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JOHN POYNTZ, 5TH EARL SPENCER AND IRELAND
The 'Red Earl' served as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland twice during William Gladstone's four administrations - 1868-1874 and 1882-1885. His first tenure there was relatively relaxed in comparison with his second - with the Spencers hosting and participating in much entertainment (see lot 177) and sport (see lot 175). Lots 173 and 174 depict Phoenix Park in Dublin, the location of the Vice-regal lodge, home to Ireland's Lords Lieutenant. Both lots are dated August 1871, and though they do not depict this event, on 6th August 1871 in Phoenix Park police charged at a Fenian amnesty meeting and the ensuing furore in the Westminster parliament over police methods forced recognition of the right to hold public meetings without attack by the police. Phoenix Park would also be the location of the event on the first day of Lord Spencer's second tenure that would so profoundly distinguish it from his first - the Phoenix Park murders of 6 May 1882. In what was suspected at the time to be an assassination attempt on Lord Spencer himself, his chief secretary and distant cousin Lord Frederick Cavendish, and their assistant Mr. Burke, were murdered by a group of 'Invincibles' - a group of extreme republicans who had formed the previous year. His three years thereafter were marked by worries about security and the relatively paltry income and expenses which the position granted, but in spite of this they were considered by Westminster to be a success upon his resignation, with a dinner given in his honour and much admiration from political colleagues and opponents (see lot 178).