About this artwork

John Gladstone was a merchant and MP and father of the British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. He started off in the family corn trading business in Leith and in 1786 moved to Liverpool. He began trading in cotton and sugar in 1803 and in Demerara and Jamaica, purchased multiple plantation estates and more than 2500 enslaved people. Following the abolition of slavery, in return for the emancipation of the 2508 people he had enslaved, Gladstone received in today’s money £83 million in compensation. This photograph was made around the time Gladstone was created a Baronet. His philanthropic investments in canals, railways, churches, and schools were made possible, in part, by the profits he earned from the slave trade.

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David Octavius Hill

David Octavius Hill