Edward Clifford (British, 1844-1907) A lunch party at Ashridge House
Lot 91W
Edward Clifford
(British, 1844-1907)
A lunch party at Ashridge House
Sold for £11,875 (US$ 19,959) inc. premium
Lot Details
Edward Clifford (British, 1844-1907)
A lunch party at Ashridge House depicting from left to right: Vicount de Vesci, Colonel the Hon. Reg Talbot, Vicountess de Vesci, the Hon. Mrs R Talbot, the Countess Brownlow, Miss Pamela Wyndham, the Hon. Alfred Talbot, Lady Alice Garford, Mr Harry East, the Hon. Mrs Percy Wyndham, the Earl of Pembroke, the Countess of Pembroke, the Countess Cowper, Admiral Hon. W Carpenter, the Earl Brownlow, Constance Marchioness of Lothian
signed and dated 'Edward Clifford 1892.' (lower left), inscribed with the names of the guests throughout
watercolour and bodycolour, paper collage laid on canvas
86 x 140.5cm (33 7/8 x 55 5/16in).


  • The setting for this gathering is the rose garden at Ashridge House, the seat of the Earls of Brownlow. The 3rd Earl of Brownlow and his wife the Countess Brownlow are hosting the party which includes many leading influential aristocrats and politicians of the day. The formal arrangement of figures promotes the idea of a painting commissioned to record this particular gathering and works primarily as a chronicle of the event. The inscription of the names of the sitters is further evidence of this. It calls to mind other paintings by Edward Clifford where he was commissioned to record a specific event with portraits of the protagonists being an important function of the picture such as Broadlands Conference at Lord Mount Temples House.

    The figures portrayed are all highly linked by marriage and politics. There are no less than four Conservative MPs depicted and also Mrs. Percy Wyndham whose husband was also a leading Conservative MP. Some of the figures would have moved in specific circles such as The Souls which was a group that sought social meetings without the charged subject of Gladstone's policy on Irish Home Rule overshadowing events, this was at its height in the early 1890s. The gathering pictured here is more likely to be a celebration of families linked by marriage and friendship with the political similarities being a secondary issue.

    The Ashridge estate passed to the Brownlows in 1848. It had recently been developed by James Wyatt and is now seen as an important example of the Early Gothic Revival style. The castellated parapet is visible in the upper edge of the picture. The link with Conservatism was further strengthened in the 20th century when in 1921 the house was purchased and donated to the Conservative party.

    Many of the sitters had or would go on to be painted by other leading artists such as John Singer Sargent, and Frederic, Lord Leighton but Edward Clifford was the artist of choice for many of the group. He painted the portrait of the Viscountess de Vesci in the same year, 1892. He also painted the portrait of the Hon. Mrs. Talbot, both women stand next to each other in the present lot.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the names of the sitters 'Mr. Harry East' and 'Lady Alice Garford' should read 'Mr. Henry Cust' and 'Lady Alice Gaisford' respectively.
  1. Peter Rees
    Specialist - 19th Century Paintings
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
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