Open main menu


HOPE, JOHN WILLIAMS (1757–1813), banker and merchant, born in 1757 at St. Ewe rectory, Cornwall, was eldest son of William Williams, rector of St. Ewe, and Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Gregor of Trewarthenick. He began life as a clerk in the banking-house of Hope & Co. in Amsterdam, and eventually became partner. He married Anne, daughter of John Goddard of Rotterdam and Woodford Hall, Essex, and a niece of Henry Hope, one of the chief partners in the bank, a nephew of Adrian Hope, and a near kinsman of Thomas Hope (1770?–1831) [q. v.]. Williams assumed the name of Hope at first in addition to his own, but subsequently dropped the name of Williams altogether. On the return of Henry Hope with other members of his family to England in 1794, Williams-Hope managed the business in Amsterdam, and was elected one of the eight statesmen of Holland. He continued to hold that office until the establishment of the monarchy under Louis Bonaparte in 1806, when he returned to England. Under the will of Henry Hope, who died in 1811, Hope's wife and children received large legacies, and he himself, as residuary legatee, became possessor of houses at Sheen and in Harley Street, Cavendish Square, London, with two fine collections of pictures (Gent. Mag. 1811, pt. i. p. 293). Sir Joshua Reynolds painted a portrait of Mrs. Hope, which was engraved in mezzotint by C. H. Hodges. Hope died in Harley Street 12 Feb. 1813, and was buried at St. Ewe. He left a large fortune to his two surviving children, William (see below) and Henrietta Dorothea Maria, who married, first, the seventh earl of Athlone, and, secondly, William Gambier, esq.

Hope, William Williams (1802–1855), man of fashion and virtuoso, only surviving son of the above, was born in 1802. He inherited a very large fortune, with estates in Cornwall, from his father, and reassumed the name of Williams before that of Hope. He purchased Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, and served as high sheriff of the county in 1832. He resided, however, for the latter part of his life in Paris, where he built a large mansion at 131 Rue Dominique, Faubourg St. Germain. Hope played a prominent part in Parisian society. He was noted for his princely establishment and entertainments, and for many personal eccentricities. He detested male society, and formed a coterie of eighteen ladies, distinguished for their musical or artistic capacities; vacancies in this circle were filled up by careful selection, and he left large legacies to the members of it at his death. He possessed a famous collection of diamonds, which he wore plentifully on his own person. His entertainments were the most crowded in Paris, but he never saw any friends before dinner-time. Hope was found dead in his bed on 21 Jan. 1855. His large collections of works of art, furniture, &c., in Paris and England were dispersed by auction. He sold Rushton Hall in 1854.

[Gent. Mag. new ser. 1855, xliv. 652, cf. also 1811, pt. i. pp. 292–3 (memoir of Henry Hope); Boase's Collect. Cornubiensia; Captain Gronow's Reminiscences.]

L. C.