The present drawing, dating from the 1760s, may be considered one of Romney's most striking pencil portraits and unusual in Romney's oeuvre as it appears to be a finished portrait drawing in its own right, rather than a study, a practice that he all but abandoned in his maturity. It is very close in size to the sketchbook pages in the collection of Abbot Hall Art Gallery, which are also from this date and may be part of the same sketchbook.
The identification of the sitter as Colonel Hope cannot be confirmed. It is noted in his sitters book that a Colonel Hope sat to Romney in 1795, and there were three Hope brothers who were ranked Colonel in the army at this date. However the physiognomy of the sitter in the present drawing certainly does not match the later portrait Romney painted of General Sir Alexander Hope, exhibited in Canadan, 1985, by Lord Thomson of Fleet.
We are grateful to Alex Kidson for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.