Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow


Benjamin Disraeli

Nationality: English
Date of birth: 21 December 1804
Place of birth: 6 King's Row, Bedford
Date of death: 19 April 1882
Place of death: Hughenden
Category: politician


Disraeli was a politician, and prime Minister of Great Britain.


Disraeli's political career was punctuated by spells out of office, during which he published a series of successful novels, the first, Vivian Grey in 1827. At the age of 32, he took his seat in the House of Commons and in 1822, the Earl of Derby offered him the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In 1859, he introduced a measure of parliamentary reform, which was thrown out, and followed by the resignation of the government. For seven years the Liberals remained in power. When Lord Derby returned to power in 1866, Disraeli again took the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the election of 1874 the Conservatives had a large majority, and Disraeli returned to power as prime-minister.

In 1877, he took his seat in the upper house, as the Earl of Beaconsfield, but remained prime minister from 1877-1878.

In 1878 the print dealers, Henry Graves and Son, are said to have given C. A. Howell an advance on a proposed portrait of Disraeli by Whistler, which they planned to publish as an engraving. The portrait was never started, and Howell is said to have used the advance to give Whistler money towards painting Arrangement in Brown and Black: Portrait of Miss Rosa Corder y203.


Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford, 2004.

'Benjamin Disraeli', Wikipedia.