Sir Thomas Lawrence (Bristol 1769-1830 London) Portrait of William Wellesley-Pole,

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Lot 57
Sir Thomas Lawrence
(Bristol 1769-1830 London)
Portrait of William Wellesley-Pole,

£ 20,000 - 30,000
US$ 25,000 - 38,000
Amended
Sir Thomas Lawrence (Bristol 1769-1830 London)
Portrait of William Wellesley-Pole, later 1st Baron Maryborough and 3rd Earl of Mornington (1763-1845), long bust-length, in a black coat, yellow waistcoat and white cravat
oil on canvas
77 x 63cm (30 5/16 x 24 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Norris family
    Sale, Sotheby's London, 3 April 1996, lot 70

    William Wellesley Pole was an older brother of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington and younger brother of Richard Colley Wellesley, Marquess of Wellesley. He was created 1st Baron Maryborough in 1821. The attribution has been confirmed by Kenneth Garlick on the basis of a good transparency in a letter dated 19th February 1998.

    In Garlick's 1998 letter, he initially suggested that the portrait may have been painted on the sitter's being raised to the peerage in 1821. He did, however, suggest that stylistically the portrait seemed to him to be earlier and subsequent comparison of the present portrait with other images of the sitter, including those by Hoppner at Stratfield Saye and by Owen engraved by Charles Picart in 1815, would suggest that William Wellesley Pole is more likely to have been depicted in his late forties, rather than his late fifties. This would no doubt have been in recognition of his ascendancy in Liverpool's administration at that time.

    William was educated at Eton (1774-76) after which he became an officer in the Royal Navy, serving on the Medea and the frigate Incidental between 1778-82. Due to the debts of his father, who had died in 1781, the family were forced into financial stringency which was fortunately partially alleviated when a cousin, William Pole, left William his estates that same year. This led to William legally changing his name to William Wesley-Pole (later to Wellesley-Pole). On leaving the Navy he entered the Irish Parliament as Tory Member for Trim between 1783 and 1790, during the Premiership of William Pitt, the Younger. During this time William married Katherine Elizabeth Forbes, granddaughter of the 3rd Earl of Granard and 3rd Earl of Essex in 1784. They were to have three daughters and one son, the last of whom inherited his titles on his death in 1845.

    William returned to the Irish Parliament as Member for Queen’s County between 1801 and 1821. During this time he was to hold various offices. He was Clerk of the Ordnance between 1802 and 1806 with responsibility for British artillery, engineers, fortifications, military supplies, transport, field hospitals and much else, during the crucial time when Napoleon was crowned Emperor and the vitally important Battle of Trafalgar was fought. William Wellesley-Pole also held important offices of State in Ireland, becoming Lord of the Treasury for Ireland between 1809 and 1811 and Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1809 and 1812, thus being the key office-holder of state in the British administration in Ireland. William was invested as Privy Councillor in 1809 and held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland between 1811 and 1812.

    Although he resigned his Irish offices of state in August 1812 (in deference of his brother's quarrel with Lord Liverpool), Liverpool appointed him Master of the Royal Mint and gave him a seat on the Cabinet in September 1814. Following his brother's spectacular victory at Waterloo, he remained an active member of Liverpool's cabinet and pursued a strong personal and working relationship with Wellington, until August 1823, when he resigned the Mint and left the Cabinet. He died on the 22nd February, 1845 in Grosvenor Street, London, and was buried in Grosvenor Chapel, Audley Street.

Saleroom notices

  • Portrait of a gentleman, possibly William Wellesley-Pole, later 1st Baron Maryborough and 3rd Earl of Mornington. The identity of the sitter has been based on observations made by Georgina Stonor on the basis of comparisons with Hoppner’s portrait at Stratfield Saye and the portrait by Owen engraved by Charles Picart in 1815.
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