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John McLure Hamilton

(1853-1936), Painter and illustrator; official painter to William Gladstone

Sitter in 1 portrait
Artist of 8 portraits
Born in Philadelphia John McLure Hamilton was known for portraits, figure paintings, and illustrations. Hamilton studied at the Pennsylvania Academy and then went to Europe where he studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts and at the Royal Academy in Belgium. He lived in Europe, mostly in London, for almost sixty years, and was official painter to William Gladstone, prime minister.

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John McLure Hamilton, by Archibald Standish Hartrick - NPG D35268

John McLure Hamilton

by Archibald Standish Hartrick
lithograph, early 20th century
NPG D35268


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Karen A. Flick

10 December 2016, 19:42

While researching John Mclure Hamilton's mother, Caroline Delaplaine Hamilton, I ran across his obituary from "The Philadelphia Inquirer," dated Saturday, September 12, 1936, Main Edition, page 4. John Hamilton's father was Dr. George Hamilton (1808 Philadelphia, Pa. -1885 Philadelphia, Pa. Burial in All Saints' Churchyard Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pa.) and his mother, as stated above, was Caroline Delaplaine (1826 Delaware-1915 England Burial in All Saints' Churchyard, Philadelphia, Pa.), daughter of James Delaplaine and Mary Hendrickson. John Mclure Hamilton had 2 siblings; Jennie Mercer Hamilton (1859-1885 Died in a house fire in Philadelphia along with her nephew Charles Ray King, age 7, and her brother in law John Alsop King, age 37, and two servants Catherine Berry, age 18, and Lucille Grieb, age 20), and Lillie Hamilton (1855-1933 Married John Alsop King. She, along with another child, Nora King, survived the above mentioned house fire). John Mclure Hamilton married Clara Raiguel (1855 England - 1936 Mandeville, Manchester Parish, Jamaica) on October 7, 1880, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. John and Clara Hamilton had at least one child; George Hamilton (1884 Philadelphia, Pa. - 1935 Mandeville, Manchester Parish, Jamaica). George Hamilton was an astronomer.

Obituary of John Mclure Hamilton is as follows:


Philadelphia-Born Artist Succumbs in Jamaica After Long Career

John Mclure Hamilton is dead, at 83.

From Jamaica came yesterday the tidings of the death of one of the most gifted artists Philadelphia has given to the world--a painter whose portraits of Gladstone and of Cardinal Manning, of George Meredith and Colonel Edward M. House, of General Booth and of his brother artist and intimate friend, Joseph Penell, and of many another famous man, were as vivid in interpretation of personality as they were masterly in use of brush and pigment.

Death came to him Wednesday night at Mandeville, Jamaica. Some years ago he and his wife had left England - their home for half a century---to be with their son, George, an astronomer, at the conservatory in the mountains of Jamaica. The son died. The artist lingered on in Jamaica, almost blind, almost deaf, and in necessitous circumstances, for all the fame that he had won and friendship of the great.

Studied at Academy

It was early in his career that Hamilton left his native Philadelphia. He was born there January 31, 1853, son of Dr. George and Caroline Delaplaine Hamilton. He was graduated from Central High School. After being trained as a painter at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts he went abroad for further study at the Royal Academy in London, in Antwerp, in the Ecole des Breaux Arta in Paris and at the Jerome Atelier there.

He made his home in England from 1878 on. Portraits that he painted won the distinction of being bought by the French Republic to hang in the Luxembourg Gallery and by the British Nation to be hung in the National Portrait Gallery. In the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts are his celebrated "Gladstone at Hawarden" and a number of other works."

Other sources:

1870 federal census, Philadelphia, Pa., family # 588/561
1880 federal census, Philadelphia, Pa, family #1/100, 37/40
Passport Application 1915 and 1919
"The Philadelphia Inquirer," dated Saturday, October 31, 1885, page 4
Obituaries of John Alsop King, Charles Ray King and Jennie Mercer Hamilton from "The Philadelphia Inquirer," dated Friday, February 27, 1885, page 5
"The Times" of Philadelphia, Pa., February 7, 1897, page 10, regarding estate of Margaret Hamilton (1820-1895, aunt of John Mclure Hamilton)
Jamaica Civil Registrations, Mandeville, Manchester Parish, Jamaica, dated 1935-1936
"North American Families Histories, 1500-2000 - The Delaplaines of America, Nicholas de la Plaine, immigrant from France to New Amsterdam in 1657"

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