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Nathaniel Hone

From Academic Kids

Nathaniel Hone (24 April 1718-14 August 1784) was an Irish-born portrait and miniature painter, and one of the founder members of the Royal Academy in 1768.

The son of a Dublin-based Dutch merchant, Hone moved to England as a young man and, after marrying in 1742, eventually settled in London, by which time he had acquired a reputation as a portrait-painter despite not having had any formal training in the art. While his paintings were popular, his reputation was particularly enhanced by his skill at producing miniatures and enamels. He interrupted his time in London by spending two years (1750-1752) studying in Italy.

As a portrait painter, several of his works are now held at the National Portrait Gallery in London. His sitters included magistrate Sir John Fielding and Methodist preacher John Wesley.

He courted controversy in 1775 when his satirical picture "The Conjurer" was seen to attack the fashion for Italian Renaissance art and to ridicule Sir Joshua Reynolds (it also included a nude caricature of fellow Academician Angelica Kauffmann, later painted out by Hone), and was rejected by the Royal Academy. To show his reputation was undamaged, Hone organised a one-man retrospective in London – the first such solo exhibition of an artist’s work.

His great-grand-nephew shared the same name and was also a notable Irish painter, known as Nathaniel Hone the Younger (1831-1917).

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