Thomas Treslove

Button-Seller & Haberdasher


Painted by the Anglo-Irish artist Horace Hone in 1780, this well-turned out gentleman in a mid-blue coat and coiffured wig is traditionally held to be Thomas Treslove.

Thomas was born in Northampton in April 1714 and was the fourth child of Thomas Treslove, a tailor, by his first wife Elizabeth Hickman. His older brother joined their father in the tailoring business whilst Thomas, no doubt already well acquainted with the trade, set himself up as a haberdasher and button seller in St Martin’s Lane, Charing Cross in partnership with Henry Pulsford. He married Sarah Plomer in 1740. Twin girls, Sarah and Finetta, were born in 1743 and another girl, Maria, in 1744. The haberdashery business was clearly successful as in addition to a house in St Martin’s Lane, Thomas also purchased a country house at Peckham in Surrey. He died in 1790, aged 76, having outlived his wife and their three children. His substantial fortune was divided between his sister and thirteen nephews and nieces with bequests made to various household servants.

The portrait is signed bottom right – HH / 1780 – and is set in a gilt metal frame that is glazed on the reverse to show plaited brown hair. Under a glass there are visible spots of paint loss with slight blistering to the arm area of the coat; this is perfectly stable and otherwise the condition is very good.

Horace Hone was taught painting by his father, Nathaniel, before attending the Royal Academy Schools in 1770. In 1782 he settled in Dublin where he ran a fashionable studio; in 1795 he was appointed Miniature Painter to the Prince of Wales. In later years he returned to live in London but by then he was struggling with poor mental health.

Item Ref. 6565

Size: framed, 54 x 43mm