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The Hon. Sir Walter Francis Hely-Hutchinson, GCMG 'Natal'

Spy (Sir Leslie Ward) (1851-1922)



Watercolour with bodycolour on tinted paper

6 ¾ x 12 ¼ inches

Vanity Fair, 7 July 1898, Men of the Day no 717, 'Natal'

Chris Beetles & Alexander Beetles (eds.) Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection, London: Chris Beetles Ltd, 2023, page 127

'The Illustrators. The British Art of Illustration 1871-2022', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, November-December 2022, no 39;
'Portraits of Vanity Fair: The Charles Sigety Collection', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, October-November 2023, no 61;
'The Law Show', Chris Beetles Gallery, London, December 2023

Trained as a barrister, Sir Walter Francis Hely-Hutchinson was a diplomat who spent much of his career aborad, serving in Fiji, Malta and the Caribbean, before being appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Natal and Zululand in 1893, a post he was holding when his portrait appeared in Vanity Fair. In 1901, he was appointed Governor of the Cape Colony.

Spy depicts Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson wearing the Regalia of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George.

“He began it in Dublin, nearly half a century ago, by becoming the second son of the fourth Earl of Donoughmore, and the great-great-grandson of that John Hely-Hutchinson who was at once Secretary of State for Ireland and Provost of Trinity College, Dublin. Like all good Irishmen he left Ireland; and having learned what they could teach him at Harrow he went to Cambridge, took his degree in Law and naturally thought of the Bar. He read with A. B. Dickson and Northmore Lawrence in Lincoln's Inn and was not called because the present Lord Donoughmore invited him to his wedding in Hobart: which invitation he accepted at thirty-six hours' notice. In Australia he met Lord Rosmead (then Sir Hercules Robinson) and went with him, as Attaché to the Mission to annex Fiji; after which Sir Hercules made a Private Secretary of him. Twenty years ago he was improved into Colonial Secretary of Barbadoes, after which he got himself called to the Bar. Being thus qualified for work, and still unbriefed, he has successively been Chief Secretary to the Government in Malta, Governor of the Windward Islands, and the first Governor of Natal and Zululand; which last he became five years ago under the new régime.

He has only spent twenty-three months of the last quarter of a century in England; yet are his friends in this country not tired of him. He is, indeed, one of the most popular of men; for he is a good fellow, an honest sportsman, a capital story-teller, and full of tact. He is also a man of judgment, with a knack of getting on with strangers. In Natal - whither he returned on Saturday after a short visit to England - he is as popular as he is in England. He is a good polo-player and a keen golfer who has played cricket; he can shoot, and his performances in the saddle are still remembered in Tipperary, Curraghmore, and Kilkenny. He is so well informed that he can talk with most men on their own subjects; besides which he is quite an authority on drainage. He is also a good speaker who has a sense of humour; a domesticated husband who is devoted to a charming wife, and an unaffected, good fellow."

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