Gustavus Hamilton, Miniature Painter

(b. 1739, d. 1775)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Gustavus Hamilton. Portrait in Crayons, said to be by Himself; in possession of Mrs. Maffett, St. Helena, Finglas, Co. Dublin.

Was son of the Rev. Gustavus Hamilton, vicar of Errigal in the diocese of Clogher, and rector of Gallon in the county of Meath, whose family had settled in the county of Tyrone in the reign of James I and claimed descent from the Hamiltons of Priestfield, Midlothian. The Rev. Gustavus Hamilton, when curate at Enniskillen, married in January, 1721-2, Jane Cathcart. He died in 1755. The artist was one of the younger of several children, and was born in or about 1739. He was instructed by Robert West in the drawing school in George's Lane, and was also an apprentice or pupil of Samuel Dixon of Capel Street, where, with James Reilly (q.v.) and Daniel O'Keeffe (q.v.) he was employed in colouring the basso-relievo prints of birds and flowers produced by Dixon. Setting up for himself as a miniature painter, he acquired an extensive and fashionable practice, patronized, says John O'Keeffe in his "Recollections," by ladies of the first rank, and making "a power of money by his pencil." From 1765 to 1768 he was living in Parliament Street, then at No. 1 Dame Street, at the house of Stock the hosier, and afterwards in College Green. He contributed miniatures to the Society of Artists in Dublin from 1765 to 1773. Shortly before his death he moved to Cork Hill, and there died on the 16th December, 1775, aged 36. He was buried on the 18th December at St. Werburgh's. Hamilton's miniatures are generally of small size, many being intended for lockets or for bracelets. They are signed G. Ham. or G. Hamtn, or G. H., with date. His works are often met with. The following may be mentioned:

Portrait of a Lady. Signed and dated 1762. [National Gallery of Ireland.]

George Wrightson. Signed and dated 1766. [Lt.-Col. Hopton Scott, Shankill, Co. Dublin.]

A Lady. Signed and dated 1764. [Lt.-Col. Hopton Scott, Shankill, Co. Dublin.]

Mrs. Dodson. Signed and dated 1767. Exhibited at South Kensington in 1865 by R. H. Soden Smith.

Lady Fownes. Signed and dated 1762. [E. K. Bunbury Tighe, Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny.]

Mrs. M'Causland. Signed and dated 1767. Exhibited at SouthKensington in 1865 by R. H. Soden Smith.

Samuel Laban. [Rev. J. E. Hone, Rectory, Esher.]

Miss Anne Laban. [Rev. J. E. Hone, Rectory, Esher.]

Rev. James Strong, minister of Cook Street Congregation. Rev. J. E. Hone, Rectory, Esher.]

Sarah Strong, wife of last. [Rev. J. E. Hone, Rectory, Esher.]

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