The recent post about Lord Chancellor Hardwicke’s purse at Wimpole Hall prompted a comment from Allison Titman, curator of Hammond-Harwood House, a historic mansion in Annapolis, Maryland, saying that they, too, have a portrait of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke.
It turns out that the Hammond-Harwood portrait, by Thomas Hudson (1701-1779), is more or less identical to a Hudson portrait of the same sitter at Wimpole.
The Wimpole version was introduced to the house relatively recently when it was bought by the National Trust at auction in 1998 with the help of the Art Fund.
There hadn’t been a portrait of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke at the house for some time, and the National Trust curators were keen to show visitors a picture of a man who had been so important to the history of the place.
The Wimpole portrait had originally been given by Hardwicke to his secretary, Hutton Perkins, who bequeathed it to his second daughter, Elizabeth. She married Richard Wood of Hollin Hall, North Yorkshire, and the portrait descended in the Wood family at Hollin Hall until offered for sale at auction by Christie’s in 1998 and purchased by the National Trust.
The Hammond-Harwood version, so Allison tells me, descended in the Yorke family to Susan Amelia Yorke (d. 1887), a niece of the 4th Earl of Hardwicke (the photographs of her shown here can be found at the Grand Ladies site).
In 1857 Susan married Charles Joseph Theophilus Hambro (1834-1891) , a scion of the Dano-British Hambro trading and banking family. Charles Joseph’s father, Charles Joachim Hambro, Baron Hambro (1807-1877), had recently moved to Britain, set up Hambro’s Bank, and purchased Milton Abbey in Dorset as his country seat.
The Hudson portrait stayed at Milton Abbey until the Hambro family sold the house in 1932 and auctioned off part of its contents. The Hudson was bought by Mrs Clifford Hendrix and she donated it to Hammond-Harwood House in 1950.
The histories – almost biographies – of these two identical portraits has been very different, but I think they illustrate rather well how the same work of art can mean different things to different people, at different times and in different places.