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Roundell Palmer, 1st Earl of Selborne

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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A successful equity lawyer, Roundell Palmer entered Parliament as a Conservative MP in 1847, where he served as Solicitor General and Attorney General. He joined the Peelite Conservatives who in 1859 created the Liberal party. Palmer was appointed Lord Chancellor by Gladstone in 1872 and was created Baron Selborne. His first tenure in the office saw the passage of the Judicature Act of 1873, which completely reorganised the judiciary. He served in the same office in Gladstone's Second Cabinet (1880–1885), and was created Earl of Selborne and Viscount Wolmer in 1882. Three years later, he finally broke with Gladstone over the Prime Minister's conversion to the principle of Irish Home Rule.

National Portrait Gallery, London





oil on canvas


H 74.9 x W 62.2 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by the sitter's son, William Waldegrave Palmer, 2nd Earl of Selborne, 1906

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National Portrait Gallery, London

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