A recent addition to the art collection of the John Oxley Library is this fine portrait of Queensland’s 8th Governor, Charles Wallace Alexander Napier Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington (1860 – 1940). The portrait, purchased in June at an auction in the United Kingdom, is the work of Robert Duddingstone Herdman, a second-generation Scottish artist who specialised in depicting Victorian and Edwardian society. The picture is dated 1895, the year that Lord Lamington married Mary Houghton Hozier (daughter of the 1st Baron Newlands of Maudslie Castle in Lanarkshire, Scotland) and the year that Lamington was selected to succeed Sir Henry Norman as Governor of Queensland.
Herdman’s painting depicts an elegant and aristocratic man who placed great emphasis on public service and personal deportment. Educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, Lamington became assistant private secretary to England’s Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury in 1885. In July 1886 he was elected as a member of the Conservative Party to the House of Commons. Following the death of his father in 1890, he moved to the House of Lords.
Lord Lamington’s time in Queensland (1896-1901) was marked by political tensions but also great joy. Both of his children were born in the colony, with his son Victor Alexander Brisbane William Cochrane-Baillie (1896-1951) receiving a unique middle name in graceful acknowledgment.
Lamington went on to become Governor of Bombay (1903-07) and in 1919 served as Captain of the British Relief Unit in Syria, where he developed a keen interest in the Islamic world. After surviving a shooting at a public meeting of the India Association, he died at his family home, Lamington House in Lanarkshire in September 1940.
Herdman’s portrait of Lord Lamington hung in the library of Lamington House for many years, and can be seen above the bookcase on the left in the image below. The house no longer exists, having been demolished in the 1950s.
Dianne Byrne – Curator of Original Materials, State Library of Queensland