Nathaniel Hone, R.A. 1718 - 1784
Self-portrait of Nathaniel Hone, R.A.
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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Self-portrait of Nathaniel Hone, R.A., 1768
Oil on canvas, 770 X 638 mm
Given by Jasper Archer, 1808
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Nathaniel Hone was born in Dublin but by 1748 had settled in London. Originally a member of the Society of Artists he seceded to became one of the thirty-four original Foundation Members of the Royal Academy in 1768. A painter and miniaturist, he was a frequent exhibitor at the Academy, but his somewhat quarrelsome character led him into conflict with Reynolds, whose reliance on Old Master motifs (and supposed affair with Angelica Kauffman, RA) he famously lampooned in his painting The Conjuror (1775, National Gallery of Ireland) .

Hone painted many self-portraits that present him in a variety of guises. In this example he depicts himself in Van Dyck dress, which implicitly confers on him the high social status of many sitters to that great 17th-century painter. When this picture was conserved recently, a feigned oval frame was discovered to be a later addition. This over-painting has now been removed to reveal glimpses of sky and vine leaves behind the figure of the artist.

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