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A portrait miniature believed to be Honorable Louisa Hope (nee Beresford) (1791-1851)


Artist: Anne Mee

set in rectangular gilt-metal frame, the reverse with rectangular aperture to reveal plaited brown hair
An inscription on the reverse reads Portrait of my Mother when she was young/ Henry Philip Hope/ and some of her hair when she was old.

It is believed that the Henry Philip Hope, referred to on the reverse is the same Henry Philip Hope (1774-1839) who became a gem collector and jewellery specialist acquiring the Hope Diamond and Hope Pearl.

His mother was Philippina Barbara van der Hoeven (1738-1790) the daughter of a Rotterdam Mayor, who married Jan Hope in 1763. Jan Hope lived and worked in the Hope & Co Amsterdam banking office and amassed a large fortune.

It is known that Philippina had a love of the arts, which she passed onto her son Thomas, the brother of Henry Philip Hope. Thomas as young as 18 devoted his time to the study of all arts, during a series of tours to other countries.

We know that Anne Foldsone was working at Windsor as early as 1790 so is likely to have come across Thomas Hope who was busily making a large collection of artefacts.

The image in this miniature does not compare favourably with known portraits of Philippina, Henry and Thomas's mother and the costume and hair style suggests a date of circa 1805-1815 ( Henry Philip Hope's mother died in 1790 - when the fashion for hair was still powdered ). However,the sittter does bear a very strong resemblance to Thomas' wife Hon. Louisa Hope ( nee Beresford) particularly evident in the long thin nose and piercing blue eyes. There is another miniature portrait of Louisa Hope, circa 1813, by Mee which show strikingly similar features in the face, in the Royal Collection.

Louisa was a Society hostess; she was the daughter of William Beresford, first baron Decies. She married Thomas Hope (Henry Philip Hope's brother) in 1806, the year that this miniature was likely to have been taken. In 1832 she married her cousin, William Carr Beresford, viscount Beresford.

So whilst the inscription on the reverse states this miniature is the 'mother 'of Henry Philip Hope (taken when young) it should read that this is a portrait of Henry Philip Hope's 'sister-in-law' taken when young (in the year of her marriage when she was 15).
More Information
Year                 Circa 1806
Medium                 watercolour on ivory
Provenance                 Sir Henry Philip Hope - Gem Collector
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