Hope, Thomas (1770?-1831) (DNB00)
HOPE, THOMAS (1770?–1831), author and virtuoso, born about 1770, was the eldest of the three sons of John Hope of Amsterdam by his wife P. B. Vander Hoeven. He belonged to the rich family of Amsterdam merchants founded by Henry Hope, brother of Sir Thomas Hope of Kerse (d. 1646) [q. v.], lord advocate. His father is said to have been an intimate friend of the Prince of Orange, whom he powerfully aided in the crisis of 1788. The elder Hope built a magnificent country house near Haarlem, at a cost of 50,000l., and placed in it a rare collection of pictures. There the Prince of Orange was a frequent guest. A good drawing of the mansion by Samuel Ireland appears in Ireland's ‘Picturesque Tour … made in 1789’ (London, 1796, i. 112). From a very early age Thomas Hope studied architecture, and after spending eight years in studying and sketching architectural remains in Egypt, Greece, Sicily, Turkey, Syria, Spain, and other countries, he settled in England about 1796, with other members of his family who had quitted Holland on its occupation by the French. In England Thomas devoted himself to literature, and employed part of his large fortune in collecting ancient sculptures and vases, Italian pictures, and other works of art. His marbles were acquired between 1790 and 1800, and have been described in Michaelis's ‘Ancient Marbles in Great Britain,’ p. 279 ff. In 1801 Hope bought, for 4,500 guineas, sixteen cases from Sir William Hamilton's second vase collection, which had been sent to England in 1798. Hope added to this collection, but in 1805 sold 180 of the specimens. Others were sold in 1849. He purchased two houses in which his collections were deposited, namely, a house in Duchess Street, near Cavendish Square, London, and a mansion at Deepdene, near Dorking, Surrey, with fine grounds, once belonging to the Howard family, and recently in the possession of Sir C. M. Burrell. The rooms in the London house were decorated after classic and oriental models by Hope himself (see Britton and Pugin, Public Buildings of London; Westmacott, Account of the British Galleries, &c.; Thornbury and Walford, Old and New London, iv. 448, 449). He enlarged the house at Deepdene, chiefly by additions on the south side, and his collections of sculpture, &c., were ultimately placed in rooms there designed by himself (see the description of Deepdene in Neale, Views of Seats, 2nd ser. vol. iii., and Black, Guide to Surrey). The marbles are still at Deepdene.
Hope was a fellow of the Royal Society and of the Society of Antiquaries, and was vice-president of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts. He was a patron of Canova, Chantrey, George Dawe, Flaxman, and Thorwaldsen. He called on Thorwaldsen when in Rome, and, seeing the model of his ‘Jason,’ gave him an order for it. The sculptor afterwards presented Hope with a relief, ‘A Genio lumen’ (deposited at Deepdene), as a thank-offering for this early encouragement. Hope gave Flaxman the commission for his illustrations to ‘Dante.’ A French artist, Dubost, after a dispute with Hope as to the price of a picture, painted and exhibited publicly in 1810 a caricature of Hope and his wife called ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ It attracted much attention, but was mutilated in the exhibition-room by Mr. Beresford (Mrs. Hope's brother), and Dubost obtained 5l. only in an action for damages (Byron, Hints from Horace, note). Hope died in Duchess Street on 3 Feb. 1831. He left his pictures and works of art to his eldest son. His personal property amounted to 180,000l. A whole-length portrait of Hope in Turkish costume, painted by Sir W. Beechey in 1798, is at Deepdene, where are also various portraits of Mrs. Hope.
Hope married, on 16 April 1806, Louisa Beresford, daughter of William de la Poer Beresford, lord Decies, archbishop of Tuam. Their sons who grew to manhood were: 1. Henry Thomas Hope of Deepdene, groom of the bedchamber to George IV (1808–1862), for many years M.P. for the city of Gloucester. 2. Adrian John Hope, captain 4th dragoon guards (d. 1863). 3. Alexander James Beresford Beresford-Hope, M.P. [q. v.]
In 1804 Hope published ‘Observations on the Plans … by James Wyatt … for Downing College,’ London, 4to. In 1807 he issued his ‘Household Furniture and Interior Decoration,’ London, fol., for which he made most of the drawings, and procured classic models and casts from Italy. The work was an original one, and though ridiculed in the ‘Edinburgh Review’ (x. 478) as frivolous, had, according to Britton (Union of Painting and Sculpture), an influence on the public taste. Byron (Poems, 1 vol. ed., 1846, p. 17, n. 8) condemned Hope as ‘House-furnisher withal, one Thomas hight.’ Two years later Hope published his ‘Costume of the Ancients,’ 2 vols. London, 1809, 4to (1812, 4to); sacrificing 1,000l. in order to reduce the selling price. In 1812 his ‘Designs of Modern Costume,’ engraved by Moses, appeared.
Hope's best-known work is the romance ‘Anastasius, or Memoirs of a Greek written at the close of the Eighteenth Century,’ which appeared anonymously in 1819, 8vo; 2nd edition, 1820, 8vo. On its first appearance it was confidently assigned to Byron. A review in Blackwood's ‘Magazine’ (x. 200 sq.) ridiculed the notion that Hope, ‘a very respectable and decorous gentleman,’ who wrote ‘with some endeavour’ about house furniture and decoration, could be the author. Hope replied in the next number of the ‘Magazine’ (x. 312), claiming the authorship. The work was praised enthusiastically in the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ 1821, xxxv. 92 ff., by Sydney Smith, who expressed his wonder that Hope, ‘the man of chairs and tables, the gentleman of sofas,’ and the like, could pen descriptions not unworthy of Tacitus and not excelled by Byron. The book was also noticed with some favour in the ‘Quarterly Review’ (xxiv. 511 ff.) Byron told the Countess of Blessington that he wept bitterly on reading ‘Anastasius’ for two reasons—one that he had not written it, and the other that Hope had (Smiles, Memoir of John Murray, 1891, ii. 74–6). Hope was also author of two books posthumously published: ‘An Essay on the Origin and Prospects of Man,’ London, 1831, 8vo, and ‘An Historical Essay on Architecture’ (with drawings made in Italy and Germany), 2 vols. London, 1835, 8vo.
Hope, Henry Philip (d. 1839), of New Norfolk Street, London, and Arklow House, Connaught Place, London, the youngest brother of Thomas Hope, travelled in his youth in Europe and Asia, especially in Turkey. He had a taste for art, and added Dutch and Flemish pictures to the collection formed by Thomas Hope. He also made a collection of diamonds, valued at 150,000l. He was very wealthy, but a man of simple habits, and munificent in his charities. He died, unmarried, on 5 Dec. 1839 at Bedgebury Park, Cranbrook, Kent, and was buried in the mausoleum at Deepdene on 14 Dec. He had presented Chart Park to his brother to form part of the Deepdene estate, and left large fortunes to his three nephews. Neale (op. cit.) describes a portrait of him as being at Deepdene (Gent. Mag. 1840, new ser. xiii. 211).
[Gent. Mag. 1831, vol. ci. pt. i. pp. 368–70; Neale's Views of Seats; Burke's Landed Gentry, 7th ed.; Thomas Moore's Diary; Michaelis's Ancient Marbles; Brit. Mus. Cat.]