John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst (1772-1863), politician and Lord Chancellor

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    The original portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1845. It presumably stayed with the artist, Count d’Orsay, as it appears to have been included in the sale of pictures from Gore House (home to D'Orsay from 1836 to 1849) in May 1849. The painting was later recorded in the collection of Prime Minister William Gladstone and, after Gladstone’s move from Carlton House Terrace in 1875, was sold through Christie, Manson and Wood. Benjamin Disraeli, then Prime Minister, sent his private secretary to secure its purchase. However, a group of politicians had also spotted the work for sale and, knowing what friends of the Prime Minister both sitter and artist were, clubbed together to purchase it. The private secretary and politicians all arrived at the auction late, after the work had sold to a third party. Politician Henry Cecil Raikes secured the work at almost ten times the price it had sold for and it was later presented to Disraeli.

    There has been some question as to whether Landseer was also involved in painting the portrait. When it was sold from Gladstone’s collection in 1875, the catalogue described it as: ‘A portrait of Lord Lyndhurst, by Count D’Orsay, engraved and superintended by Sir Edwin Landseer’.

  • About the artist
    Alfred, Count d’Orsay, dandy and amateur artist, was born in Paris, the son of one of Napoleon’s generals. He met Lord and Lady Blessington in 1822 and was romantically interested in Lady Blessington. Perhaps to divert D’Orsay’s attention from his wife, Lord Blessington wrote a will leaving his Irish property to one of his daughters, should either marry Count D’Orsay. D’Orsay chose 15 year old Lady Harriet Anne Gardiner and the couple married in Naples in 1827. It was not a happy union. Following the death of Lord Blessington and the breakdown of the Count’s marriage, D’Orsay and Lady Blessington became a prominent couple in fashionable society. D’Orsay died in Paris in 1852, having fled there with Lady Blessington to escape his debts.

    Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, animal painter, was born in Marylebone, London, the son of engraver John Landseer. He was initially trained by his father and first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of 13. In 1816, he entered Royal Academy schools. Between 1839 and 1866 Landseer made several paintings of Queen Victoria, the Prince Consort and their children. However, today he is best known for painting ‘Monarch of the Glen’ (exhibited in 1851) and designing the bronze lions at the foot of Nelson's Monument in Trafalgar Square (1859-66). In 1850, Landseer accepted a knighthood. In 1865 he declined the Presidency of the Royal Academy. Landseer died at the age of 71 and was buried at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
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  • Details
    John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst (1772-1863), politician and Lord Chancellor
    height: 48.70 cm, width: 39.10 cm
    origin uncertain
    GAC number