John Hoppner R.A. 1758-1810
- John Hoppner R.A.
- Portrait of The Hon. Leicester Fitzgerald Charles Stanhope, later 5th Earl of Harrington (1784-1862), when a child
- oil on canvas
Painted for Charles, 3rd Earl of Harrington, by whom given to Lord Henry Fitzgerald (1761-1829), Boyle Farm, the sitter's godfather;
By descent to his son, Henry, Lord de Ros (1793-1837);
Acquired by Sir Edward Sugden (1781-1875) by 1834 and later sold in the Boyle Farm Sale;
H.L. Bischoffsheim, Bute House, South Audley Street, by whose executors sold, Christie's, 7th May 1926, lot 42, bt. Knoedler for 6,300 gns;
John R. Thompson, sale, Parke Bernet, 15th January, 1944, lot 34, where acquired by Mr Thompson's daughter, Mrs John W. Ryan and by descent to her husband;
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 6th October 1995, lot 208, bt. for $50,000
This charming portrait portrays the Hon. Leicester Stanhope, the son of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, and his wife, Jane, daughter of Sir John Fleming, Bt., of Brompton Park, Middlesex. He entered the army in the regiment of the 1st Life Guards, serving in the East Indies 1815-17, and later in the Mahratta War, 1817-18. In 1837 he attained the rank of General and the following year became a Knight of the Grecian Order of the Redeemer. On 23rd April 1831 he married Elizabeth Williams, daughter of William Green, of Trelawney, Jamaica, and his wife, Anne Rose, daughter of Cossley Hall, of Hyde Hall, Jamaica. He succeeded his brother as 5th Earl of Harrington in 1851. He was succeeded by his son, Seymour Stanhope, as 6th Earl.
Leicester Stanhope was also painted by Reynolds in 1788 when he was only four years old (Private Collection). The present portrait was painted when the sitter was a few years older and illustrates Hoppner’s magnificent ability to paint children. Hoppner’s first exhibited work at the Royal Academy was a portrait of A Primrose Girl (no.112), and over the course of his career he painted a number of exquisite child portraits, including portraits of the princesses Mary and Sophia, daughter of George III, now hanging in Windsor Castle, and group portraits of both his own children, and those of the Cavendish and Douglas families (Royal Academy, 1795, no.58).
This picture has a particularly distinguished provenance. The portrait was presented to the sitter’s godfather, Lord Henry Fitzgerald, by Charles, 3rd Earl of Harrington. Lord Fitzgerald married Charlotte, Baroness Ros, in August 1791, and the presentation of this portrait may have been intended as a wedding gift. It passed to Lord Fitzgerald’s son, before entering the collection of Sir Edward Sugden, later Lord St Leonards, who became Lord Chancellor. It was later in the illustrious Bischoffsheim collection. The sale of pictures from that collection in 1926 included a number of very fine portraits by Romney, in particular a portrait of Lady Gordon and her son, and Lady Lushington which sold for the remarkable sum of 8715 gns. The collection also included a portrait of Rebecca Minet by Thomas Gainsborough and some fine old master paintings.