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Thomas Hope

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Regency Portraits Catalogue

Thomas Hope

by Sir William Beechey
1798
87 1/4 in. x 66 1/2 in. (2216 mm x 1689 mm)
NPG 4574

This portraitback to top

The portrait reflects Hope's passion for the East and especially Turkey and Constantinople where he spent a large part of his travels as a young man, discarding both his Christianity and his European dress. Two of the richly embroidered waistcoats he wears in Beechey's portrait were given to the NPG by Hope's great-granddaughter, Mrs H. W. Law, in 1968. The lure of Turkish dress can be seen in portraits of many fashionable women of the early 18th century, eg Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (see John Kerslake, National Portrait Gallery: Early Georgian Portraits, 1978, pp 190-1) and the mode continued with portraits of Hope's brother (in Greek dress 1805) and wife (1826) both by Lawrence; and no doubt Phillips's portrait of Byron owes a good deal to Beechey's Hope.
The portrait hung on the main staircase in Duchess Street with an enamel copy by Henry Bone nearby (C. M. Westmacott, British Galleries of Painting and Sculpture, 1824, part I, p 215); Bone's pencil drawing for this enamel is in the NPG (Henry Bone’s annotated pencil draws for miniatures and enamels, II, 92) inscribed: Thomas Hope Esq after Beechey for himself Decr 1804 (erased) 1805; two watercolour copies by G. P. Harding are in the British Museum (Laurence Binyon, Catalogue of Drawings by British Artists … in the British Museum, II, p 261). A variant by Adam Buck 1805 in the Society of Dilettanti collection has a different costume and a felucca on the Bosphorus in the background.

Physical descriptionback to top

Whole-length standing in Turkish dress, gold turban, two red and green cloaks, two waistcoats, green over red and both richly embroidered with gold wire thread, Murray brown trousers, bare legs, red slippers, a long pipe in left hand, his right on hilt of dagger tucked into richly embroidered cummerbund; dark hair and moustache, hazel eyes, ruddy complexion; minarets and cypresses in background.

Provenanceback to top

Painted presumably for Hope himself; in his Duchess Street mansion and Hope Heirloom sale Christie's 20 July 1917 (50) bought Duke of Newcastle (Clumber Catalogue, no.297); Duke of Newcastle sale Christie's 7 July 1967 (105) bought Leggatt for the NPG.

Exhibitionsback to top

RA 1799 (272); 'World Culture and Modern Art', Munich, 1972 (309).


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.

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