Skip to main content

Portrait of Augustus Clifford

Sir Augustus Clifford (1788–1877) was a Naval Captain appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod from 1832 to 1877. Clifford's long tenure was a time of transition for Black Rod's Office, with a forced reduction in staff and the abolition of the additional fees system that supplemented their salary.

In this portrait Clifford is holding the Black Rod and wearing the Chain of Office. The gold chain of office has been worn for both Garter and Parliamentary ceremonies since 1566 and consists of a gold knot surrounded by the garter and surmounted by a Crown.

The present Rod dates from 1883 and is emblazoned with the heraldic motto ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense', translated as ‘Shame be to him, who evil thinks'. It is three and a half feet long, decorated with a gold lion and garter and has a gold orb as a chivalric centrepiece.