Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford

British politician

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The Marquess of Hertford

Portrait by Thomas Lawrence, c. 1825
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
14 March 1812 – 28 July 1812
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Spencer Perceval
The Earl of Liverpool
Preceded by Lord John Thynne
Succeeded by Viscount Jocelyn
Personal details
Born 11 March 1777
Died 1 March 1842 (1842-04) (aged 64)
Nationality British
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Maria Emilia Fagnani
(1771–1856)

Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, KG, GCH, PC (11 March 1777 – 1 March 1842), styled Viscount Beauchamp between 1793 and 1794 and Earl of Yarmouth between 1794 and 1822, of Ragley Hall in Warwickshire and of Sudbourne Hall in Suffolk, was a British Tory politician and art collector.

Origins[edit]

Seymour-Conway was the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford, by his second wife Isabella Anne Ingram, eldest daughter and co-heiress of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine.

Political career[edit]

Lord Yarmouth sat as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Orford in Suffolk (which town was situated within his Sudbourne estate) from 1797 to 1802,[1] for Lisburn from 1802 to 1812,[2] for Antrim from 1812 to 1818[3] and for Camelford from 1820 to 1822.[4] He served as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies Viscount Castlereagh‘s second during his 1809 duel with Foreign Secretary George Canning.[5] In March 1812 he was sworn of the Privy Council[6] and appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household under Spencer Perceval. He continued in the post after Lord Liverpool became Prime Minister in May 1812 after Perceval’s assassination, but relinquished it in July of that year. The same year he was appointed Lord Warden of the Stannaries,[7] a post he held until his death. He succeeded his father in the marquessate in 1822. The same year he was also made a Knight of the Garter[8] and appointed Vice-Admiral of Suffolk, a post he retained until his death.

Art collector[edit]

Assisted by his wife’s great fortune,[9] Lord Hertford was a notable art collector, as were his son and illegitimate grandson. Much of his collection survives as the Wallace Collection in Hertford House, London, named after Sir Richard Wallace, 1st Baronet, the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess.[10]

Cricket[edit]

Seymour-Conway was an amateur cricketer who made two known appearances in first-class cricket matches in 1799.[11] He was a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC).[12]

Marriage and issue[edit]

Maria Emilia Fagnani, miniature portrait by Richard Cosway, painted in 1791, at the age of twenty, and eight years before her wedding.[13] Wallace Collection.

On 18 May 1798 he married Maria Emilia Fagnani (1771-1856), known as “Mie-Mie”,[14] reputedly the illegitimate daughter of William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry, by his mistress Costanza Brusati (“the Marchesa Fagnani”), the wife of Giacomo II Fagnani, IV marchese di Gerenzano (1740-1785), an Italian nobleman descended from the jurist Raffaele Fagnani (1552-1623), a resident of the Duchy of Milan.[15][circular reference] Queensbury was the eighth richest man in Britain and having never married, left much of his fortune to Maria,[16] his only offspring. This wealth enabled Hertford to establish his famous art collection, now represented by the Wallace Collection,[17]
named after his grandson Sir Richard Wallace, 1st Baronet, the illegitimate son of the 4th Marquess. Sir Richard Wallace had a special fondness for his grandmother Mie-Mie, possibly as both suffered the stigma of illegitimacy,[18] and in his will the 4th Marquess mentions Sir Richard’s kindness to his mother. Sir Richard Wallace erected a monument to his grandmother Maria Fagnani in Sudbourne Church, in the form of the stained glass east window, depicting Mary Magdalene, “the prostitute who washed Jesus’s feet with oil but was also the first person to witness the resurrection”, seemingly “an intentional reference to Mie-Mie’s circumstances”.[19] By Maria Fagnani he had three children:

  • Lady Frances Maria Seymour-Conway (d. 1822);
  • Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800–1870), eldest son and heir;
  • Lord Henry Seymour-Conway (1805–1859), founder of the Jockey Club in Paris. He inherited much of his mother’s wealth, and died unmarried in Paris, having bequeathed the residue of his income, about £36,000 per annum, to Paris hospitals. He was buried in his mother’s vault in the Cemetery of Père-Lachaise,[20] also the burial place of his nephew Sir Richard Wallace.
Funeral hatchment of Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford, Sudbourne Church, Suffolk, showing his arms, circumscribed by the Garter, in alliance with and impaling Fagnani: Argent, an eagle displayed with two heads sable[21]

Death and succession[edit]

In Hertford’s last years the mental instability which had afflicted several members of his family became noticeable[22] and he is said to have lived with a retinue of prostitutes. The diarist Charles Greville stated of him “there has been, so far as I know, no such example of undisguised debauchery” and described him as broken with infirmities and unable to speak due to paralysis of the tongue.[23] He died in March 1842, aged 64, and was succeeded by his eldest son Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford. The Marchioness of Hertford died in March 1856, aged 84.

