chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

Exploring the relationships and tensions between Gladstone's public images and public performance opens new perspectives on Gladstone as a figure in his times and more generally, the operations of representation and personality in Victorian political culture. Gladstone's image featured prominently across the full range of Victorian media. Colin Matthew observed that Gladstone's features posed problems for cartoonists', but the difficulties were encountered by artists of all kinds. The partitioned brain common in phrenological illustration was adapted to popular political imagery. Physiognomy the study of facial characteristics as a means of understanding individual and collective human nature had roots going back to Aristotle and was developed on the Continent in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The animated visage of later accounts was closely tied to the increasing physical dynamism Gladstone exhibited in Parliament and out-of-doors following his first premiership. Gladstone had been a dedicated student of rhetoric at Eton and Oxford.