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Lord Reading, Rufus Isaacs

Photograph by Walton Adams - 1910s

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Lord Reading, Rufus Isaacs, by Walton Adams

This photograph of Lord Reading was taken by Walton Adams. Walton was one of the pioneers of photography, beginning in the 1860s. By the time he retired he had photographed some of the most important people in the country, including Queen Victoria.

Rufus Daniel Isaacs became the first Lord Reading in 1914. The son of a London fruit merchant, he was the Member of Parliament for Reading from 1903 to 1913, when he became Lord Chief Justice and a member of Lloyd George’s cabinet. He was the first Jewish person to become a member of the British cabinet. In 1918 he became the British Ambassador to the United States at a critical moment during the First World War.

As Viceroy of India from 1921 to 1926, he had to confront the movement for Indian self-rule and civil disobedience led by Mahatma Gandhi. Lord Reading also worked to ensure that people from India could migrate freely to other parts of the British Empire. His statue originally stood in New Delhi and was offered as a gift to Reading after India achieved its independence in 1947. It now stands in Eldon Square. Isaacs was born in 1860 and died in 1935.

Walton Adams (1842 – 1934) moved to Reading from Southampton with his young family in 1881 and he established a new photographic studio in Blagrave Street. His son Marcus and grandson Gilbert were also talented professional photographers.

Museum object number REDMG : 2016.10.23

length 282 mm, width 208 mm

See related topic: Pioneering Photographers