Legacy[edit]

Lord Hertford was the prototype for the characters of the Marquess of Monmouth in Benjamin Disraeli‘s 1844 novel Coningsby and Lord Steyne in William Makepeace Thackeray‘s 1847–8 serial Vanity Fair. Thackeray’s illustration of the Marquis for issue 11 was considered to bear such a resemblance to Hertford that threat of prosecution for libel effectively suppressed its publication.[24]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ Leigh Rayment’s Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with “O” (part 1)
  2. ^ Leigh Rayment’s Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with “L” (part 3)
  3. ^ Leigh Rayment’s Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with “A” (part 2)
  4. ^ Leigh Rayment’s Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with “C” (part 2)
  5. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free.id-lock-free a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Lock-green.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited.id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration.id-lock-registration a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription.id-lock-subscription a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url(“//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Wikisource-logo.svg”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-night .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error,html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}html.skin-theme-clientpref-os .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}Campbell, John (2010). Pistols at Dawn: Two Hundred Years of Political Rivalry from Pitt and Fox to Blair and Brown. Internet Archive. London: Vintage. pp. 23–34. ISBN 978-1-84595-091-0.
  6. ^ “No. 16584”. The London Gazette. 17 March 1812. p. 517.
  7. ^ “No. 16632”. The London Gazette. 11 August 1812. p. 1579.
  8. ^ “No. 17872”. The London Gazette. 23 November 1822. p. 1914.
  9. ^ “Together with the Hertford family fortune, her money assured the family enormous wealth, a consideration which might have helped to smooth over the difficulties of her turbulent and socially unequal marriage to the future 3rd Marquess” (Wallace Collection website, catalogue entry re her miniature portrait by Cosway [1])
  10. ^ “wallacecollection.org The 3rd Marquess of Hertford”. Archived from the original on 5 July 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  11. ^ Lord Yarmouth, CricketArchive. Retrieved 7 December 2020. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), Lillywhite, 1862
  13. ^ Wallace Collection website, catalogue entry re her miniature portrait by Cosway [2]
  14. ^ Mark Fairweather, “The Sudbourne Hall Estate”, Rendlesham Parish Magazine, Issue 113, March 2021, pp.6-8 [3]
  15. ^ More information
  16. ^ François-René de Chateaubriand, Béatrix d’ Andlau, Pierre Riberette, Correspondance générale: Volume 5 (Gallimard, 1986), page 540
  17. ^ “The 3rd Marquess became the first great collector of the family. He acquired outstanding Dutch paintings, French furniture and Sèvres porcelain. His ambitious collecting was partly made possible by the enormous fortune that his wife brought into the family. Both George Augustus Selwyn and the 4th Duke of Queensbury left Maria Fagnani, known as Mie-Mie, their considerable fortunes because each man regarded her as his daughter. Together with the Hertford family fortune, her money assured the family enormous wealth, a consideration which might have helped to smooth over the difficulties of her turbulent and socially unequal marriage to the future 3rd Marquess.” (Wallace Collection website, catalogue entry re her miniature portrait by Cosway [4])
  18. ^ Fairweather
  19. ^ Fairweather; “Although Sudbourne was a Hertford domain for 120 years she is the only member of the Hertford family commemorated in Sudbourne Church – the rest are in the chapel of the family’s principal residence at Ragley Hall”
  20. ^ Alger, John Goldworth (1897). “Seymour, Henry (1805-1859)” . Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. 51. p. 323.
  21. ^ Peter G. Summers, Hatchments in Britain, Vol.2, Norfolk and Suffolk, 1976, p.130; the correct arms of Fagnani are Azure, an eagle displayed argent (see [5])
  22. ^ Hyde, Montgomery The Strange Death of Lord Castlereagh William Heinemann 1959 p.157
  23. ^ Hyde, p.157
  24. ^ “Suppressed Plates”, Pall Mall Magazine, London, 1899{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link).

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Orford
17971802
With: Lord Robert Seymour
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Lisburn
18021812
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of Parliament for Antrim
18121818
With: John O’Neill
Succeeded by

Vacant

Title last held by

John Stewart
Lewis Allsopp

Member of Parliament for Camelford
18201822
With: Mark Milbank
Succeeded by

Political offices
Preceded by

Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
March–July 1812
Succeeded by

Court offices
Preceded by

Lord Warden of the Stannaries
1812–1842
Succeeded by

Honorary titles
Preceded by

Vice-Admiral of Suffolk
1822–1842
Vacant

Title next held by

The Earl of Stradbroke

Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by

Marquess of Hertford
1822–1842
Succeeded by