The Berger Collection

Nathaniel Hone (1718–1784 )
Anne Gardiner with Her Eldest Son Kirkman, 1776
Oil on canvas
Signed at lower left and upper right, N. Hone p.t 1776
47.25 x 37.75 in. (126 x 102 cm)

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Nathaniel Hone enjoyed a successful career as a painter of miniatures on enamel before turning to life-size portraits after 1760. He specialized in portraits of children and was recognized as one of the greatest practitioners of his generation. His own children served as models for many of his so-called “fancy” pictures, then a popular type of painting in which subjects were disguised as allegorical or mythological figures. This work is an example of a “fancy” picture with dual references: Anne Gardiner and her son recall not only religious imagery of the Virgin and Child but – with the boy’s classical dress and the classical column in the background – also depictions of Venus and Cupid from Greek mythology.

Anne Gardiner was born in 1746, the daughter of Charles Gardiner, a prominent Irish politician, member of Parliament, and a great-grandson of the Earl of Blessington. Anne married William Power Keating Trench, also a member of Parliament, and in 1774 gave birth to Kirkman.


Horace Ayerst Buttery, by 1954; Christie’s, London, June 28, 1963, lot 70; Mr. Roberts; Sotheby’s, London, May 21, 1998, lot 232


Exhibited: Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1954-55, no. 28

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