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Zoomable Image of James Hare (1749-1804), wearing lilac-coloured coat with silver trim and frogging, c. 1774

James Hare (1749-1804), wearing lilac-coloured coat with silver trim and frogging, c. 1774

John Smart (1741-1811)

James Hare (1749-1804), wearing lilac-coloured coat with silver trim and frogging, c. 1774

John Smart (1741-1811)

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Price:

£5,700

Materials:

Pencil and watercolour on card

Provenance:

By descent from the artist; Mrs Busteed, a great-granddaughter of the artist; Christie's, London, 17 December 1936, lot 11 (17 gns. to Agnew, part lot); The collection of Arthur Jaffé (1880-1954); Christie's, London, 17 November 2016, lot 62

Literature:

D. Foskett, John Smart. The Man and his Miniatures, London, 1964, p. 68 and p. 79, no. 11 as ‘portrait of Mr Hare of Wimpole Street, in mauve coat’

Inscriptions:

The reverse inscribed by the artist ‘Mr Hare/ [W]impole [Street]’

Educated at Eton and King’s college Cambridge, he met Charles James Fox, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire whose friendship gave him entry to the Whig society of Devonshire House.

James Hare was the second son of Joseph Hare, an apothecary at Wells, and his wife, Frances. Educated at Eton and King’s college Cambridge, he met Charles James Fox, Frederick Howard, 5th Earl of Carlisle and William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire whose friendship gave him entry to the Whig society of Devonshire House. He was known as something of a wit and a gambler, his appearance described as by Sir Augustus Clifford as ‘the tallest, thinnest man I ever saw, his face like a surprised cockatoo’.[1]...


Hare enjoyed a reverse of fortune when he married Hannah (d. 1827), only daughter of Sir Abraham Hume, Bt., her wealth recovering some of his debt (and enabling him to continue at the gaming tables). His marriage in 1774 may have been the reason behind this portrait by Smart, presumably a preliminary drawing for a miniature to present to his future wife. At the same time, he was also painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, sittings recorded between from late 1773 and presumably carrying on through the next two years.[2]

Hare served as MP for Stockbridge from 1772-1774 and was minister-plenipotentiary in Poland but resigned in 1780. He later served as MP for Knaresborough in the interest of the Duke of Devonshire from 1781 until his death (hence a copy of Hare’s portrait by Reynolds remaining in the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth). Hares final years were marred by his imprisonment in Paris after war broke out with England in 1803. In Paris he suffered an asthma attack which may have contributed to his demise; he died in Bath in 1804.


[1] The original portrait is untraced, but a copy is at Chatsworth (D. Mannings, Sir Joshua Reynolds, complete catalogue, 2000, no. 840, p. 242-43). A miniature of James Hare by Anne Mee, after Reynolds, the reverse engraved with a poem written by the Duke of Devonshire on Hare’s death, was sold in The Tony Banks Collection; Political Art and Memorabilia Belonging to the late Lord Stratford at Bonhams, London, 3 May 2007, lot 65A.

[2] L. Namier, J. Brook, The House of Commons 1754-1790, Vol. II, p.153-54

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