A beautifully done Horace Hone portrait, painted on natural wafer, signed and dated "HH 1782" on the right. The sitter might well be Mary, Viscountess Dillon, as she bears a great resemblance to another portrait Hone did of her. Whether this is the case or not, the subject of this miniature is a striking blue-eyed woman, with a coquettish mien to her. Her hair is styled elaborately, her eyes are shadowed with blue, and she is wearing a very low-cut blue gown trimmed with white edging over a prominantly displayed lace undergarment. A gold necklace calls further attention to her décolletage.
The miniature is in a gold bracelet case which is in excellent condition, as is the painting itself. The case size is 2" by 1 5/8".
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Horace Hone (1754 - 1825), was the second son of the Irish portrait artist Nathaniel Hone. Horace was born in London and initially learned his craft from his father. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1770 and exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1772 and 1822. In 1779 he was elected an associate there, a great honor. From 1782 Hone worked in Dublin where he established a successful practice. In 1795 Hone became miniature painter to the Prince of Wales (later George IV) and he maintained an illustrious list of patrons throughout his life including Sarah Siddons who first sat in 1784 (the portrait is displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland), the Duke of Rutland, the Duchess of Buckingham, as well as numerous other members of the nobility. When England was united with Ireland in 1800 Hone’s practice dwindled and in 1804 he relocated to London.
Hone suffered from mental health issues from 1807 on, and in 1820, in dire financial straits, he pleaded for, and received, a pension. He died in London in 1825. He is regarded as one of the greatest 18th century Irish artists, as well as in Great Britain. His works are in the V & M, the Royal Academy, the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, and other important galleries.