Hugh Douglas Hamilton

Works

Life
1740-1808 [var. 1739]; b. Temple Bar, Dublin, ed. Robert West’s drawing school in George’s Lane; practised oval portraiture; moved to London in 1764; exhibited with Incorporated Society, 1771, with the Free Society of Artists, 1772, and again with the Incorporated Society, 1773-75; made protraits of George III and the Queen; travelled to Rome to study, 1778; took up oils on the advice of Flaxman; returned to Dublin in 1791; became the leading Irish portraitist of his period;

his works incl. portraits of Arthur Hill, Marquis of Downshire and the Earl Bishop of Derry with his grand-neice [NGI], the latter being the subject of a poem by Paul Durcan; d. 10 Feb., at his house in Lr. Mount St., Dublin; an oil portrait of Arthur Hill (2nd Marquis of Downshire) sold for £377,750 at Christies, London, in Nov. 2000; a series of Dublin drawings was discovered in Australia in 2002 and published as Cries of Dublin (2003). ODNB BREF DIB

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Works
Works incl. “Henry Tresham and Canova looking at Canova’s Cupid and Psyche”; oil portrait Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquis of Downshire; “Cupid and Psyche in the Nuptial Bower”. See William Laffan, ed., Cries of Dublin (Churchill House Press 2003), pp.208 [a series of drawings]; William Laffan, ed., Cries of Dublin, Drawn from the Life by Hugo Douglas Hamilton (Dublin: Churchill House Press 2003), pp.208; 66 drawings [essays by Laffan, Joseph McDonnell, Sean Sheesgreen, Anne Crookshank and Desmond Fitzgerald].

See also his portrait of “Frederick Hervey with his grand-daughter Lady Caroline Crichton in the Gardens of the Villa Borghese”, by Hugh Douglas Hamilton - under Hervey [Lord Bristol & Bishop of Londonderry] - as infra.

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Commentary
[Shirley Kelly], interviert with Wm. Laffan, ed. of Cries of Dublin (2003), in Books Ireland (Oct. 2003): The album, presumed to be handed down in generations of the Gaussen family in Australia, was discovered in 2002; Hamilton b. in Temple Bar area of Dublin, 1740; ed. Robert West’s School; London; Rome, returning to Dublin in 1791 after 33 years in Rome.

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
, gives bio-dates ?1734-1806 [sic]; exhibited with Incorporated Society, 1771, 1773-75; with Free Society of Artists, 1772; went to Rome, 1778; returned to Dublin, 1791. Cf. W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1984), citing bio-dates dates c.1739-1808

Brian de Breffny, ed., Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopaedia (London: Thames & Hudson 1982), notes that he started his career drawing small, oval, pastel, head-and-shoulders portraits, and continued same successfully in London; spent 12 years in Italy, 1788-91, and encouraged by Flaxman while there to turn to oil; his Roman masterpiece is however in pastel, a portrait of ‘Henry Tresham and Canova looking at Canova’s Cupid and Psyche’ (c.1790; Farmer Collection); principal portrait painter in Dublin in his return; splendid neo-Classical full-length works, as well as head-and-shoulders. Ill., ‘Cupid and Psyche in the Nuptial Bower’, exhib. 1800, NGI. ADD, Portrait of the Earl Bishop of Derry, and his granddaughter [neice?], NGI.

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Irish Art Review : Guide to Prices (2000-01), lists George Hugh Hamilton (1739-1808), port. of Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquis of Downshire [Christies London, £377,750; Lot 2]; Port. of a Gentleman, half-length, in a brown coat with fur trim; and Port. of gentlewoman, half length, in a red coat and white waistcoat [pair]; Port. of William Robert Fitzgerald, 2nd Duke of Leinster (1749-1804) [£16,600]; three ports. of members of the Leigh family of Rose Garland, Co Wexford [£5,500].

Book View Ireland [Irish Emigrant] (Sept. 2003) lists William Laffan, ed., Cries of Dublin (Churchill House Press 2003), pp.208, based on the discovery in Australia during 2002 of of a series of drawings by Hamilton depicting the life of Dublin’s poor; published now with explication of each painting by Laffan, T. C. Barnard, Anne Crookshank, Desmond FitzGerald (Knight of Glin), Joseph McDonnell, Brendan Rooney and Sean Shesgreen. Cites “Hae Ball, King of the Beggars”, “A Shoe Boy at Custom House Gate” and “Oyster Carrs at Ormond Market Gate”, “A scolding match at the Fish Market” and ‘an enchanting portrayal of an egg-seller with her young child.’ Also includes depictions of court life and life in comfortable homes of the period.

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