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16 July 2015

The Returning Officer: Illustrations

“The free and independent man for free and independent men.”  

By Stephen Brasher

In 1892, the most costly votes were acquired in St Pancras North by John Leighton; taking into account his expenses, his 35 votes cost him £12, 18 shillings and ten pence each. He finished third behind the Liberal Thomas Bolton, who had regained the seat in 1890, when Leighton had polled 29 votes, describing himself as “the free and independent man for free and independent men”.

Leighton was one of the best-known book illustrators of his day. He was involved in setting up the Graphic, a rival to the Illustrated London News. In 1894, he wrote to the Standard about copyright in photography, unhappy it had the same protection “as a work of high art”, and argued: “The right to one’s face is a subject that should be investigated.”

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