Samuel William Reynolds after Sir Joshua Reynolds.
Samuel Whitbread Esq.
11½ x 18 inches
Samuel Whitbread (1720-1796).
Nothing epitomises the shift in economic power at the beginning of the C19th more than the emergence of industrialists on our list of notables, nudging aside those of more aristocratic birth. This posthumous print of Samuel Whitbread heralds the arrival of the self-made man. His surname will suffice to tell us the source of his fortune and its familiarity in the C21st testifies to the longevity of his business. He was, put simply, a brewer extraordinaire! If the streets of London were paved with gold, this man proved it. Apprenticed to a brewer at 14, by the age of 20 he had invested in his own business and by the age of 30 his was the second largest brewery in town. His meteoric rise continued unabated, until his death in 1796 when Whitbreads was the most famous brewer in the land and, according to The Gentleman's Magazine, he was "worth over a million pounds" (a staggering ninety-nine million in today's money!) With such outstanding success he was hardly in need of society's approbation. However, it was a supreme accolade when, in 1787, he received a royal visit from none other than King George and Queen Charlotte, coming to visit the brewery and marvel at the size of his vats.