The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

The Duke of Abercorn and family

The Duke of Abercorn and family

A carte-de-visite portrait of the Conservative statesman James Abercorn (1811-1885), who succeeded his grandfather as Marquess of Abercorn in 1818 and was created 1st Duke of Abercorn in 1868. He is seen here with his wife and two of their daughters.

Born in Mayfair on 21 January 1811, he was the son of James Hamilton, styled Viscount Hamilton, himself the eldest son of John Hamilton, 1st Marquess of Abercorn. His father died when he was only three years old. In 1818, aged only seven, he succeeded his grandfather in his titles and estates. He was educated at Harrow and Christ Church, Oxford.

In 1832 Lord Abercorn married Lady Louisa Russell, second daughter of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford. The marriage produced fourteen children, of whom thirteen survived infancy.

In 1844, still aged only 33, he was created a Knight of the Garter. In 1846 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor and Groom of the Stole to Prince Albert; he remained a prominent figure at the royal court for the new two decades. In 1866 he was appointed Viceroy of Ireland, and although he resigned his post shortly after Gladstone won the general election of 1868, he was reappointed in 1874 and served as Viceroy for a further two years. He resigned again in 1876, partly on the grounds of his wife’s ill health.

He died on 31 October 1885 at Baronscourt, his home in County Tyrone. He was buried in the cemetery of the local parish church, the traditional burial place of the Dukes of Abercorn and their families.

Photographed by Alexander Ayton of Londonderry (Derry) in Northern Ireland.


Code: 126622
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© Paul Frecker 2019