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Memorial Bust Major General Charles Gordon of Khartoum, dated 1885
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Memorial Bust Major General Charles Gordon of Khartoum, dated 1885

Measurements: Height: 19cm (7.5in)

£660

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Parian coloured with a pastel wash. The Governor of the Sudan portrayed in Ottoman uniform, wearing the breast stars of the orders of Mejidie and Osmanieh, and a fez. Maker’s mark of R&L for Robinson and Leadbeater of Stoke-on-Trent.

Major General Charles George Gordon, C.B. (1833-1885), aka ‘Chinese Gordon’, Gordon Pasha, and Gordon of Khartoum, first saw active service in the Crimean War, but made his military reputation in China at the head of the ‘Ever Victorious Army’ that helped suppress one of the bloodiest wars  in history. He entered the service of the Khedive of Egypt in 1873 and later became the Governor-General of the Sudan, where he did much to suppress revolts and the slave trade. Exhausted, he resigned and returned to Europe in 1880. Famously Gordon was recalled to the Sudan in 1884 with the sanction of politicians in London to confront the Mahdi (1845-1885) and his call for jihad.

Gordon was, and remains into the 21st century, the subject of intense interest. The fall of Khartoum and his death at the hands of the Mahdists in January 1885 sparked an intense political debate at home. Fingers were pointed at the government for failing to rescue him. Popular sentiment of the day regarded Gordon as a Christian martyr sent to Africa by uncaring politicians who bungled their duty to save his life. Furthermore ‘the reading public wanted heroes, it wanted to read about one lone Englishman sacrificing himself for glory, honour, God, and the Empire.’ However last century revisionists accused him of being primarily responsible for his own death, and attacked him as a heavy drinker with possible homosexual tendencies.

 

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