George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick

George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick, FRS, FSA (16 September 1746 – 1816), styled Lord Greville until 1773, was a British nobleman and politician.[1]

Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick, 1754. Oil on canvas, 90.2 x 73.7 cm. Private collection.

The eldest son of Francis Greville, 1st Earl Brooke (created Earl of Warwick in 1759), he was born on 16 September 1746 at Warwick Castle. He was baptised on 10 October 1746 at St. Mary's, Warwick, with King George II standing as his sponsor.[2]


Lord Greville was educated from 1753 to 1754 at Eton College, and later matriculated at Christ Church, University of Oxford, on 24 September 1764. He also matriculated at the University of Edinburgh.[3] The Royal Register records that,

a very great and singular attention was paid to the education of this nobleman by his late father, who, fearful of the corruption which disgrace our great seminaries of learning, consigned him to the care of the first historian of the age, to complete his moral as well as political character. From Scotland he returned so well informed, and such an amiable manliness about him, that the most flattering prognostications were made of his future eminence... His travels did not in any great degree either improve or corrupt him, and he has since remained a quiet inoffensive domestic character, little known but by persons of taste and virtue.[4]

Early careerEdit

He was invested as a Fellow of the Royal Society on 17 December 1767 and as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries on 14 February 1768. and he was Member of Parliament for Warwick between 1768 and 1773.[5] In 1770, Greville was appointed to the Board of Trade.

Marriages and childrenEdit

George, Lord Brooke (1772–1786) (George Romney)

On 1 April 1771, he married Hon. Georgiana Peachey, the daughter of James Peachey, 1st Baron Selsey, at St George's, Hanover Square. The couple had one son:[4]

  • George Greville, Lord Brooke (25 March 1772 – 2 May 1786)

Lady Greville died in childbirth at the age of 19.

On 14 July 1776, Greville married Henrietta Vernon, the daughter of Hon. Richard Vernon and Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower, at the house of her uncle Earl Gower in Whitehall. They had four children:

As a peerEdit

On 6 July 1773, Greville inherited his father's title of Earl of Warwick and left the House of Commons. He also left office on the Board of Trade in 1774, although he served as recorder of Warwick from 1773 to 1816.[5]

He became a colonel in the Warwickshire Fencibles in 1795, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire in that year, which office he held until his death on 2 May 1816 in London.[5] He was buried at Warwick on 12 May 1816.[2][4]

The Lives of Celebrated Persons records that "the latter part of the Earl's life was in penury, mortification and wretchedness." The Biographical Index to the House of Lords records that "this peer has evinced a predominant taste for chymistry, and if we mistake not greatly, a patent for soap for the navy that will not curdle in salt water was taken out in his name."[2]

Collector and PatronEdit

George Greville was arguably one of the greatest contributors to the Greville Collection at Warwick Castle. His greatest purchase was the infamous Warwick Vase, acquired from his Uncle Sir William Hamilton by 1778. Although he furnished the Castle with several works from Classical Antiquity, his principle interest was in portraits. He amassed in his own words a "matchless collection of pictures by Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Sir Anthony van Dyck", several of which are still in the collection at Warwick Castle. The first in-depth inventory of pictures dates from 1809, and records the wide range of pictures amassed by the Earl. However, it is still unclear which paintings were already in his father's collection, and exactly where he sourced the major works from.

He was patron to John Higton, it being thought that he was introduced to Higton by his brother Charles Francis Greville, the friend of Higton's patron Lord Sedley (Henry Venables-Vernon, 3rd Baron Vernon). However, it has only recently been understood that Greville's wife, Henrietta Vernon, was the half sister of John FitzPatrick, Lord Gowran (later 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory) via the first Marriage of her Mother (Lady Evelyn Leveson-Gower), and a cousin of Lord Sedley (later Venables-Vernon) via her father Richard Vernon. Therefore, Higton's portraits of Warwick Castle, combined with those of Dogs belonging to George Greville, Lord Sedley, and John Fitzpatrick, perhaps reflect a more intimate relationship with the family, and their circle, than was understood.

He was also the first aristocratic patron to George Romney, from whom he commissioned several portraits of his children and two wives. He was most likely to have been introduced to Romney through Richard Cumberland (dramatist), and both probably encouraged him to depart on his travels to Italy in 1772. Although Greville had commissioned Romney to purchase paintings on his behalf in Italy, lack of pictures of quality meant that he returned empty handed. His brother Charles Francis Greville also sat to Romney, and introduced the artist to the muse Emma Hamilton. The offer of a studio in one of the towers of Warwick Castle was later turned down by the artist, who wished to remain in London.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Earl of Warwick". Retrieved 14 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b c G. E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H. A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, page 336.
  3. ^ Peter W. Hammond, editor, The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda (Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998), page 115. Volume XIV.
  4. ^ a b c Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 337
  5. ^ a b c L. G. Pine, The New Extinct Peerage 1884-1971: Containing Extinct, Abeyant, Dormant and Suspended Peerages With Genealogies and Arms (London, U.K.: Heraldry Today, 1972), page 77.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Member of Parliament for Warwick
with Henry Archer 1768
Paul Methuen 1768–1773

Succeeded by
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire
Succeeded by
Peerage of Great Britain
Preceded by
Earl of Warwick
Succeeded by