Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford

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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 the son of Francis Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess of Hertford and Maria Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford.

Although Lord Hertford was born in England, he was brought up in Paris by his mother who had become estranged from his father. 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."[1] 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 Goncourts, Lord Hertford was "a complete, absolute, unashamed monster"[2] 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."[3] He died in 1870, aged 70 in Paris, unmarried and without legitimate issue, and his titles passed to his distant cousin Francis Seymour.

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, the main founder of the Wallace Collection, named after his illegitimate son and secretary, Sir Richard Wallace, 1st Baronet, to whom he left it and as much property as was not entailed.[4]


  1. ^ Bernard Falk, "Old Q's" Daughter: The History of a Strange Family, Hutchinson & Co., 1937.
  2. ^ 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).
  3. ^ Ibid.
  4. ^ "The 4th Marquess". Retrieved 16 March 2015.

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