The Right Honourable William Pitt, drawn by H. Edridge 1801 and engraved by Anthony Cardon. London Published Dec. 26 1804 by H. Edridge, No 64 Margaret Street, Cavendish Square, and by Colnaghi & Co, Cockspur Street, Charing Cross. Stipple engraving, unframed and still on the original stretcher.
William Pitt, second son of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, was born at Hayes Place in the village of Hayes, Kent. He was sickly as a boy and educated at home by a Reverend Edward Wilson. He was intelligent and quickly became proficient in Latin and Greek. In 1773, aged fourteen, he attended Pembroke Hall (now Pembroke College, Cambridge), where he studied political philosophy, classics, mathematics, trigonometry, chemistry, and history. He remains the youngest ever Cambridge undergraduate.Whilst at Cambridge he was tutored by George Pretyman who became a lifelong personal friend. Pretyman was Bishop of Lincoln then Winchester and PItt would draw upon his advice throughout his political career. While at Cambridge, he befriended the young William Wilberforce, who was also to become a lifelong friend and political ally in Parliament.