From The Archive – Sir Oswald Mosley 2nd Bart

The portrait of Sir Oswald Mosley, 2nd. Bart. is a mezzotint engraving, a copy of a painting by Sir John Watson Gordon, R.A, President of the Scottish Academy. When Sir Oswald sat for him, he was well known as a portrait artist and had already painted many wealthy and well-known people, including Sir Walter Scott.

A reporter for the Derby Mercury said that the likeness was good and “the paper and pencil in hand happily express that love of scientific memoranda-making which distinguishes Sir Oswald.” The article went on to remind readers that he was currently Lord Mayor of the Manor of Manchester and had been Chairman of the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions and M.P. for the Northern Division of Staffordshire.

A group of Sir Oswald’s friends and neighbours had subscribed a total of £600 for a present to mark his 77th. birthday in March 1862. The painting and frame cost 330 guineas and from the remainder each subscriber received an engraving.

The presentation took place after an elegant cold collation for 90 guests at Rolleston Hall. In his speech, Lord Hatherton, the Lord Lieutenant of the County, drew attention to Sir Oswald’s many virtues and described the invariable courtesy of his manners. He said in conclusion: “I have the honour to request you to accept this portrait, which we hope will long adorn the walls of your family mansion; and that the time may be very far distant when it may acquire still greater value by your removal from among us.” In fact he died on 25th. May 1871 at the age of 86.

After further toasts had been honoured, Rev. H. Day, the secretary of the committee, added a further feature of Sir Oswald’s character: his efforts to promote literature and science, pointing out that the recently-established Midland Scientific Association owed its existence entirely to his efforts. He concluded with a Latin quotation from Horace’s Odes which reads in translation: “A Consul (i.e. Magistrate) not for a single year but many times; as a faithful judge he preferred honour to expediency.”

(Article by Arnold Burston – Rollestonian Spring 2010 – concludes with: We were aware of the portrait from the newspaper article. We have been fortunate to obtain this mezzotint from the estate of a deceased village resident, probably descended from one of the subscribers).

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Last updated: 3 April 2010