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The Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham 'Youth'

Spy (Sir Leslie Ward) (1851-1922)



Watercolour and bodycolour with pencil on tinted paper

14 x 10 inches

Vanity Fair, 2 October 1880, Statesmen 341, 'Youth'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 53

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 25

The 11th Earl of Winchilsea and 6th Earl of Nottingham, George James Finch-Hatton was elected MP for Northamptonshire North from 1837 to 1841, before succeeding his father to the earldom in 1858 and entering the House of Lords. The earl entered into financial difficulties during the 1860s, was forced to vacate the family estate of Eastwell Park, which was let to the Duke of Abercorn, and was declared bankrupt in 1870.

“Sixty five years ago there was born to the ancient house of Finch-Hatton an heir; and an heir moreover who, as time moved on, appeared likely to make the name illustrious in the annals of England.

George James Viscount Maidstone excelled in classics at Oxford, wrote capital political squibs in London, married a beautiful Paget, sat in Parliament for Northamptonshire, and even bearded, and bearded successfully, the demagogue O'Connell in all his glory. Whether as ‘John Davis’ the lampoonist, as the elegant scholar, or as the witty companion, he was popular wherever he went, and it was predicted of him that he would do great things.
But, perhaps because he seems to have learned the secret of perpetual youth, he has not begun to do the great things yet. He has a wonderful knowledge of racing, and, indeed, of most things under the sun; he can write verses that will scan, and will not suffer a false quantity from others, he dresses beautifully, is the soul of honour, and knows how to bear misfortune like a gentleman. His motto very fitly is, ‘Nil conscire sibi.’”

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