Count Adolphus Augustus Frederic Kielmansegge (died 1866), Hanoverian diplomat

Alfred, Count d' Orsay (1801 - 1852)

Pencil on paper

19 January 1842
  • About the work

    Count Adolphus Augustus Frederic Kielmansegge had arrived in Britain by 1840 to serve as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary for Hanover at the Court of St. James’s. Kielmansegge reportedly ‘formed many friendships… [and] was very widely known beyond the ordinary bounds of diplomatic society’. His personable approach is perhaps explained in the memoirs of politician James Harris, third Earl of Malmesbury, who reported on a gathering at Lord Palmerston’s residence in 1858:

    Count Kielmansegge, the Hanoverian Minister, … [expressed] that a foreign Ambassador ought to have no politics except those of his own country; and it ought to make no difference to him which party was in office, it being his duty to be friends with all.’

    In 1864, Kielmansegge’s wish to retire was reported in ‘The Morning Post’, ‘on account of his increasing years and consequent infirm health.’ He died at his country seat in Holsteon, Holland, on Tuesday 12 June 1866. Kielmansegge’s daughter, Hélène Eleanore Charlotte Augusta (1836-1871), was for some time lady of the bedchamber to the Princess of Wales. In 1857 she married army officer and naturalist Arthur Hay (1824-1878), later ninth Marquess of Tweeddale.

  • 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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  • Details
    Title
    Count Adolphus Augustus Frederic Kielmansegge (died 1866), Hanoverian diplomat
    Date
    19 January 1842
    Medium
    Pencil on paper
    Dimensions
    height: 28.00 cm, width: 20.50 cm
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Colnaghi, February 1955
    Inscription
    Sdbr&Insbc (ink)
    GAC number
    3052