Overall: 42cm 16.5in) x 28cm (11in)
Provenance: Gifted to the Hawarden postmaster, W.H. Jones
Velvet cut from the cloth upon which the coffin of four time Prime Minister William Gladstone's coffin lay in State at his seat Hawarden Castle, Flintshire, Wales; overlaid with a black edged In Memoriam card and a manuscript note penned by the Hawarden postmaster Mr. Jones.
William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898) nocturnal friend to fallen women and one of the greatest statesmen of his age, died in his bed at Hawarden Castle in May 1898. His remains were clothed in evening dress and the robes of a doctor of Laws and conveyed to the castle library, which had been swiftly converted into a ‘Temple of Rest’. Here some 5,000 people paid their respects before the coffin was taken by special train to London to lie in State at Westminster Hall and interment in Westminster Abbey.
Prime Minister Gladstone was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He entered Parliament in 1832 as Member for Newark. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1852 and 1855; became Prime Minister in 1868 and passed the bill abolishing the purchase of commissions in the Army. He was Prime Minister again in 1884 when he passed legislation in continuation of the Great Reform Bills of 1832 and 1867, and by which the franchise was widened to include the agricultural labourer. Prime Minister again in 1886 when his Home Rule Bill for Ireland was defeated. In 1892 he was Prime Minister for a fourth time, whence his second Home Rule Bill suffered the same fate as his first.