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Sir Francis Buller, 1st Bt

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Buller was called to the Bar in 1772 and rapidly acquired an extensive legal practice, acting in many important cases. He became the youngest ever High Court Judge in 1778 at the age of thirty-two. William Pitt made him a baronet in 1790 and in 1794 he transferred to the court of Common Pleas, dealing with civil actions, where he served until his death. His assertion that a husband could thrash his wife with impunity provided that the stick was no thicker than his thumb, led cartoonist Gillray to caricature him as 'Judge Thumb'.

National Portrait Gallery, London


  • Date


  • Medium

    oil on canvas

  • Measurements

    125.1 x 99.1 cm

  • Accession number


  • Acquisition method

    Given by the Society of Judges and Serjeants-at-Law, 1877


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National Portrait Gallery, London

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

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