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A political journalist and farmer, Cobbett was one of the most influential radicals in the decades before the Reform Act (1832). Initially a Tory supporter, he launched his weekly Political Register (1802–1835) with the help of Pitt and Canning. In 1816, the price of the Political Register was drastically reduced to ensure it reached the working classes. In his Rural Rides (1830) Cobbett continued to champion the rural poor. As an advocate of political reform he was frequently controversial though his writing was also nostalgic for a simpler rural past.
National Portrait Gallery, London
oil on canvas
H 91.4 x W 71.1 cm