Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780-1855) diplomat

  • About the work

    Diplomat Percy Smythe, sixth Viscount Strangford, was born in London; the eldest son of Lionel Smythe, fifth Viscount, who served in the army before becoming ordained in 1785. Smythe graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1800 and, in 1802, became Secretary of the legation at Lisbon. In 1806 he was made temporary Minister Plenipotentiary. As the French advanced on Portugal in November 1807, he persuaded the Prince Regent to leave for Brazil. In 1808 Strangford received the Order of the Bath, was sworn of the Privy Council and appointed Envoy-Extraordinary to the Portuguese court in Brazil. On 18 July 1817, the day after his marriage to Eleanor Ellen (1788-1826), he became HM Ambassador to Sweden. Strangford was posted to Constantinople as Ambassador in 1820 and, from 1822, was in sole charge of Russian affairs in Turkey. He returned to the UK in 1824 and was raised to the peerage as Baron Penshurst of Penshurst the following year, before travelling to St Petersburg to serve as HM Ambassador to Russia. Strangford’s last posting was a special mission to Brazil in August 1828, following which he served in the House of Lords. He died at his home in Harley Street, London, aged 74.

  • 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.
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    Smythe, Percy Clinton Sydney, 6th Viscount Strangford
  • Details
    Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford (1780-1855) diplomat
    Pencil on paper
    height: 28.00 cm, width: 20.50 cm
    Purchased from Colnaghi, February 1955
    GAC number