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Hugh Douglas Hamilton, Irish, 1740-1808
Title: Portrait of a Young Gentleman in Rome
Date: c.1790
Medium: Oil on canvas
94.4 x 68.2 cm
Credit Line: Purchased, part-funded by the Friends of the National Gallery of Ireland, 1994
Object Number: NGI.4596
DescriptionThis accomplished full-length portrait is typical of the work Hamilton produced as souvenirs for British and Irish Grand Tourists. Contrary to Hamilton's usual practice of using pastels, it is painted in oils. He had experimented with oil-painting from the start of his career but it was in Italy that he pursued it more assiduously. Details like the small ring seal hanging by a black ribbon from the subject's waist-coat are carefully observed. The setting has been identified as the Palatine Hill in Rome, site of the Palace of Tiberius.
Label TextThis portrait of a young man on the Grand Tour is a good example of Hamilton’s late work in Italy. The subject stands against a backdrop of classical monuments and amidst sculptural fragments on the Palatine Hill, site of the Palace of Tiberius. Visible in the background are the Basilica of Maxentius, and a tower, most likely the Torre de'Conti, close to the Roman Forum. The young man’s immaculate attire includes fine leather gloves, worn to protect his hands from the sun, and a small ring seal, visible hanging from the underside of his waistcoat.