A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature/Hope, Thomas

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Hope, Thomas (1770-1831). -- Novelist and writer on art, was a wealthy merchant of Amsterdam, of Scotch descent, his family having emigrated to Holland in the 17th century. In early life he spent much time in travel, studying architecture, and collecting objects of art. Returning, he settled in London, and occupied himself in arranging his vast collections. In 1807 he pub. a work on Household Furniture and Decoration, which had a great effect in improving the public taste in such matters. This was followed by two magnificent works, On the Costume of the Ancients (1809), and Designs of Modern Costumes (1812). Up to this time his reputation had been somewhat that of a transcendent upholsterer, but in 1819 he astonished the literary world by his novel, Anastasius; or, Memoirs of a Modern Greek, a work full of imagination, descriptive power, and knowledge of the world. This book, which was pub. anonymously, was attributed to Byron, and only credited to the author on his avowing it in Blackwood's Magazine. H. also wrote a treatise on the Origin and Prospects of Man, and Essays on Architecture. He was a munificent and discerning patron of rising artists.