John Wilkes (1727–1797), MP

Image credit: Parliamentary Art Collection

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John Wilkes was a vociferous advocate of Parliamentary reform. He was expelled from the House of Commons and imprisoned, and as a result became a popular defender of freedom against tyranny of ministers and, by association, the Monarchy. Wilkes was also a major figure amongst the artistic community. He was a campaigner for the establishment of the National Gallery, and as treasurer to the Foundling Hospital he would have known major artists associated with it such as Hogarth, Highmore and Hayman. Whitely writes 'Wilkes was fairly free from vanity, he was notoriously one of the ugliest men in London', and it was said by contemporaries that even Hogarth's caricature (published in 1763) was flattering. Pine was an admirer of Wilkes and, like him, a supporter of American republicanism.

John Wilkes (1727–1797), MP




oil on canvas


H 127 x W 101.6 cm

Accession number

WOA 2935

Work type



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Parliamentary Art Collection

The Curator's Office, Department of Information Services, House of Commons, 1 Canon Row, Greater London SW1A 0AA England

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