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The Right Honourable Lord Otho Augustus Fitzgerald, MP 'A Message From The Queen'

Spy (Sir Leslie Ward) (1851-1922)



Watercolour and bodycolour with pencil

12 x 7 inches

Thomas Gibson Bowles;
Stanley Jackson;
The John Franks Collection

Vanity Fair, 9 August 1873, Statesmen no 150, 'A Message From The Queen'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 21

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 9

Lord Otho Augustus Fitzgerald (1827-1882) began his career in the army, serving as an officer in the Royal Horse Guards and as a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. His political career began in 1865 as Liberal MP for Kildare, a seat that he held until 1874. In 1866, he was sworn of the Privy Council and made Treasurer of the Household under Lord Russell. In 1868, he was appointed Comptroller of the Household under William Gladstone, which he held until 1874. He was also known as a talented amateur composer, publishing several piano compositions in Dublin.

“To be well-born, good looking, amiable to all comers, and ready of speech on most occasions is, as times go in England, to have all the chances. Even with these chances, however, it is perhaps not possible for any to be at once popular with men and a favourite with women, for the qualities and conduct required for success in one of these two respects are precisely those which often bring about failure in the other. Men as a rule endure best the modesty which overlies the greater gifts or acquirements, women rather prefer that assurance which makes the most of the lesser. Yet Lord Otho Fitzgerald has among the men as many allies as he would wish for, while among the more discriminating sex he has moved all his life rather as a conqueror among tributaries than as one great Power treating with another. Born somewhat over forty years ago, he passed nine years in the affectionate fraternity of the Blues, who still retain the memory of his military career. He then became Master of the Horse to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, and subsequently was made Gentleman of the Bedchamber and Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household, until at last he aimed at the dignity of Comptroller, in which capacity he appears from time to time in the House of Commons as the bearer of a message from the Queen. He sits there also as the elected of Kildare county, as which he is a Liberal, and therefore in favour of every change that has been tried to reconcile the Irish to the English occupation.

He takes however but a comparatively small share in popular legislation or debate, and it is in the sacred circles of Society that he is best known. He is reputed at Cowes as a professor of seamanship, and he has gone through a serious course of successive steam-launches. On the whole a fortunate man, well-considered at Court, well-known in the world of fashion, and taking life and people with the good-temper that should always arise from success.”

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