Henry Bone R.A. (British, 1755-1834), The Shipwreck of Aeneas

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Lot 148*
Henry Bone R.A. (British, 1755-1834), The Shipwreck of Aeneas

Sold for £ 11,950 (US$ 16,493) inc. premium
Henry Bone R.A. (British, 1755-1834) (after Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640)
The Shipwreck of Aeneas
enamel
, signed on obverse and dated HBone/ Aug 1817, inscribed along the top edge London, July 1817, Painted by Henry Bone R.A. Enamel painter in Ordinary to his Majesty and Enamel painter to H.R.H. the Prince Regent after the Original by Rubens in the Collection/ of Thomas Hope Esqr, pierced gilded wood frame
Rectangular, 231mm. (9 1/8ins.) high

Footnotes

  • The present lot is an unusual example of Bone's work in that it is not portrait based. Whilst he is recorded as having enamelled historical and mythological subjects, they are still predominantly figurative, whereas the present enamel is almost purely a landscape.
    The Shipwreck of Aeneas off the Carthaginian coast in 1176 BC forms the first book of Vigil's Aeneid. The original by Rubens, painted during his Italian stay circa 1605, is currently in the Berlin-Dahlem, Staatliche Museen. The landscape was identified in 1677 by Roger de Piles, secretary to the then owner, the Duke of Richlieu in Paris. It shows the Medieval Castle built by the Genoese in 1161, situated at the top of a point dominating the now called Grotto of Byron at Porto Venere. At the foot of the hill is the Church of San Lorenzo, built in 1116 in the Lombardian style. For an illustration of the prototype, cf. Michael Jaffé, Catalogo Completo Rubens, Milan, 1989, pp.92-3.

    This publication states that the painting was owned by a Lady Stuart, until 1841. However as the present lot indicates, the enamel was owned by Thomas Hope (1769-1831) by at least 1817. This is a good example of how important Nineteenth Century enamel copies, with their detailed inscriptions, are in confirming the ownership and provenance of Old Master paintings. After Thomas Hope, the Rubens painting (and presumably the present enamel) passed to Henry Thomas Hope (1808-1862) and thence to his nephew Lord Francis Pelham Clinton Hope (later 8th Duke of Newcastle under Lyne) (1866-1941) and then to Sir Alfred Beit Bart, who gave the painting to the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museums-Verein in 1899. Thomas Hope was in possession of a number of Old Master paintings belonging to his younger brother Henry Philip Hope (1774-1839), which had formed part of the Hope Collection, formed by their father John and great-uncle Adrian. However once the paintings had been inherited by Lord Francis, they were to leave the family as a result of his bankruptcy through gambling in 1894. At the same time, the famous 45.52 dark blue "Hope" diamond (now in the Smithsonian Institute), which had also been passed down through two generations of the illustrious banking family, was sold. It is most probable that Francis owned the present lot in addition to his other heirlooms and that it too was sold to ease his debts.
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