As Long As You're Looking Good
Believed to be the inventor of the equestrian game Polo, William Wellesley Pole was a fashionable man of Regency high-class society. He married Catherine Tylney Long, the wealthiest Heiress in England in 1812 and become William Pole Tylney Long Wellesley - a union which could have led to the destruction Athelhampton. Despite his charm, fashionable taste and elegant waltzing ability, ‘Wicked’ William’s scandalous exploits included war mongering, lying to voters as an MP, adultery, siring illegitimate children, a chase across Europe avoiding debt collectors, kidnapping and the destruction of Catherine’s ancestral home, Wanstead House. Britain’s first house built in the Neo-Palladian design, with gardens to parallel Versailles, was ‘obliterated from the face of the Earth’ by William, along with its historic trees which were sold off as timber. In this painting, rings of a dismembered tree branch overlay patterns of a Dandy inspired design. It seems that Athelhampton had one lucky escape from this villainous owner!