Who were the Irish Hellfire Club Members?
The Irish Hellfire Club members were some of the elite of society, and included peers of the realm, high ranking army officers as well as wealthy gentlemen and artists. It is possible to see some of the members of the Irish Hellfire Club in the National Gallery of Ireland, where you can find a portrait by James Worsdale.
The portrait depicts (from left to right) Henry Barry 4th Baron of Santry, Colonel Henry Clements, Colonel Henry Ponsonby, Colonel Richard St George, and Simon Luttrell 1st Earl Carhampton. All five are splendidly attired, a wicker covered bottle stands on the table sitting within a silver punchbowl, a second bottle lies discarded in the lower right corner and a small dog raises an imploring paw to Henry Barry who has an affectionate hand petting its scruff. Barry appears to be introducing the viewer to the group, perhaps suggesting that it was he that commissioned the portrait.
Somewhat strangely, the portrait doesn’t depict two key members of the organisation, the painter himself James Worsdale (who did depict himself in a later portrait of the activities of the Limerick Hellfire Club), or Richard Parsons, the First Earl of Rosse who is believed to have been one of the leading members of the Irish Hellfire Club.
(A list of sources for this article are detailed at the bottom, the references appear numbered as (1), (2) etc).
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Image Courtesy of the National Gallery of Ireland, Licensed for use by Abarta Heritage