Valentine Green after John Hoppner.
John, Earl Chatham K.G.
13 x 17 inches
An interesting portrait of John Pitt, Earl of Chatham (1756-1835) who was caught between two great politicians: the eldest son of Pitt the Elder and the elder brother of William, Pitt the Younger! He succeeded to the title upon his father's death in 1778 and boasts a long but controversial military career. Initially he caused his father a great deal of anxiety through his propensity for dandiness in dress, a love of hunting and a lack of ambition. A reputation for laziness was averted when he embarked upon a military career. As a close supporter of his politically ambitious brother, he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in 1788 but despite this nepotism his performance was criticised and he was, effectively, demoted to Lord Privy Seal, an indignity from which he never quite recovered. Regrettably the event for which Chatham is best remembered is the ill-fated Walchern Campaign of 1809 that ended in disaster. Chatham was sent to oversee an amphibious assault on the French forces near Antwerp but through mismanagement, unprofessional quarrelling (with the naval commander, Sir Richard Strachan) and a nasty outbreak of malaria the British suffered a crashing defeat. Chatham faced harsh interrogation upon his return to London and the disgrace that followed effectively ended his military career. His inept handling of the campaign became a laughing stock and he was lampooned in a popular ditty of the day that goes: