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William Hone

(1780-1842), Bookseller, pamphleteer and writer

Regency Portraits Catalogue Entry

Sitter in 3 portraits
Hone is remembered for his struggle for press freedom. He produced two weekly newspapers, the Traveller (1814-15) and the Reformist's Register (1816-17), in which he exposed injustice and supported reform. In 1817, he published several political satires on the Tories in the form of parodies of the Anglican Church's prayer book. These pamphlets, including the Political Litany and the Sinecurist's Creed, led to his prosecution on charges of blasphemy and sedition. In prison while awaiting trial, Hone continued publishing articles from his cell. He won his acquittal, which is regarded as a landmark in the history of the press, by his defence of journalists' right to free expression.

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William Hone, by Henry Richard Cook, published by  Effingham Wilson, after  William Patten - NPG D19944

William Hone

by Henry Richard Cook, published by Effingham Wilson, after William Patten
stipple engraving, 1818
NPG D19944

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Tracey Hawkins

25 February 2017, 10:11


I am William Hone's 5X granddaughter through his first daughter Sarah Burn. As December 2017 marks the 200 year anniversary of his three day trial for printing 'blasphemous' material (which he won!!), I am wondering if you could take him out of storage?

I live in Australia so I am unable to see his portrait in person, however I do feel that in this current political climate William's fight for a free press is now relevant more than ever.

Kind Regards

Tracey Hawkins

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