Brothers for Life

Horace Hone


The parents of these two rosy-cheeked children were so proud of them they commissioned the Irish artist Horace Hone to capture and celebrate their youth and playful expressions in this double portrait. Their youthful images have thus been preserved but, sadly, their names have been lost to history.

Painted around 1795, the elder boy has long hair and wears a brown coat over a shirt with a van dyck collar. The younger boy has auburn curls and wears a dress tied with a turquoise blue ribbon sash.

Facing each other, the portraits are set in the original hinged gold fausse-montre locket frame. (Please note that the locket no longer closes tightly.) The reverse is also glazed to show foiled blue glass with an aperture to one side filled with two shades of interwoven hair. Accompanying this special piece is a later specially commissioned velvet- and silk-lined tooled leather box for the display and protection of the miniature.

Horace Hone (1754-1825) was introduced to painting by his father, Nathaniel, before attending the Royal Academy Schools. In October 1799 he married Sophia Ursula Dapper and in 1782 they settled in Dublin where Hone managed a fashionable studio. His career was boosted in 1795 when he was appointed Miniature Painter to the Prince of Wales (later George IV). In later years he returned to live in London but by then was suffering from poor mental health. He died suddenly in 1825 despite having previously recovered from a recent serious illness.

Item Ref. 9117

Size: framed, 58mm high + hanger ; closed box, 110 x 160 x 40mm

Provenance: Christie's Nov. 1976 ; Bonhams, Nov. 1996