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The subject of this caricature is Sir William Harcourt (1827-1904), politician. He is depicted reclining in a chair in front of a map of southern Africa. The caption below reads ‘The Great INquisitor. Then Sir William with a preliminary couch which seemed to say ‘now I have got you in a a tight corner’ insinuated ‘But you went to a cabinet meeting’. The year this was painted, an enquiry was held into the botched Jameson raid of 1895, instigated by Cecil Rhodes. It was a major contributory factor in the Boer War (1899-1902). The committee blamed Cecil Rhodes, the Report being signed by Harcourt in July 1897.The artist, Sir Charles Garden Assheton-Smith (1951-1914) was born Charles Garden Duff, son of Robert Gordon Duff, a Justice of the Peace. On the death of Charles’ brother George William Duff Assheton-Smith, he inherited the Vaynol Estates and assumed his new name by Royal licence. Sir Charles was a landowner and keen follower of the National Hunt. He won the Grand National in 1893 with ‘Cloister’ and again in 1912 and 1913. He is also known as an amateur caricaturist and he had some of his work published by Vanity Fair under the name ‘Cloister’. The initials CGD appear behind the chair in this watercolour. ‘Death of Sir Charles Assheton-Smith, obituary in the ‘North Wales Chronicle’, 25 September 1914; ODNB.
ASSHETON-SMITH, Sir Charles Garden
(Sir William Harcourt)
Watercolour, c.330 x 200 mm.
Stock number: 10642
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