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Portrait of Captain Henry Hope

The subject of this portrait, Henry Hope (1787‒1867), joined the British navy as a boy and made his reputation in the War of 1812. Under his command, the frigate Endymion, with the help of three other British ships, captured the larger and better-armed American frigate USS President off the Connecticut coast in January 1815. This portrait may have been painted to commemorate Hope’s victory at sea. In this composition, the young naval officer’s face emerges softly from the background gloom, the epaulets and buttons of his uniform suggested with quick strokes of paint. Henry Raeburn, considered to be Scotland’s greatest portrait painter, repeated this simple and dramatic formula with great success in many military portraits.

Henry Raeburn
Scottish, 1756‒1823
Portrait of Captain Henry Hope
ca. 1815
Oil on canvas
30 ¼ x 25 ¼ in. (76.8 x 64.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William H. Risley, 84.9