Percy Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford

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The 6th Viscount Strangford in a miniature by William Haines, c. 1808.

Percy Clinton Sydney Smythe, 6th Viscount Strangford, GCB, GCH (31 Aug 1780–29 May 1855) was an Anglo-Irish diplomat.

Personal life[edit]

He was the son of Lionel Smythe, 5th Viscount Strangford and Mary Eliza Philipse.

He was educated at Harrow and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in 1800, entered the diplomatic service, and in the following year succeeded to the title of Viscount Strangford in the Peerage of Ireland. In 1817, he married Ellen, daughter of Sir Thomas Burke, Bt. They had five children.

After the death of his wife in 1826 Smythe had three children by Katherine Benham, the eldest of whom was the artist Lionel Percy Smythe.

On his death he was succeeded by his eldest son George Smythe, 7th Viscount Strangford, who was an active figure in the Young England movement of the early 1840s.


He was ambassador to Portugal (1806), Sweden (1817), Ottoman Turkey (1820), and Russia (1825),[1] and translated the Rimas of Luís de Camões, and in 1825 was created Baron Penshurst, of Penshurst in the County of Kent, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, enabling him to sit in the House of Lords.[2]

In 1807, as Britain's envoy to Portugal, Lord Strangford coordinated the Portuguese royal family's flight from Portugal to Brazil.

He was made Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1815 and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Guelphic Order (GCH) in 1825.

In February 1825 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[3]

As ambassador to the Sublime Porte, he had opportunities to assemble fragments of Greek sculpture. Among his collection of antiquities was the "Strangford Shield", a 3rd-century CE Roman marble that reproduces the shield of Athena Parthenos, Phidias' sculpture formerly in the Parthenon. The "Strangford Shield" is conserved in the British Museum.


  1. ^ Burke's Peerage, s.v. "Strangford, Viscount".
  2. ^ The London Gazette: no. 18101. p. 123. 22 January 1825.
  3. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Lionel Smythe
Viscount Strangford
Succeeded by
George Smythe
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Penshurst
Succeeded by
George Smythe