The Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners
In office
MonarchGeorge III
Prime MinisterThe Duke of Portland
Hon. Spencer Perceval
Preceded byThe Lord St John of Bletso
Succeeded byThe Earl of Courtown
Personal details
Born13 September 1764 (1764-09-13)
Died26 September 1839 (1839-09-27) (aged 75)
Spouse(s)Lady Sophia Hobart
(d. 1806)
Parent(s)George Edgcumbe, 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
Emma Gilbert
Arms of Edgcumbe, Earls of Mount Edgcumbe: Gules, on a bend ermines cotised or three boar's heads couped argent
Arms of Edgcumbe, Earls of Mount Edgcumbe: Gules, on a bend ermines cotised or three boar's heads couped argent

Richard Edgcumbe, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe PC (13 September 1764 – 26 September 1839), styled Viscount Valletort between 1789 and 1795, was a British politician and writer on music.


Venus with a Satyr and Cupids by Annibale CarracciRaphael, Madonna della Sedia (Madonna of the Chair), c.1514Guido Reni, Charity, 1607Raphael, St John the BaptistReni, MadonnaMadonna della seggiolaCorreggio, Madonna and ChildJustus Sustermans, GalileoRaphael, Madonna of the GoldfinchFranciabigio - Madonna of the WellGuido Reni, Cleopatra, 1635–40Holy Family, then attributed to PeruginoRubens, Justus Lipsius with his Pupils, c.1615Portrait of Leo X with two Cardinals by RaphaelTribute Money? by Carravagio?Rubens, Justus Lipsius with his Pupils, c.1615Raphael, Pope Leo X with Cardinals Giulio de’ Medici and Luigi de’ Rossi, 1518Niccolini-Cowper Madonna by RaphaelLarge central paintingHolbein, Sir Richard Southwell, 1536Cristofano Allori, Miracle of St JulianHoly Family, attributed to Niccolò Soggiummm Raphael, Niccolini-Cowper Madonna, 1508, then in Lord Cowper’s possession, having bought it from Zoffany, now National Gallery of Art, Washington, DCTitian, Venus of Urbino, 1538Cupid and Psyche, Roman copy of a Greek original of the 1st or 2nd century BCThe ‘Arrotino’ (Knife-Grinder), a Pergamene original of 2nd or 3rd century BCDancing Faun, marble replica of a bronze of the circle of Praxiteles, 4th century BCThe Infant Hercules Strangling the SerpentsThe Wrestlers, marble copy of a bronze Permamene original, 2nd or 3rd century BCSouth Indian craterEtruscan helmetChimera - Etruscan art8 Oil lampsEgyptian ptahmose, 18th dynastyGreek bronze torsoBust of Julius CaeserRoman silver shieldHead of AntinousSouth Italian craterEtruscan jugOctagonal table with pietra dura top made for the Tribuna, designed by Jacopo Ligozzi and Bernardino Poccetti.Charles Loraine Smith (1751–1835)Richard Edgcumbe, later 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (1764–1839)George, 3rd Earl Cowper (1738–89)Sir John Dick (1720–1804), British Consul at LeghornOther Windsor, 6th Earl of Plymouth (1751–99)Johann ZoffanyMr Stevenson, companion to the Lord LewishamGeorge Legge, Lord Lewisham, later 3rd Earl of Dartmouth (1755–1810)unknown young manValentine Knightley of Fawsley (1744–96)Pietro Bastianelli, the custodian of the galleryMr GordonHon. Felton Hervey (1712–73)Thomas Patch (1725-82), PainterSir John Taylor Bt., (d. 1786)Sir Horace Mann (1706–86), British Consul in FlorenceGeorge Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilseaprob. Roger Wilbraham (1743-1829)Mr WattsMr Doughty, travelling with Charles Loraine SmithProbably Thomas Wilbraham (b. 1751), brother of RogerThe Medici Venus, Roman copy of a Greek original of the 2nd century BCJames Bruce (1730–94), African explorerUse a cursor to explore or press button for larger image & copyright
Tribuna of the Uffizi by Johann Zoffany. Place cursor over artworks or persons to identify them.

