This coloured print reproduces a painting by John Hamilton Mortimer (1740-79), exhibited at the Society of Artists in 1776. Imagining the scene of the granting of Magna Carta at Runnymede, Mortimer shows Archbishop Langton (1150-1228) on the point of handing over the charter to Robert fitz Walter (1162-1235), the leader of the rebel barons. Mortimer had trained under Robert Edge Pine (1730-88) and was acquainted with some of the leading radical politicians of the day, including John Wilkes (1725-97). Indeed, Mortimer often painted subjects from English history to reflect his political sympathies. The engraving from which this print was produced was begun by William Wynne Ryland in 1783, but later that year he was convicted of handling forged bills and was hanged at Tyburn in London. Ryland’s widow, Mary, raised a subscription for this print to be published in her husband’s memory.
- Full title:
- The ratifying the Magna Charta by King John; King John delivering Magna Carta to the Barons
- John Hamilton Mortimer , William Palmer , William Pether
- Held by:
- The British Museum
- Article by:
- Nicholas Vincent
- Clauses and content, Medieval origins
The agreement at Runnymede in 1215 had broad consequences for medieval England. Professor Nicholas Vincent explores the immediate impact of Magna Carta, considering the Civil War, the re-issue of the charter and the formation of early forms of parliament.