Gladstone [was Great Britain’s] most quintessential Prime Minister. He was this because he was the one who most dominated the busy junction where executive power, parliamentary command and democratic validity jostle together. His executive power, which he exercised with gusto, was modified by respect for and conflict with the whims of the Sovereign. His parliamentary command was accompanied by endemic revolts against his driving force. His democratic validity also had elements of paradox in that it was based on his ability to rivet great audiences who were held by his flashing eyes while hardly understanding the convolutions of his interminable sentences. No one else however has so mingled the three sources of constitutional power. Lloyd George rivalled his spell-binding oratory, but lacked his personal parliamentary authority. Churchill could not match the spontaneous popular oratory as opposed to the parliamentary setpieces. — Roy Jenkins

Portraits of Gladstone: Monuments, Paintings, Caricature

Caricatures of Gladstone

Recommended Reading

Feuchtwanger, EJ. Gladstone. London, 1989.

Magnus, P. Gladstone: a biography. London, John Murray, 1954.

Jenkins, Roy. Gladstone: A Biography. New York: Random House, 1997.

Matthew, HCG. Gladstone 1809-1898. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996.

Last modified 29 April 2018