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Nathaniel Hone

Nathaniel Hone the Elder died on this day, 14 August 1784. He was born in Wood Quay, Dublin to a family of goldsmiths. Hone married in 1742 and settled in London where he built a very successful artistic practice.  Though his art is heavily influenced by classicism he never visited Italy.  His younger brother Samuel, who was also an artist, was an elected member of Accademia del Disegno in Florence in 1752, and Samuel succeeded in having Nathaniel elected in absentia on 14 January 1753.

Nathaniel’s artistic career led him to become one of the founder members of the London Royal Academy in 1768, and he exhibited a total of sixty-nine oil paintings and miniatures between 1769 and his death in 1784.  He did not always find agreement with his fellow artists in the Royal Academy however and in 1775 painted the above painting, the Conjurer, as an attack on the president of the Academy Joshua Reynolds, who Hone felt depended too much on the motifs and poses of the Old Masters.  The painting was exhibited as part of the Royal Academy exhibition but quickly removed owing to a female nude figure in the work reported to be a likeness of fellow RA artist Angelica Kauffman.  It was not reinstated and instead Hone exhibited it as the centrepiece of his one-man show in 70 St. Martin’s Lane, probably the first of its kind to be held in Britain or Ireland, featuring sixty-six works in total.

He died at his home, 44 Rathbone Place, London, on 14 August 1784 and was interred six days later in Hendon churchyard.  This painting now forms part of the National Gallery of Ireland collection.


Posted on 14-08-15

Citation;  McKenna, M. (2015) Nathaniel Hone the Elder Death 1784.  Available at (Accessed dd/mm/yyyy)