Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford

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The Marquess of Hertford

Member of Parliament for Antrim
In office
Preceded byHugh Seymour
Succeeded byEdward Macnaghten
Personal details
Born(1800-02-22)22 February 1800
Died25 August 1870(1870-08-25) (aged 70)
Paris, France
ChildrenSir Richard Wallace, 1st Baronet
ParentsFrancis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford
Maria Emilia Fagnani
Shield of arms of Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford
The Château de Bagatelle, Hertford's home from 1848.
Hertford House, home of the Wallace Collection

Captain Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford KG (22 February 1800 – 25 August 1870) was an English aristocrat and sometime politician who spent his life in France devoting to collecting art.

Early life[edit]

Lord Hertford was the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford and Maria Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford. He had two siblings, Lord Henry Seymour-Conway, who also died unmarried, and Lady Frances Maria Seymour-Conway (the wife of the Marquis de Chevigne).[1] His paternal grandparents were Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway, 2nd Marquess of Hertford and, his second wife, Hon. Isabella Anne Ingram (eldest daughter and co-heiress of Charles Ingram, 9th Viscount of Irvine),[1] who was the mistress of the Prince of Wales, later King George IV.[2]

Although Lord Hertford was born in England, he was brought up in Paris by his mother, who had become estranged from his father.[3]


He served as a British MP in the 1820s, but he spent most of his life in Paris, in a large apartment in the city and, from 1848, at the Château de Bagatelle, a small country house in the Bois de Boulogne on the outskirts. When shown the extent of his Irish possessions, he is reported to have replied, "Well, I see it for the first time, and pray God! for the last time."[4] His English residences were Hertford House in Manchester Square, London, now home to the Wallace Collection, and Ragley Hall, which still belongs to the family.

According to the Goncourt brothers, Lord Hertford was "a complete, absolute, unashamed monster" who once proudly declared that "when I die I shall at least have the consolation of knowing that I have never rendered anyone a service."[5]

Lord Hertford died in 1870, aged 70 in Paris, unmarried and without legitimate issue, and his titles passed to his distant cousin Francis Seymour.[1] Lord Hertford's illegitimate son and secretary, Sir Richard Wallace, 1st Baronet (1818–1890), inherited his art collection.[1]

Art collection[edit]

Manchester House (as Hertford House was originally known) was let until 1850 as the French embassy, but from 1852 was used principally to house items from Hertford's art collection. He was an important art collector, named after his illegitimate son Sir Richard Wallace, to whom he left it and as much property as was not entailed.[6] Wallace's widow bequeathed the collection of paintings and objects to the nation and form the nucleus of the Wallace Collection.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Hertford, Marquess of (GB, 1793)". Heraldic Media Limited. Retrieved 10 May 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ William Wallace (1831). The History of the Life and Reign of George IV.: In 3 Volumes. Longman. p. 199.
  3. ^ of), Richard Seymour-Conway Hertford (Marquess; Mawson, Samuel; England), Wallace Collection (London (1981). The Hertford Mawson letters: the 4th Marquess of Hertford to his agent Samuel Mawson. Trustees of the Wallace Collection.
  4. ^ Bernard Falk, "Old Q's" Daughter: The History of a Strange Family, Hutchinson & Co., 1937.
  5. ^ Edmond de Goncourt, Jules de Goncourt, Pages from the Goncourt Journal, translated by Robert Baldick, New York Review of Books, 2007, page 154 (14 August 1869).
  6. ^ "The 4th Marquess". Retrieved 16 March 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further reading[edit]

  • Mallett, Donald (1979). The Greatest Collector: Lord Hertford and the Founding of the Wallace Collection. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-24467-8.
  • Ingamells, John, Ed. (1981). The Hertford Mawson Letters. London: The Wallace Collection.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Hugh Seymour
Member of Parliament for Antrim
Succeeded by
Edward Macnaghten
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Francis Seymour-Conway
Marquess of Hertford
Succeeded by
Francis Seymour