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(William) Edward Hartpole Lecky

Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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Historian, essayist, and MP; born and educated in Ireland, his History of Rationalism (1865), brought him immediate fame and a leading place in London's literary and intellectual society. His eight-volume History of England in the Eighteenth Century (1878–1890), the product of nineteen years work, combines immense learning with a coherence sometimes lacking in his other works. An opponent of Gladstone's Home Rule policy, Lecky became a Liberal Unionist in 1886 and sat as MP for Dublin (1895–1903).

National Portrait Gallery, London





oil on canvas


H 64.8 x W 52.1 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Given by George Frederick Watts, 1903. On long-term loan to Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales

Work type



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Normally on display at

National Portrait Gallery, London

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

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