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Mr Albert Brassey 'The Master of the Heythrop'

Spy (Sir Leslie Ward) (1851-1922)


Inscribed 'Brassey' on reverse

Watercolour and bodycolour on tinted paper

12 x 8 inches

Vanity Fair, 15 March 1906, Men of The Day no 1006, 'The Master of The Heythrop'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 171

'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 83

At the time of his appearance in Vanity Fair, Albert Brassey (1844-1918) was the Conservative MP for Banbury, a seat he had held since 1895. Brassey spent much of his career in the army, serving as a lieutenant in the 14th Hussars and a Colonel in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, before servings as High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1878. A keen rower as a youth, he was part of Oxford teams that won the Grand Challenge Cup, Ladies’ Challenge Plate and Visitors’ Challenge Cup at the Henley Regatta.

“Mr Albert Brassey is Master of the celebrated Heythrop Pack, the servants of which Hunt still sport the Beaufort green plush in compliment to the days when Badminton and Heythrop were closely associated. It is a long reign which connects Mr. Brassey with the Heythrop Hounds - commencing, indeed, in 1873 - and public opinion has bestowed upon him the title of ‘Albert the Good’ in recognition of a well-spent life and a strenuous nature, which enables him at the end of three score years both to work and play hard. A man of order, all things with him are orderly, and it may easily be supposed that his nature revolts against the haphazard modes of modern life.

He was educated at Eton and University College, Oxford, and rowed in the Eton eight in 1862. Later he joined the 14th Hussars, and while quartered at Cahir in 1870 hunted the Regimental Harriers. About this time he fell a victim to the most pleasing of all maladies that affect the heart, and married the eldest daughter of Lord Clanmorris.

Mr. Brassey is a member of the Four-in-Hand and Coaching Clubs, and his bays form a spanking team. He took a fair dose of Parliament, and held his seat in the Conservative interest for ten years. He never caught the Speaker's eye, but was beloved by the Whips for his regular attendance. He has the right while in town to breakfast at the Oxford and Cambridge, lunch at the Army and Navy, have tea at the Naval and Military, dine at the Carlton, and sup at the Cavalry; and, if none of these suit his palate, he can retire to his own well-regulated establishment in Berkeley Square. That he is a sportsman none has ever gainsaid, and upon his own land and midst the lovely surroundings of his stately home at Heythrop he is recognised as a just and generous landlord, and a bountiful donor to philanthropic schemes.

He sees as much of a fox-hunt as most of them, and his good common sense and prudence usually find him well placed at the finish. The kindly manner in which the youthful Oxonian has ever been welcomed with the Heythrop still lives in the memory of a host of full-grown sportsmen who had their first experience of the gentle art of falling with his hounds. Rebuke when deserved is courteously administered, and is reasonably effective, despite the absence of that loud-tongued abuse in which some Masters so greatly delight.”

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