Mitford sister’s Irish gift to auction

Painting of Pamela, given as a parting present to Tipperary rector, may be worth €30,000

Pamela Mitford, painted in Paris c1925, by Paul César Helleu (1859-1927). The portrait will go under the hammer in Dublin next month

Pamela Mitford, painted in Paris c1925, by Paul César Helleu (1859-1927). The portrait will go under the hammer in Dublin next month

 

In the 1950s Pamela Jackson, an Englishwoman who lived at Tullamaine Castle near Fethard, Co Tipperary decided to leave Ireland. She had separated from her husband, Derek Jackson – a scientist and accomplished amateur jockey. The couple had moved to Ireland after the second World War. Before leaving Ireland – for Switzerland, where she lived for the next decade – Mrs Jackson called to say goodbye to the local Church of Ireland rector Canon Hazelton and gave him a farewell gift of a portrait of herself as a young woman.

The painting has been in the family ever since. But now, more than 60 years later, it has been consigned to auction at Adam’s in Dublin and turns out to be a portrait of Pamela aged 18. She was, then, Pamela Mitford – one of the six famous sisters – who enthralled and sometimes scandalised British high society during the 20th century. Pamela was less well-known than Nancy (the novelist); Diana (who married, first Bryan Guinness and then Sir Oswald Mosley); Unity (who admired Hitler and shot herself in the head – but survived – when Britain declared war on Germany); Jessica (who became a communist in America); and Deborah (who married the Duke of Devonshire and became chatelaine of, among other houses, Lismore Castle in Co Waterford).

The portrait was made by the French artist Paul César Helleu (1859 – 1927) – a well-known French painter who specialised in portraits of society women – and dates from about 1925 during a visit by Pamela to Paris around the time of her 18th birthday.

It will go under the hammer in Adam’s art auction in Dublin on December 2nd with an estimate of €20,000-€30,000. Pamela wasn’t the only Mitford girl with an Irish association. Diana, Lady Mosley and her husband lived for a time in Clonfert Palace in Galway and then at Ileclash House in Fermoy, Co Cork. Deborah, as the Duchess, and later Dowager Duchess, of Devonshire, was chatelaine of Lismore Castle in Co Waterford.

The girls’ cousin, Clementine Mitford, became Lady Beit when she married Sir Alfred Beit and moved to Russborough House in Co Wicklow. After living in Switzerland for a decade, Pamela Jackson returned to England and lived in Gloucestershire. She died in 1994. Her former Tipperary home at Tullamaine was sold by her estranged husband in the late 1950s and is today a stud farm.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.