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Portrait Of Theodore Edward Hook - By Henry William Pickersgill (1782–1875)

"Portrait Of Theodore Edward Hook - By Henry William Pickersgill (1782–1875) "
This portrait, which has recently emerged from an overseas private collection, shows the composer Theodore Edward Hook (1788-1841) as painted by Henry William Pickersgill, one of the leading society portrait painters of the mid-19th century.

Theodore Edward Hook (1788– 1841)
Theodore Edward Hook was an English man of letters and composer and briefly a civil servant in Mauritius. He is perhaps best known for his practical jokes, particularly the Berners street hoax in 1809.
Hook was born in Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, London. His father, Jame Hook (1746–1827), was a composer; his elder brother, also called James Hook, became Dean of Worcester.
Theodore spent a year at Harrow School and subsequently matriculated at the University of Oxford His father took delight in exhibiting the boy's musical and metrical gifts, and the precocious Theodore became a pet of the green room At the age of 16, in conjunction with his father, he scored a dramatic success with The Soldier's Return, a comic opera, and it followed up with a series of popular ventures with John Liston and Charles Matthews including Tekeli.
Hook then became a playboy and practical joker best known for the Berners Street Hoax in 1810 in which he arranged for dozens of tradesmen, and notables such as the Lord Mayor of London the Governor of the bank of England the Chairman of the East India Company and theDuke of Gloucester to visit Mrs Tottenham at 54 Berners Street to win a bet that he could transform any house in London into the most talked-about address within a week. Hook stationed himself in the house directly opposite 54Berners Street, from where he and his friend spent the day watching the chaos unfold
His gift of improvising songs charmed the Prince Regent into a declaration that something must be done for Hook, who was appointed accountant-general and treasurer of Mauritius with a salary of £2,000 a year (£142,325; US$194,771 in 2021 terms). He was the life and soul of the island from his arrival in October 1813, but a serious deficiency was discovered in the treasury accounts in 1817, and he was arrested and brought to England on a criminal charge. A sum of about £12,000 (£1,054,500; US$1.44 million in 2021 terms) had been extracted by a deputy official, and Hook was held responsible.
During the scrutiny of the audit board, he lived obscurely and maintained himself by writing for magazines and newspapers. In 1820, he launched the newspaper John Bull, the champion of high Toryism and the virulent detractor of Queen Caroline. Witty criticism and pitiless invective secured it a large circulation, and Hook derived, for the first year at least, an income of £2,000. He was, however, arrested for the second time on account of his debt to the state, which he made no effort to defray.
While he was confined in a sponging house from 1823 to 1825, he wrote the nine volumes of stories afterwards collected under the title of Sayings and Doings (1824–1828). In the early 1820s, he helped the singer Michael Kelly compile his Reminiscences, which include details of working with Mozart. In the remaining 23 years of his life, he poured forth 38 volumes besides articles, squibs and sketches. His novels have frequent passages of racy narrative and vivid portraiture. They include Maxwell (1830), a portrait of his friend the Reverend E. Cannon; Love and Pride (1833); the autobiographical Gilbert Gurney (1835) and Gurney Married (1838); Jack Brag (1837) and Peregrine Bunce (1842). He did not finish a biographical work on Charles Mathews. His last novel was Births, Marriages and Deaths (1839).
The world's oldest postcard was sent to Hook in 1840, bearing a penny black stamp. Hook probably created and posted the card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the image is a caricature of workers in the post office In 2002, the postcard sold for a record £31,750.

Henry WilliamPickersgill(1782–1875).
Pickersgill, like his predecessor Sir Thomas Lawrence, had the ability to capture his subject’s physical likeness, and also glimpses of their character too. This can be clearly seen in his rendering of Hook. The artists bravura brushstrokes and lightness of touch are the perfect treatment for this celebrated wit and joker. Far from being authoritative and uptight, Hook is portrayed off guard with his sparkling eyes averted away from the viewer as if planning his next caper. As a result this portrait can be considered one of his most engaging likenesses.
This fine work is in an excellent state of conservation and is housed in its original water gilt cove gesso trimmed frame. It is carefully inscribed verso "Theodore Hook, Presented by Himself to James Wittit-Lyon”. Label verso from R. Dolman & Son, 8 New Compton Street at Charing Cross Road.

Higher resolution images on request.
Worldwide shipping available.

Canvas: 25" x 30” / 64cm x 77cm.
Frame: 34” x 39” / 87cm x 99cm.
Price : $12,000
Period: 19th century
Style: Georgian
Material : Oil painting
Condition : Perfect condition
Width : 87cm
Height : 99cm

Reference : 1210
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