Sir (George) Hugh Wyndham served continuously for over forty years in the British Diplomatic Service. After leaving Oxford in 1857 he went to China and assisted Sir Frederick Bruce in Peking. He later occupied posts in Petrograd, Constantinople, Belgrade, Rio de Janeiro and Bucharest. He is best remembered as Minister to Brazil during the early years of the republic and was awarded the K.C.M.G. (Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George) for his handling of the insurgent crisis during 1893-94. For services at Athens during the Russo-Turkish War he was awarded the C.B. (Companion of the Bath). The son of Colonel Charles Wyndham (d.1866), illegitimate son of the 3rd Earl of Egremont and Elizabeth Ann Hepburne-Scott, daughter of the 4th Baron Polwarth, Sir Hugh in turn was to marry his cousin, Charlotte Elizabeth Sophia Scott in 1863. He inherited Rogate in Sussex on the death of his father, it being the family home until the death of his wife in 1920 when it seems to have been let; interestingly by 1928 it is recorded that the famous writer P. G. Wodehouse was leasing it as a country getaway.
The artist Lauchert was born in Sigmaringen in southern Germany, later studying in Munich and continuing his work in Paris and Berlin, also visiting both England and Russia. He appears to have had a good practice painting members of the German aristocracy and royalty. Whilst little is known of his private life it has been suggested that these commissions flourished due to his wife’s influence, who was allegedly from a princely family. Either way he undoubtedly undertook work at the German court which led to further commissions from the English royal family.
This particular portrait is well inscribed and as such we know that it was executed in May 1868 in Berlin, just eight months before Lauchert’s death. It is a characterful study sensitively painted and a good example of his portrait technique.
Exhibited: Statements of Self-Importance – The Portrait in Europe 1660-1950, Langston Gallery, London, 2009