Born into a long established Irish family, Chichester Fortescue was elected Liberal MP for Louth in 1847 and held the seat until 1874 when he moved to the House of Lords. First appointed to government under Lord Palmerston, he joined Earl Russell’s second administration as Chief Secretary for Ireland, a post he returned to under Gladstone and later filled a number of posts including President of the Board of Trade and Lord Privy Seal. Although never at the front rank of government, his knowledge of Irish affairs was of use to successive Liberal governments. Fortescue broke with Gladstone in 1886 over Ireland and retired from active politics. A lifelong friend of Edward Lear, it is said that Fortescue was the model for Phineas Finn MP in Antony Trollope’s Palliser novels. He died in France in January 1898 aged 75.