Thomas Hardy

© 2022 E.O. Hoppé Estate Collection / Curatorial Inc.

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Thomas Hardy

by E.O. Hoppé
hand-pulled photogravure, 1914
11 1/8 in. x 8 in. (282 mm x 203 mm)
Purchased, 1986
Primary Collection
NPG P310

Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), Novelist and poet. Sitter in 60 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Emil Otto ('E.O.') Hoppé (1878-1972), Photographer and writer. Artist or producer associated with 196 portraits, Sitter in 2 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Crane, David; Judd, Alan, First World War Poets, 2014, p. 14
  • Judd, Alan; Crane, David, Character Sketches: First World War Poets, 1997, p. 12
  • Prodger, Philip (appreciation) Pepper, Terence (appreciation), Hoppé Portraits: Society, Studio and Street, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 17 February to 30 May 2011), p. 93
  • Rogers, Malcolm, Camera Portraits, 1989 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 1989 - 21 January 1990), p. 175 Read entry

    By the time he was photographed by Hoppé, Thomas Hardy was the doyen of English letters. His great novels - Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the d'Urbervilles (1891) - were long behind him, his epic drama The Dynasts (1904-8) was complete, and he was devoting his time to the writing of lyric poetry. Like his novels, his verses embody a tragic and ironic vision of life, and are written in language which is entirely idiosyncratic, at turns awkward, archaic and intensely poetic.

    The photographer Hoppé was born in Munich, and moved to London in 1900, co-founding in 1909-10 the London Salon of Photography. When he photographed Hardy (at the sitter's home, Max Gate, near Dorchester) he was already one of the best known photographers in London, living at Millais' old house at 7 Cromwell Place, London, and working for Vanity Fair, The Sketch, The Tatler, and other periodicals. His compositions show a distinctive simplicity and comparatively restrained use of soft-focus (which must have appealed to editors), and he concentrated on the revelation of character by the most direct means.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 281

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1914back to top

Current affairs

Following Germany's declaration of war on France and invasion of Belgium, Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Prime Minister, declares war on the German Empire on August 4, 1914. The popular belief that the conflict would be 'over by Christmas' was soon found to be a bitter underestimate of the scale of the war.

Art and science

The fist issue of the periodical Blast is published by Wyndham Lewis, announcing the advent of Vorticism. This movement, named by Ezra Pound and taking in art and poetry, combined the vitality and dynamism of Italian Futurism with the geometric structure of Cubism. Vorticism was a direct challenge to the perceived quaint and domestic style of the Bloomsbury group and Roger Fry's Omega Workshop.


On June 28th 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated in Sarajevo leading to Austria's declaration of war against Serbia and triggering the First World War. Germany declared war on Serbia's ally, Russia, and then marched on France via Belgium. Soon all of Europe and most of the world was embroiled in total war.

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