Information about Art, Antiques and Auctions in Ireland and around the world
  • About Des
  • Contact
  • Posts Tagged ‘LORD CASTLEREAGH’


    Saturday, August 13th, 2022
    Robert Stewart, 2nd Marquess of Londondonerry (Lord Castlereagh), c National Portrait Gallery, London.

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death by suicide of Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, an enormously influential and divisive figure, hated in both Ireland and Britain.  The silver inkstand presented by William Pitt to Stewart in 1805 when he became Secretary of State for War and the Colonies is now on display at his home at Mount Stewart, Co. Down. In this role he helped shape the future of Europe at the Congress of Vienna, the coming together of victorious leaders in 1814 after the defeat of Napoleon.  Earlier, in Ireland, he had played an important role suppressing the 1798 Rebellion and the creation of the Act of Union in 1801. 

    In England he supported the repressive measures of 1815 that linked him in the public mind to the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 when the cavalry charged a 60,000 crowd demanding parliamentary reform, killing 15. This event inspired Shelley’s poem, The Masque of Anarchy, in which the second stanza begins:

    I met Murder on the way,

    He had a mask like Castlereagh

    The inkstand remained within the family until it was sold in 2019. It has been acquired by the National Trust which administers the magnificent neo classical Mount Stewart House and Gardens in Northern Ireland. It is part of a new exhibition of Robert Stewart’s life which opened on August 12. Some time after his death Lord Byron penned these lines:

    Posterity will ne’er survey

    A nobler grave than this:

    Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:

    Stop, traveller, and piss