In June 1913, on a holiday trip to Paris, George Wyndham died suddenly of a heart attack—he was not quite fifty years old. Shocked by this unexpected loss, colleagues in the Conservative Party and the House of Commons, whose inner circles he had occupied for a quarter of a century, organized the usual tributes. Obituaries laid out Wyndham's pedigree as scion of one of England's more romantic landed families, charted his meteoric rise in the 1890s under Arthur Balfour's patronage, referred briefly and discreetly to his troubled tenure as Irish secretary from 1900–1905, and applauded his versatility as a sportsman and a man of letters. Despite his truncated career, interest in Wyndham did not wane after these first homages. Working through the interruption of war, his family saw that collections of letters and essays, with the 1925 set prefaced by J. W. Mackail's “life,” reached the public. These materials prompted pen portraits and biographies that appeared at regular intervals into the 1970s.
A largely sympathetic group of authors, those who wrote about Wyndham faced the interesting challenge of presenting as inspiring and exemplary a life whose disappointments had threatened to outweigh its achievements. The solution they found was one that Wyndham would have accepted, for, indeed, he helped to shape it. In their hands, George Wyndham became a modern Siegfried, the charming, versatile, and disinterested son of an extraordinary ruling class—now, alas, eclipsed—who had guided Britain through two centuries of unprecedented grandeur and prosperity.