Oil painting on canvas, Sleeping Nymph and Cupid by John Hoppner, RA (London 1758 – London 1810). 1806. Nymph lying naked, with her head right and her arms above her head. Above her a red drapery for a canopy; Cupid can be seen flying over her. A forest glade setting. Hoppner believed this to be his masterpiece. A poem accompanied the painting when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1806:
"As on her arm reclines the sleeping fair,
And with her breath the loitering gale perfumes,
Love sees, or thinks he sees, his mother there,
And nearer earth directs his glittering plumes;
Hovers with fond delight around her bower,
And swells the fragrance with a roseate shower."
Painted for Sir John Fleming Leicester, 5th Bt and 1st Baron de Tabley (1762-1827) in 1806 for 300 guineas and bought at his sale on 7 July 1827 for £472.10s. by the 3rd Earl of Egremont; thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by H.M.Treasury.
Makers and roles
John Hoppner, RA (London 1758 – London 1810), artist
Carey 1819 William Carey, A Catalogue Anon: A Catalogue of Pictures by British Artists in the collection of Sir John Leicester, Bart, London, 1819, no.2, pp.4-10
Young 1821 John Young, A Catalogue of Pictures by British Artists in the possession of Sir John Fleming Leicester, Bart [...] including the pictures in his gallery at Tabley House, Cheshire [...], London, 1821, no.2, engraved.