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    HUGH DOUGLAS HAMILTON (1739–1808) – George Clavering Cowper, 3rd Earl Cowper

    A recently discovered full-length pastel portrait by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, the most celebrated Irish portraitist of the Grand Tour, has been acquired by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The portrait had remained in the sitter’s family and is preserved in remarkable condition. The full-length pastel was a type developed during the 18th century and appealed to English tourists on the Grand Tour to Italy. The earl, a cultural paragon and a patron of artists and composers, spent most of his adult life in Florence, where he sat for Hugh Douglas Hamilton.  Cowper championed the music of Handel, sponsoring performances of his works in Florence for the first time, patronised a stream of artists, including Johan Zoffany from whom he acquired the Niccolini-Cowper Madonna and Small Cowper Madonna both by Raphael and both now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington. He sponsored a number of scientists including Alessandro Volta’s work on electromagnetism.

    Hugh Douglas Hamilton lived in Florence for two years, studying in the Uffizi and producing portraits of Grand Tourists as well as members of the resident British community. His portrait of Cowper is undoubtedly the masterpiece from his time in the city,

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