Although this miniature portrait on ivory is unsigned and not of high artistic quality, the identity of the sitter makes it an interesting portrait.
The sitter is thought to be Field Marshal Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, ADC, PC (24 Jun 1850-5 Jun 1916).
However there is some slight reservation over this, as the sitter is wearing a blue uniform jacket, whereas images of Kitchener normally show him in a red or khaki army uniform jacket.
Perhaps a kind visitor to this site will help me by identifying the uniform and the medals and thus confirming or otherwise the sitter as Kitchener.
Kitchener was born in Ballylongford, County Kerry in Ireland, son of Lt. Col. Henry Horatio Kitchener (1805 – 1894) and Frances Anne Chevallier-Cole (d. 1864; daughter of Rev John Chevallier and his third wife, Elizabeth, née Cole). The family were English, not Anglo-Irish as his father had only recently bought land in Ireland.
His military career commenced when he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers on 4 January 1871.
Kitchener attained the rank of Field Marshal and held several commands including;
- Mahdist War (1884-1899)
- Second Boer War (1900–1902)
- Commander-in-Chief, India (1902–1909)
By chance Kitchener was in Britain on leave at the outset of World War I.
Taking advanatge of this, the Prime Minister, Herbert H. Asquith, quickly had Kitchener appointed Secretary of State for War; as Asquith himself had been filling the role on a temporary basis.
Against cabinet opinion, Kitchener correctly predicted a long war that would last at least three years, require huge new armies to defeat Germany, and suffer huge casualties before the end would come.
It is doubtful that even he realised how devastating it would become, culminating in the rise of Communism, and later the Nazi Party.
Kitchener also stated that the conflict would plumb the depths of manpower "to the last million." Tragically, he was correct with his predictions and millions of soldiers lost their lives fighting a new kind of war for which they were poorly trained and ill equipped.
His view was the opposite of that held by a large number of people who embarked upon the war believing "the war would be over by Christmas."
In the early part of World War I, the three most important members of the British armed forces were Kitchener, Admiral Jellicoe, and Sir John French shown together here.
There is also a miniature portrait of Sir John French in this collection, see View.
A massive recruitment campaign was began in 1914, which soon featured a distinctive poster of Kitchener himself, taken from a magazine front cover.
There were several versions of the poster and it is one of the most famous posters of all time. The basic format has been used for many other posters and advertising campaigns since then.
At the end of 1915, the new Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir William Robertson, took office only on condition that he was granted the right to speak for the Army to the Cabinet in matters of strategy, leaving Kitchener solely with responsibility for manpower and recruitment.
In May 1916, preparations were made for Kitchener and Lloyd George to visit Russia on a diplomatic mission. Lloyd George was otherwise engaged with his new Ministry and so it was decided to send Kitchener alone.
At Scapa Flow, Lord Kitchener embarked aboard the armoured cruiser HMS Hampshire for his diplomatic mission to Russia. On 5 June 1916, while en route to the Russian port of Arkhangelsk, Hampshire struck a mine laid by the newly-launched German U-boat U-75 (commanded by Curt Beitzen) during a Force 9 gale and sank west of the Orkney Islands. Kitchener, his staff, and 643 of the crew of 655 were drowned or died of exposure. His body was never found.
For much more about him, see Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener - Wikipedia, the free ... 1314