A selection of Hope’s original drawings dating to his Mediterranean and eastern travels between 1787 and 1795. No drawings by Hope appear to have come to auction since the dispersal of Hope’s library from Deepdene at Christie’s in 1917. Most of the lots including his drawings in the 1917 sale were bought in, but many were subsequently sold by the dealer B.T. Batsford to Antonis Benaki, and are now in the Benaki Museum, Athens. Lot 316 from the 1917 sale, an album titled ‘Outlines for my costume’, Hope’s original drawings for his Costumes of the Ancients, his ‘reference work’ for contemporary artists, is now in the Gennadius Library, Athens (for a detailed study of which see F. Van Keuren, ‘New Discoveries: Unpublished Drawings by Thomas Hope and Henry Moses in the Gennadius Library, Athens’, in Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide a journal of nineteenth century visual culture, Vol 7, 2, Autumn 2008). Hope himself dressed in local costume on his travels, and is displayed in all his immodesty, recently returned from Constantinople, in Beechey’s full length portrait of him in regal Turkish garb (National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 4574). The present drawings includes studies relating to his travel in the Ottoman Empire, including Turkish and Egyptian subjects, and the ‘Persian woman’ possibly the assistant he took on his travels.
Hope’s grand tour, which took in Egypt, Turkey and Syria as well as the many countries bordering the Mediterranean, inspired his interest in the classical world and its art, which he began to collect on a grand scale, amassing large collections of classical vases, sculpture, and paintings. The purity of the art and architecture of the classical world informed his own designs and decorations, and his work helped to define what became known as ‘Regency style’. His published work then extended his influence on the decorative arts into the Victorian age. The dispersal of his library and original drawings at the Deepdene sale at Christie’s in 1917 led to a re-discovery of his work, which then fed into the Regency Revival and Art Deco movements of the 1920s and 30s.