This portrait commemorates a celebrated confrontation between the City and the House of Commons.

In 1771 a messenger of the House arrested Miller, the printer of the London Evening Post, for a breach of privilege for publishing Parliamentary debates. Richard Oliver, an Alderman of Billingsgate Ward and MP for the City was a magistrate on the case together with Brass Crosby, the Lord Mayor, and Alderman John Wilkes. The Court released Miller but Crosby and Oliver were ordered to attend the House of Commons, where their actions were declared a breach of privilege. Both were committed to the Tower of London in March and not released until the end of the Parliamentary session in May. While in the Tower both Crosby and Oliver had their portraits painted by Robert Edge Pine, a portrait and history painter who was a supporter of Wilkes and a man of strong radical sympathies. In consequence of Crosby and Oliver's stand against the House, no attempt has since been made to prevent publication of parliamentary speeches.

Provenance

By descent in the Vaughan family.


Guildhall Art Gallery

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