|An Omnibus Ride to Piccadilly Circus,|
Mr Gladstone Travelling with Ordinary Passengers
by Alfred Morgan
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) was British Prime Minister on four occasions as well as the country’s oldest serving prime minister at 84 years old. During his various ministries he introduced the secret ballot into the British electoral system, oversaw the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland, and in 1886 tried unsuccessfully to pass a bill through parliament to allow devolution or Irish Home Rule. He was known by the appellation G.O.M., which stood for ‘Grand Old Man’ to his friends and supporters, and ‘God’s Only Mistake’ to his lifelong rival Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone is also remembered for the bag that bears his name and for using the longest word in a British parliamentary debate: antidisestablishmentarianism.
Alfred Morgan (1862-1904) was an English painter. His extensive range of subjects included portraits, flowers, animals and landscapes, as well as historical and biblical scenes. In 1885 he completed a portrait of William Ewart Gladstone in a work entitled ‘An Omnibus Ride to Piccadilly Circus, Mr Gladstone Travelling with Ordinary Passengers’. The ‘ordinary passengers’, in fact, were the artist himself and his wife and children.