British Liberal statesman who was four times Prime Minister (1868-74, 1880-86, 1886 and 1892-94).
ALS. 3pp. 11 Carlton House Terrace, S.W. June 15th 1863. To Mr. Grenfell. Together with a fine contemporary portrait photograph.
"Notwithstanding the hesitation which arose in my mind on account of my very particular admiration of Mr. Wedgewood as one of the greatest men in the history of British art (so far as my very imperfect means of judgement go) I am sorry to find the difficulty which I mentioned to you is stubborn and insurmountable. The invitation I received from the West Riding of Yorkshire, with reference to the French Treaty, constitutes an invincible objection to my going elsewhere in connection with that subject."
8vo. Approx 7.25 x 4.74 inches. Docketed on verso of blank last leaf. Mounting traces on verso, else fine. The portrait is a fine 19th century albumin photograph (circa 1863) of carte de visite size (approx 3.5 x 2.5 inches excluding mount) mounted on card leaf from an album with a border of fine decorative penwork. It shows Gladstone in his middle years, half-length, seated in profile. Some browning to edges of mount but the photograph is in fine condition.
Both the letter and the photograph are from a 19th century collection made by the radical Liberal M.P., William Woodall. Woodall was Surveyor-General of the Ordnance and Financial Secretary to the War Office in two of Gladstone's administrations. Woodall was also M.P. for Stoke on Trent and Hanley and was a Trustee of the Wedgewood Institute. It appears that Gladstone was being invited to give an address to the Institute. Gladstone attended the laying of the Foundation Stone of the Institute in November 1863. The French Treaty referred to is probably the Anglo-French Free Trade Treaty, which reduced duty on British exports to France. This would have been of importance to the ceramics trade in Burslem and this is presumably the reason why Gladstone had been requested to speak on it.