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        Col. Edward Marcus Despard, published 1804

        English School, (19th century). Medium: engraving. Date: 1804. Edward Despard (1751-1803) was an Irish soldier who was executed for his part in an alleged conspiracy to seize the Tower of London and Bank of England and assassinate George III. Despite being the last person in England to be sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered the sentence was commuted to simple hanging and beheading amid fears that such a draconian punishment might spark public dissent. Despard was executed on the roof of the gatehouse at Horsemonger Lane Gaol, in front of a crowd of at least 20,000 spectators, on 21 February 1803. This illustration was "sketch'd by a Gentleman who was permitted to take a place upon the Building, the only likeness ever taken. ... At the place of Execution upon the New Surrey Goal just as he appeared when addressing the Spectators, a few minutes before the Platform dropped." Provenance: Private Collection.


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