, resorting to bribery and patronage to overcome unpopularity. His period in office came to an end when he was drawn into an unsuccessful war with Spain, which came to be known as the War of Jenkins' Ear.
oil on canvas
H 125.7 x W 100.3 cm