Details about
William Carr

Return to Portraits index

Agostino Aglio

The artist: Aglio, Augustine 1777-1857, painter, decorator, and lithographer, was born at Cremona and educated at Milan. About 1801 William Wilkins, the architect, afterwards R.A., made his acquaintance abroad, and travelled with him in Italy and Greece. Aglio executed in aquatint the illustrations to Wilkins's ‘Magna Græcia.’ He returned to Rome in 1802, and afterwards came to England, where he settled and spent the remainder of his life. He decorated the Opera House in 1804, Drury Lane Theatre in 1806, and the Pantheon in 1811. In 1819 he painted the ceiling and altar-piece of the Roman catholic chapel in Moorfields, and he decorated the summer-house in the gardens of Buckingham Palace and the Olympic Theatre. From 1807 to 1846 he was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy, and sent many works to the exhibitions of the Society of British Artists. His contributions to the Academy were principally landscapes, but to the society he sent many scriptural pieces. A portrait of George IV as a knight of the Garter was lithographed by Aglio in 1823. In 1840 he exhibited at the Royal Academy a picture of ‘The Enthronisation of Queen Victoria,’ which, with two portraits of the queen and others of his works, have been engraved. In 1844 and 1847 he competed unsuccessfully for the decoration of the Houses of Parliament, sending on the first occasion a large landscape with figures in fresco, and on the second a large oil picture of Rebecca. He was an artist of much industry and versatility, but of no great talent. His most extensive performance was a work called ‘Antiquities of Mexico,’ illustrated with a thousand lithographic plates from ancient Mexican paintings and hieroglyphics in the royal libraries of Europe. This work was executed at the expense of Lord Kingsborough. Nine volumes out of ten projected were finished and issued in folio (1830-48). A set at the British Museum contains sixty pages of the tenth volume. Aglio also published ‘Twelve Pictures of Killarney,’ ‘A Collection of Capitals and Friezes, drawn from the Antique’ (1820), ‘Sketches of the Decorations in Woolley Hall, Yorkshire’ (1821), and ‘Studies of various Trees and Forest Scenery’ (two numbers only, 1831). Aglio died 30 Jan. 1859, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. The sitter: Beresford, John 1738-1805, Irish statesman, was the second son of Marcus, Earl of Tyrone, and Lady Catherine, Baroness de La Poer, the heiress of a long line of barons, and was born in Dublin 14 March 1738. He was educated at Kilkenny school, and at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating B.A. in 1757. He was called to the bar in Hilary term 1760, but never practised. In November of the same year he married Constantia Ligondes of Auvergne, whom her aunt, the Countess Moira, to the great displeasure of the Roman catholic clergy, had persuaded to accompany her to Ireland rather than enter a convent as she had intended. At the new election on the death of George II in 1760, Beresford was, through his family influence, returned for Waterford, which he continued to represent till his death. From the beginning he attended with great diligence to his parliamentary duties, devoting much pains to finance and the mastery of practical business. In 1768 he was appointed a privy councillor, and in 1770 one of the commissioners of revenue. In the following year he offered for the speakership, one of the great objects of his ambition; but as Lord Townshend, the lord-lieutenant, objected to conjoining the two offices, he reluctantly withdrew his claims. His first wife having died in November 1772, he married, in June 1774, Barbara Montgomery, a celebrated beauty, who, with her sister, Lady Mountjoy, and the Marchioness Townshend, was depicted by Sir Joshua Reynolds as one of the ‘Graces’ in the painting now in the Royal Academy. The marriage greatly strengthened the political position of Beresford, and, assisted by his plodding perseverance and undoubted merit as an administrator, he gradually succeeded in wielding an almost unlimited, though an unobtrusive and hidden, authority in Irish affairs. Promoted first commissioner of revenue in 1780, he not only introduced important reforms in the methods of revenue collection, but improved in many important respects the architecture and street communication of Dublin. Under his auspices the splendid new custom-house was begun in 1781, and completed in ten years at a cost of about 400,000l., the quays were widened and extended, and the opening up of Sackville Street and other lines of communication was accomplished. After Pitt became prime minister of England, Beresford, under the administration of various lord lieutenants, was practically entrusted with the management of Irish affairs, and his advice guided Pitt in his whole political policy towards that country. He arranged with Pitt in 1784 the clauses of Mr. Orde's bill for the removing of the trade restrictions of Ireland, which was bitterly and successfully opposed by Grattan on account of a clause binding the parliament to re-enact England's navigation laws. He was also at one with Pitt in the matter of the regency. Evidence of his increasing influence is to be found in his appointment, in 1786, to be a privy councillor of England. Although his authority was threatened with sudden extinction in 1795, when Lord Fitzwilliam was sent over as lord lieutenant to inaugurate a policy of concession, it proved strong enough, not only to defeat the benevolent intentions of the English government, but to institute a political departure of a totally different kind. Lord Fitzwilliam found on his arrival that Beresford ‘was filling a situation greater than that of the lord lieutenant himself,’ that he was ‘virtually king of Ireland,’ and that the weight of his ‘unpopularity’ with the party of Grattan would completely nullify all attempts to reconcile them. He therefore at once dismissed him from office, and though he continued to him his full salary of 2,000l., this, it was added in carefully guarded language, was merely ‘for long and laborious attendance.’ Such a severe measure at once brought matters to a crisis between Lord Fitzwilliam and the cabinet, and in a few weeks he was recalled. In his letters to Lord Carlisle he had made use of expressions imputing ‘malversations’ to Beresford, and as he declined an explanation or apology, a hostile meeting was arranged to take place at Kensington, which was prevented by the interference of the police. After the recall of Fitzwilliam, Beresford returned to his old duties. The failure to put into operation a policy of conciliation led almost inevitably to the idea of a union with Great Britain as an ultimate means of overcoming Irish discontent, and while doubtless Beresford was in a great degree responsible for its adoption he also contributed his assistance in adjusting the arrangements by which it was brought about. After its accomplishment he retained office till 1802, to superintend the fiscal arrangements consequent thereupon between the two kingdoms. In the imperial parliament he continued to represent Waterford. His remaining years were spent between the fulfilment of his parliamentary duties in London and the recreations of agriculture and gardening at his seat at Walworth, Londonderry, where he died, after a short illness, 5 Nov. 1805. By his first wife he had four sons and five daughters, and by his second five daughters and three sons. William Carr Beresford, created Baron Beresford of Albuera and Dungarvan, co. Waterford in 1814 and Viscount Beresford of Beresford co. Staffs in 1823. He was born in 1768 the illegtimate son of 1st Marquess of Waterford. He served with great distinction under Wellington in the Peninsular Wars, was MP for co. Waterford and Governor of Cork. He died without legitimate issue at Bedgebury Park, Kent on 8th January 1854.

Taken from with thanks