Marquis Cornwallis

Anonymous, British, early 19th century British
Publisher G. Cawthorn British
Sitter Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquis Cornwallis British

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This bust-length portrait within an oval shows the subject's body facing left, his head turned towards the viewer. He wears a military jacket with a fringed epaulette, a white ruffled shirt and a short wig. At this date Cornwallis was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In 1798 he had led the response to an Irish rebellion and French invasion and in 1800 negotiated the Act of Union which, when passed by the Parliament of Ireland, established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Together with prime minister William Pitt, Cornwallis recognized that the Union was unlikely to succeed unless accompanied by Catholic Emancipation, George III refused to support the latter. In 1801 Cornwallis resigned his offices and returned to London.

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