After Thomas Lawrence
Published in 1835 by Colnaghi & Co.
Charles Turner is perhaps best known today for his mezzotint interpretations of J. M. W. Turner’s landscapes (they were not related), whom he befriended while both were studying at the Royal Academy. In his day, though, he was heralded as the finest engraver of portraits in England, producing well over six hundred throughout his career. Success came early. Already by 1800, just two years out of the academy, Turner was running a fairly large workshop, staffed by an apprentice and four assistants, which yielded one completed plate every two weeks—a remarkable pace, and indicative of the high demand placed on his skills.A rising star in the Tory Party, Robert Peel (1788–1850) had already served as home secretary by the time Turner engraved Thomas Lawrence’s 1825 portrait. Colnaghi no doubt published the mezzotint several years later to capitalize on Peel’s selection as prime minister, in December 1834. Though he held the office less than four months, Peel returned for second term as prime minister in 1841, and served for six years, until June 1846.