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William Robert Fitzgerald, 2nd Duke of Leinster (1749-1804)


Artist: Horace Hone

7.4 cm (2 1/1")
Signed and dated 1791 set in fine gold frame with bright -cut border, reverse with seed pearl monogram JM on locks of hair within gold mount and blue glass border

William was an Irish liberal politician and landowner. He was born in London. FitzGerald made his Grand Tour between 1768 and 1769. During the same time, he also was Member of Parliament (MP) for Kildare Borough. FitzGerald then sat in the Irish House of Commons for Dublin City until 1773, when he inherited his father's title and estates. He was appointed High Sheriff of Kildare for 1772. Politically he was a liberal supporter of Henry Grattan's Irish Patriot Party and he
co-founded the Irish Whig Club in 1789. He controlled about six Kildare members of the Irish House of Commons. In 1779 he was elected Colonel of the Dublin Regiment of the Irish Volunteers.

In 1770 FitzGerald was chosen Grandmaster of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, which post he held for two years. He was re-elected for another year in 1777.] In 1783 he was among the first knights in the newly created Order of St. Patrick.

In 1788-9 he was Master of the Rolls in Ireland; in theory a senior judicial office,

FitzGerald was a supporter of Catholic Emancipation and helped to found the Catholic seminary at Maynooth in 1795. Withdrawing from parliament with Grattan in 1797, he moved to England to be with his sick wife and remained there during the 1798 rebellion.

We are indebted to Dr. Paul Caffrey for the identification of the sitter
7.4 cm (2 1/1")
More Information
Literature                 The Comerford Collection: Portrait Miniatures (Dublin, privately published, 2009), pp 6, 31 (#27) and 67 (sitter # 8)
Paul Caffrey, John Comerford and the portrait miniature in Ireland c. 1620-1850 (Kilkenny: Kilkenny Archaeological Society, 1999) N
Exhibition                 Comerford Collection at the Irish Architectural Archives in Dublin, in 2009.
Condition                 minor dust under the glass.
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