Edgcumbe was the son of George Edgcumbe, 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, and Emma, daughter of John Gilbert (archbishop of York). In the 1770s he was in Florence where Johann Zoffany included him in a painting, Tribuna of the Uffizi commissioned by the Queen. Edgcumbe is one of the younger figures looking over the shoulder of Charles Loraine Smith and by a group who are admiring a painting on the left of the picture.[1]

He gained the courtesy title, Viscount Valletort, when his father was made Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in 1789.[2]

Political career

Edgcumbe was returned to parliament for Fowey in 1786. In the June 1790 election there was a double return for the constituency, but Edgcumbe and another candidate was declared elected in March 1791.[3] In June 1790 he was also returned for Lostwithiel, but chose to represent Fowey.[4] In 1795 he succeeded his father in the earldom and entered the House of Lords. He served under the Duke of Portland and Spencer Perceval as Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners between 1808 and 1812. In 1808 he was sworn of the Privy Council.[5] In the same year he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society[6]

Edgcumbe was also Lord Lieutenant and Vice-Admiral of Cornwall between 1795 (succeeding his father) and 1839.

Writer on music

Richard Edgcumbe playing cello (left). Satirical drawing by Edward Francis Burney, 1802
Richard Edgcumbe playing cello (left). Satirical drawing by Edward Francis Burney, 1802

Edgcumbe was the author of Musical Reminiscences of the Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, containing a list of the operas he heard from 1773 to 1823.[7] This book has been often cited by musicologists concerned with operatic history from Mozart to Rossini. He also composed an Italian opera seria, Zenobia., which was staged but once at the King's Theatre in 1800,[8] starring Brigida Banti.


Lord Mount Edgcumbe married Lady Sophia Hobart, daughter of John Hobart, 2nd Earl of Buckinghamshire, on 21 February 1789. They had five children:

The Countess of Mount Edgcumbe died in August 1806. Lord Mount Edgcumbe remained a widower until his death in September 1839, aged 75.[2] He is buried at St Peter's Church, Petersham, Richmond-upon-Thames.[9]


  1. ^ A key to the people shown,, retrieved 17 October 2014
  2. ^ a b Richard Edgcumbe, 2nd Earl of Mount Edgcumbe
  3. ^ House of Commons: Fairfield to Fylde South
  4. ^ House of Commons: London University to Lymington
  5. ^ "No. 16126". The London Gazette. 8 March 1808. p. 353.
  6. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
  7. ^ Wayne Koestenbaum, The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire, Gay Men's Press, 1994, page 17
  8. ^ Curtis Price, Mount Edgcumbe, Richard, in Stanley Sadie (ed), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, New York, Grove (Oxford University Press), 1997, III, pp. 487-488, ISBN 978-0-19-522186-2.
  9. ^ "Tomb of the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe in the Churchyard of St Peter's Church A Grade II Listed Building in Richmond upon Thames, London". British Listed Buildings.
Parliament of Great Britain Preceded byPhilip RashleighJohn Grant Member of Parliament for Fowey 1786–1795 With: Philip Rashleigh Succeeded byPhilip RashleighSylvester Douglas Political offices Preceded byThe Lord St John of Bletso Captain of the Honourable Band of Gentlemen Pensioners 1808–1812 Succeeded byThe Earl of Courtown Honorary titles Preceded byThe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall 1795–1839 Succeeded bySir William Salusbury-Trelawny, Bt Vice-Admiral of Cornwall 1795–1839 VacantTitle next held byThe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe Peerage of Great Britain Preceded byGeorge Edgcumbe Earl of Mount Edgcumbe 1795–1839 Succeeded byErnest Edgcumbe