Kenyon Conspiracy Theories: “Lady Agnew of Lochnaw”

what about lady agnew of lochnaw

This picture is like the Inception of two things I might not technically have the copyright for.

Previously, on Kenyon Conspiracies:

In his book, “Go Quietly…Or Else”, Agnew insisted that he had been threatened by the White House to step down, in order to save face for President Nixon…

Maybe the student didn’t even care about Agnew’s testimonial plea hoping that someone…anyone, might believe that he is innocent. Maybe the student was just looking for attention when they wrote, “Agnew was framed.” Maybe they had comps due and they were severely procrastinating. Maybe this, maybe that…

From The Kenyon Thrill and Wiggin Street Coffee in Gambier, Ohio, it’s Kenyon Conspiracy Theories: one story told every once in a while. I’m Mary Alice Jackson.

It’s been a while since we’ve visited the mysterious “Agnew,” whosoever they may be, so I think it’s important that I help you guys get reacquainted a little. If you have been following our series so far, you know that I’ve done a lot of talking about “Spiro Agnew” and his book “Go Quietly…Or Else.” I’m going to tell you now that if you’re hoping for more info on THAT side of the story, you’ll to have to wait until later in the series. For now, I want to focus on something  a little different.

I was supposed to be writing my comps about Argentina and Rock and Roll

(Screenshot from

Over the course of my work on this case, I’ve gotten a lot of interesting feed back from readers who have started following Agnew’s progress. Mostly I just get questions like, “Shouldn’t you be working on comps?” or, “My mom thought this was hilarious.” But a little while ago, when I was working on the first episode of “Kenyon Conspiracies,” I received an interesting response in the comments section of the article. While this person requested to remain anonymous, they asked a pretty interesting question:

what about lady agnew of lochnaw.

If you think about it, this question is crucial: What ABOUT Lady Agnew of Lochnaw? I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it before. Anonymous made me realize I had been too narrow minded in my investigation so far. And so, as always, I took to the Internet:

gmail search agnew

In case you were distracted by how images for this series now show up in search results for “Agnew was framed” on Google, I want to repeat an important part of that last screenshot for you:

lady ag

That, right there, is Lady Agnew of Lochnaw: an oil-on-canvas portrait of Lady Gertrude Agnew, wife of Sir Andrew Agnew, 9th Baronet of Lochnaw. The painting was commissioned in 1892 and completed by American portrait artist John Singer Sargent. Agnew was painted while sitting in an 18th century French bergère, and according to reports from Wikipedia, the painting brought Lady Agnew more than a little bit of prestige. So much prestige, in fact, that it only makes sense: Lady Agnew of Lochnaw was framed.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, let me break it down a little bit more;

So that’s it, right? I found a Google image of Lady Agnew in all her glory, framed and hanging on a wall. But if you think that I am going to leave it at that, then you do not know me very well. Maybe the carrel wall scrawler was making a pun about Vice President Agnew being “framed” while Lady Agnew was “framed” in a different way. But this would have had to have been wildly clever.

Think about it this way: Would your average student even have heard of Lady Agnew of Lochnaw? At this point, it really seemed unlikely to me. While scouring through the Wikipedia page for Lady Agnew, I even found a rumor that the Agnew family tried to sell the painting to the Frick collection in 1922 when they fell on hard times, but the offer was rejected by Helen Clay Frick. It all seemed kind of fishy to me. Why so much hype for a painting that didn’t even make it into the Frick collection?

Before Art History majors start running after me with pitchforks and writing mean things in the comments, I want to let you know that the story does not end here. There are other leads in this case that have not been wrapped up yet: remember, we still haven’t heard about Old Blue Eyes. We don’t even know if Kenyon teaches classes about this stuff.  I need to get the chance to pick the brain of an expert. Why would Lady Agnew of Lochnaw set a Kenyon student to writing? I have an educated guess. Next week, on Kenyon Conspiracies.

One response

  1. Pingback: Kenyon Conspiracy Theories: The Writing on the Wall | The Thrill

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