William Hoare painting acquired for Bath

  • 11 November 2009

The Holburne Musuem, Bath has acquired a painting by the celebrated 18th century artist William Hoare, independent charity The Art Fund announces today.

The Pitt Family of Encombe was acquired with help from The Art Fund, the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, the Beecroft Bequest, Friends of the Holburne, David Posnett in memory of his mentor Harold Leger, and a private donor.

William Hoare ‘of Bath’ (1707-1792) dominated the spa town’s artistic life from around 1740 to 1780. Hoare and his studio so dominated Bath’s market for oil paintings in the third quarter of the 18th century that they continued to prosper even after the arrival of the younger and more innovative Gainsborough in the late 1750s.

The Pitt Family of Encombe is one of Hoare’s best portraits and the artist himself must have thought highly of it. Hoare was a founder member of the Society of Artists, and this was the first painting that he chose to send to the Society’s exhibition in London, in 1761.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund said: "It is entirely fitting that this accomplished portrait of a well-known Dorset family by an esteemed local artist be housed in one of Bath’s finest museums. William Hoare thought highly of this work and I’m very pleased that The Art Fund has been able to help bring it back to Bath."

The Pitt Family of Encombe will be on display at the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester from January 2010.