Learning His Trade

Horace Hone


This remarkable portrait was painted when the artist, Horace Hone, was just sixteen years old. It depicts a gentleman in a powdered wig tied on the nape with black ribbon wearing a richly-coloured coat trimmed with brown fur over a lacey cravat decorated with a jewelled pin. The gentleman’s facial features are painted with precision and delicacy; the paint on the coat is more thickly applied to resemble an oil painting.

The portrait is signed with the artist’s monogram and dated 1770. It was in October 1770 that Horace Hone entered the Royal Academy Schools so this portrait was most likely painted before he had had any formal training though he would no doubt have already been taught the rudiments of miniature painting by his artist father, Nathaniel Hone.

In fine condition, the portrait is set in a beautiful gold bracelet-style frame with a seed pearl surround and decorative chasing to the reverse.

Horace Hone first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1772. He later ran a successful studio in Dublin for more than two decades before political events obliged him to return to England in 1804. By then he was suffering from poor mental health and his business declined leading to hardship during his final years.

Ivory Registration: 3TWHJYQ5

Item Ref. 9118

Size: 43 x 35mm + pearl surround