Coleraine Probus members were greatly entertained when Mr Ken McCormack recently gave his talk on “Curious Tales of the Earl Bishop.” Ken said it was appropriate that this morning in the Portstewart Golf Club, being in the “Shadow of Downhill” that we should examine the curiosities of that mercurial live wire.
'Downhill Palace' as it looked in early 1800s
Descended from a wealthy (and somewhat eccentric) family, Frederick Augustus Hervey, in 1768, was elevated to the Bishopric of Derry and later became the Earl Bishop. This was an enlightening lecture which delved into the more intimate exploits of the Earl Bishop and covered the building and furnishing of 'Downhill'; the Bishops' travels, especially the years in Italy; the people he met - friends, family, nobles and church dignitaries; the art treasures he purchased and the special friendships he had with the ladies in his life.
The Temple of Vesta, Bishop Hervey wanted to buy this to take to Downhill.
Being unable to, he had build the now iconic 'Mussenden Temple'
- and THAT is another story!
Ken's talk was more than an eye opener into the private life of the Earl Bishop, and certainly cast a different light on to this extraordinary and unique local figure.
The Earl Bishop
And the lady that painted his portrait, Vigée Le Brun…
BUT, is it really like the Bishop or the artist?
If, after hearing Ken's talk, members were interested to find out more about Bishop Hervey, then they couldn't do better than read Stephen Price's excellent book "The Earl Bishop" ('Click' here to find out more)