George Whitefield

George Whitefield
George Whitefield

1800-1850 / Engraving / Ministers, Preachers & Associates / Paper / Print
Engraving on paper
Probably early to mid 1800s

Engraving of George Whitefield (1714-1770) preaching in a pulpit. The seventh child of Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield, George Whitefield was left with a squint by a bout of childhood measles. This resulted in a nickname in later life, 'Dr Squintum', among those who didn't like Whitefield. His squint is not obvious in this engraving.

At Oxford, Whitefield met the Wesley brothers and became a member of the 'Holy Club', the fledgling evangelical group which preceded Methodism. Whitefield was an instant success as an evangelist and orator, and it was he who persuaded John Wesley to preach out of doors. Over the following thirty years, Whitefield's 'field preaching' attracted huge crowds in England, Scotland and the Americas, where he sailed seven times.

As time went by, Whitefield increasingly followed Calvinist doctrine, which brought him into collision course with the Wesley brothers, who argued against Calvinist views that grace and salvation were only for the few. Eventually, in the 1770s, Methodism divided into Wesleyan (Arminian) and Calvinistic branches.

See also 2001/8263 in the Online Collection for further information on Whitefield's relationship with the Wesley brothers, and the oil painting of Whitefield, 2011/12897.