Skip to main content

Thomas George Baring, 1st Earl and 2nd Baron of Northbrook

1826 - 1904

This person is the subject of ongoing research. We have started by researching their relationship to the enslavement of people.

Biographical notes

British Liberal politician and statesman. Inherited the Old Masters collection of his uncle, Thomas Baring, in 1873, who had purchased paintings from the estate of his father, Sir Thomas Baring, in 1848.

National Gallery Trustee (1850–1873).

Summary of activity

Thomas George Baring was the son of Sir Francis Thornhill Baring (1796–1866) and his first wife, Jane (1804–1838), daughter of Captain Sir George Grey, niece of Earl Grey (of the Great Reform Bill), and sister of the second Sir George Grey. His father was the eldest son of Sir Thomas Baring, 2nd Baronet (1772–1848), who was a brother of Alexander Baring (q.v.). In 1848 he married Elizabeth Harriet (1827–1867), daughter of Henry Charles Stuart of Crichel, Dorset. In 1857 he was elected MP for Penryn and Falmouth. From 1872–6 he was Viceroy of India. In 1876 he became an earl, and in 1880 Gladstone appointed him first lord of the Admiralty.

His grandfather Sir Thomas Baring was not directly involved with Baring Brothers after 1809. On the 6 May 1831 he urged the abolition of slavery, although on 24 May 1832 he voted for the government’s temporizing amendment on slavery abolition. (D. R. Fisher, ‘BARING, Sir Thomas, 2nd bt. (1772-1848), of Stratton Park, nr. Winchester, Hants and 21 Devonshire Place, Mdx.’, in History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History [online], London, 1964 -, 1820-1832, <https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/baring-sir-thomas-1772-1848> accessed 6 August 2021.)

In 1873 Thomas George Baring inherited the collection of pictures of his uncle, Thomas Baring (1799–1873), who had purchased paintings from the estate of his father, Sir Thomas Baring, in 1848. A substantial proportion of Baring’s wealth came from his uncle’s great fortune.

According to LBS, his uncle, Thomas Baring (1799–1873), politician and partner in Baring Brothers from 1828 to 1873, ‘counterclaimed unsuccessfully with his partners as assignees for the compensation on Spring Garden in British Guiana but the firm intercepted successfully the compensation awarded on the estates of Wolfert Katz, a major debtor of the firm, in British Guiana’. (UCL Department of History, ‘Thomas Baring’, in UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership [online], London 2020, <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/1014723079> accessed 6 August 2021.)

The following paintings were once in the Northbrook Collection: Philips Wouwerman, A Stag Hunt (NG975); Nicolaes Berchem, A Peasant playing a Hurdy-Gurdy to a Woman and Child in a Woody Landscape, with Oxen, Sheep and Goats (NG1006); Andrea Mantegna, The Agony in the Garden (NG1417); Antonello da Messina, Saint Jerome in his Study (NG1418); Master of Saint Giles, Saint Giles and the Deer (NG1419); Sebastiano del Piombo, The Madonna and Child with Saint Joseph, Saint John the Baptist and a Donor (NG1450); Willem Buytewech the Younger, A Dune Landscape (NG2731); Petrus Christus, Portrait of a Young Man (NG2593); Philips Koninck, An Extensive Landscape with Houses in a Wood and a Distant Town (NG4251).

Slavery connections

Thomas Baring (1799–1873), politician and partner in Baring Brothers 1828-1873, counterclaimed unsuccessfully with his partners as assignees for the compensation on Spring Garden in British Guiana but the firm intercepted successfully the compensation awarded on the estates of Wolfert Katz, a major debtor of the firm, in British Guiana.

Abolition connections

History of Parliament states that Sir Thomas Baring was in favour of the abolition of slavery, although LBS notes that he counterclaimed unsuccessfully for Eliza Edgar’s share of the compensation on Osborne’s in St George, Jamaica. (UCL Department of History, ‘Sir Thomas Baring 2nd Bart.’, in UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership [online], London 2020, <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/1813221728> accessed 6 August 2021.)

National Gallery painting connections

Paintings once in the Northbrook Collection: NG975, NG1006, NG1417–1419, NG1450, NG2731, NG2593, NG4251.

Bibliography

History of Parliament Trust (ed.), The History of Parliament: British Political, Social & Local History, London 1964-, https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website

D. Steele, 'Baring, Thomas George, first earl of Northbrook', in C. Matthew et al. (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford 1992-, https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/30586
Checked and foundItem on publisher's website

J. Turner et al. (eds), Grove Art Online, Oxford 1998-, https://www.oxfordartonline.com/groveart/
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website

UCL Department of History (ed.), Legacies of British Slave-ownership, London 2020, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/
Checked and not foundItem on publisher's website