Samuel Whitbread Esqr. M.P.

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Samuel Whitbread Esqr. M.P.
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Samuel William Reynolds after John Opie

Samuel Whitbread Esqr. M.P.

London, S. W. Reynolds 1804

Mezzotint, open letter proof


Two neat marginal repairs


A fine full length, seated portrait of the brewer, philanthropist and Whig politician Samuel Whitbread (1758-1815). He sits at his desk, wearing a dark suit and hessian boots, before an open window, his hand resting on a piece of paper. In the background is a draped curtain and on the floor is a pile of books. Sadly Whitbread died by his own hand on 6th  July 1815, having cut his throat at his town house, 35 Dover Street. At the inquest, held the same day, the jury found that he was in a deranged state of mind at the time the act was committed; his friend Mr. Wilcher gave evidence that his despondency was due to belief that his public life was extinct. He was buried at Cardington in Bedfordshire, his widow dying soon after. Whitbread died possessed of five-eighths of the brewery which still bears his name, his father by will having made it compulsory on him to retain a majority of the shares in his own hands