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Mount Stewart has been home to the Stewart family, Marquesses of Londonderry for over 250 years. After a major restoration project, it now reflects the era when Charles, 7th Marquess of Londonderry, and his wife Edith, made it their much-loved Irish home from the 1920s to the 1950s.


Art Unlocked is an online talk series by Art UK in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies. This Curation is based on a talk by Dr Christopher Warleigh-Lack, Property Curator at Mount Stewart House & Gardens, on 28th July 2021. You can find a recording at https://youtu.be/XA1739FfnHg

6 artworks
  • Edmond Brock's group portrait shows Edith, Marchioness of Londonderry and her three youngest daughters Margaret, Helen, and Mairi with her pet goat Paddy. In the background, the faces of her husband Charles, 7th Marquess and the artist himself appear in the herms.


    Edith is shown in the guise of Circe the Sorceress of Homer's Odyssey who charmed Odysseus and his men to stay on her island before turning them into pigs. As Circe, Edith presided over The Ark, a club she founded during the First World War based in the parts of Londonderry House, in London, not used as a hospital. Members were given names of birds, beasts or mythical creatures. Churchill was Winston the Warlock and Arthur Balfour, Arthur the Albatross, for example.

    'Circe and the Sirens': A Group Portrait of the Honourable Edith Chaplin (1878–1959), Marchioness of Londonderry, and Her Three Youngest Daughters, Lady Margaret Frances Anne Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1910–1966), Lady Helen Maglona Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1911–1986), and Lady Mairi Elizabeth Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1921–2009), Later Viscountess Bury 1925
    Edmond Brock (1882–1952)
    Oil on canvas
    H 327.5 x W 274.5 cm
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    'Circe and the Sirens': A Group Portrait of the Honourable Edith Chaplin (1878–1959), Marchioness of Londonderry, and Her Three Youngest Daughters, Lady Margaret Frances Anne Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1910–1966), Lady Helen Maglona Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1911–1986), and Lady Mairi Elizabeth Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1921–2009), Later Viscountess Bury
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: National Trust Images

  • An unusual portrait by the artists showing the space in which the sitter exists, in this case seated on a sofa in Londonderry House. Behind him is the Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of his great-great uncle, Viscount Castlereagh, also at Mount Stewart. The 7th Marquess is shown in court evening dress, wearing his ancestor's Star and Garter set in diamonds.

    Sir Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1878–1949), 7th Marquess of Londonderry, KG, Seated under a Lawrence Portrait of Castlereagh 1924
    Philip Alexius de László (1869–1937)
    Oil on canvas
    H 84.5 x W 67.5 cm
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    Sir Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart (1878–1949), 7th Marquess of Londonderry, KG, Seated under a Lawrence Portrait of Castlereagh
    Photo credit: National Trust Images

  • This white figurine of ‘Der Fahnenträger’ (the Standard Bearer) depicts an SS officer. It was a gift from Goering to the 7th Marquess of Londonderry during a visit to Goering's hunting estate in 1936. Tapping into the diplomatic genes of his distinguished forebear, Lord Londonderry had been attempting to foster good relations with Hitler’s regime in a bid to avoid a tragic repetition of the WWI.


    What Lord Londonderry couldn’t have foreseen was that in a matter of just a few years, porcelain figurines such as this would be manufactured under the most horrific of circumstances when Allach production was moved to the concentration camp of Dachau.

    SS Fahnenträger 1935–1936
    Theodor Kärner (1884–1966) and Porzellan Manufaktur Allach
    Porcelain
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    SS Fahnenträger
    © the copyright holder. Photo credit: National Trust / Bryan Rutledge

  • Sir Henry Vane Tempest owned Hambletonian who was believed to be the fastest horse in the north of England. Joseph Cookson’s horse Diamond had the reputation of being the fastest in the south of England. The two horses raced each other at Newmarket on 25 March 1799, and Hambletonian won.
    There is little here by way of celebration, nor is there a tribute to the victorious owner. This painting is all about the horse.


    Stubbs painted this at the age of 76, at the end of a long career, and it demonstrates his detailed understanding of horse anatomy. Interestingly, Stubbs’ portraits were often painted, as here, in the landscape layout. Stubbs had to take Vane-Tempest to court for non-payment of the 300 guineas he was owed for this painting.

    'Hambletonian', Rubbing Down 1800
    George Stubbs (1724–1806)
    Oil on canvas
    H 209.5 x W 367.5 cm
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    'Hambletonian', Rubbing Down
    Photo credit: National Trust Images

  • Canova, the most celebrated sculptor of his day, was asked by Pope Pius VII to represent the Holy See in a diplomatic mission to repatriate the spoils of Napoleon's campaigns. The British government was ready to help, even providing a frigate to ship the art back to Rome. This bust of Helen was given to Lord Castlereagh by the Pope as a thank you, and is one of five known versions of this subject by Canova, one of which is in the Hermitage in St Petersburg and one in the V&A London.

    Helen of Troy 1815–1816
    Antonio Canova (1757–1822)
    Carrara marble
    H 66 x W 30 x D 33 cm
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    Helen of Troy
    Photo credit: National Trust Images

  • Lawrence became a highly sought-after portrait painter who created powerful images of the leading figures of society. Frances Anne is the focus here in the centre of the image, looking out and engaging with us. Her son, George, leads her and us through the entrance of her ancestral home in the north-east of England. With the house came coal mines, shipping and agricultural land, enriching the Londonderry family through this marriage. Unusually for a woman at the time, Frances Anne managed these estates herself. One day, the little boy, George, would be among the richest men in the country, but at this point he was the second child and not set to inherit the family titles. This painting displays the ancestral wealth and luxurious clothes.

    Frances Anne (1800–1865), Marchioness of Londonderry, and Her Son, George Henry (1827–1828), Viscount Seaham c.1827–1828
    Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830)
    Oil on canvas
    H 296.5 x W 205.5 cm
    National Trust, Mount Stewart
    Frances Anne (1800–1865), Marchioness of Londonderry, and Her Son, George Henry (1827–1828), Viscount Seaham
    Photo credit: National Trust / Bryan Rutledge