In this copy of a work by George Richmond, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, Third Marquess of Salisbury, is dressed in the robes of Chancellor of the University of Oxford (head of the university), a position he assumed in 1869. The original painting was made in around 1872 and is now in the collection of his former home, Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.
Robert Cecil, three times Prime Minister, was born at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, the second son of James Brownlow William Cecil, Second Marquess of Salisbury. After the death of his elder brother, Cecil became Viscount Cranborne in 1866 and entered the government of Lord Derby as Secretary of State for India. Two years later his father died and he became the third Marquess of Salisbury. From 1868 to 1871 he was Chairman of the Great Eastern Railway, before returning to Government in 1874 to resume the role of Secretary of State for India.
In 1878 Salisbury was made Foreign Minister, helping to lead Britain to peace at the Congress of Berlin, for which he was awarded the Order of the Garter. Following the death of Disraeli in 1881, he led the Conservative members of the House of Lords and was elected Prime Minister of a minority Government in 1885, returning to power with a majority the following year to serve as Prime Minister until 1902. During his leadership, Salisbury set up the London County Council and his government also passed the Naval Defence Act, allowing the greatest ever expansion of the Navy during peace times.
In 1902, following the death of his wife, his health began to fail and he resigned his position. He was succeeded by his nephew, Arthur James Balfour (1848–1930).
Dorofield Hardy was a painter of figures, landscapes, interiors and miniature portraits. In 1889, he was living in Pembridge Place, Bayswater, when he exhibited a single work at the Royal Society of British Artists, Suffolk Street, entitled ‘A New Piece’. Following this he exhibited at numerous other venues, including 16 works at the Dudley Gallery, London; eleven at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours and eight at the Royal Miniature Society. Hardy was also frequently employed to produce accurate copies of works by other artists.
Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury (1830-1903) Prime Minister
Oil on canvas
height: 235.00 cm, width: 145.00 cm
Presented by Lord Salisbury, 1928
Collection of politician and lay churchman James Edward Hubert Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (1861-1947) of Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, and 20 (later moving to 21) Arlington Street, London; by whom presented to the Office of Works in 1928
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