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Thomas Hope

1769-1831


Thomas Hope was the eldest son of John Hope (1737-1781), a Dutch merchant of Scottish extraction and a member of a very wealthy and powerful family of merchants and bankers who had settled, four generations earlier, in Holland. Thomas was born on 30 August 1769 in Amsterdam. By the early 1780s the merchant bank of Hope & Co were in the business of raising large sums for kings and governments throughout Europe and in the United States of America, and were recognised as one of Europe’s greatest banking dyna­sties. After the death of his father in 1784, Thomas shared his father’s fortune with his two brothers and the lucrative family business, remained the source of his considerable wealth.  As a young man Hope began to devote intellect, fortune, time and energy to the arts, with the study of  the archi­tecture of ancient civilisations as the starting point.

From 1787 onwards, Hope spent most of the following eight years travelling as a student of cultures. During these travels, Hope stayed for about a year in Istanbul/Constantinople where his considerable skill in drawing was practised – some 350 drawings of the life style which he observed among the rich and powerful in the Ottoman Empire now form part of the  collections held by the Benaki Museum, Athens.

After years of travel, Hope  returned to acquire an Adam House in Duchess Street, London.  Hope was to establish himself in London, for the rest of his life: as a scholarly collector of art, an interior designer and a patron of artists and craftsmen. In 1804 Hope opened exhibition galleries, after having had the Duchess Street house extended by one of the foremost architects and designers of the period where visitors paid for admission by ticket. In 1807 Hope acquired the country house and estate of Deepdene, near Doking in Surrey as a retreat for himself as  scholar of cultures  and  collector of  all the arts. The popular view of Hope was as ‘the Furniture Man’. The sobriquet was regarded as  a compliment by enthusiastic supporters;  but in the case of hostile critics, it was often used as  a term of ridicule. Eventually the number of his books as designer were:  Household Furniture and Interior Decoration (1807); Costumes of the Ancients (1809); Designs of Modern Costumes (1812); and posthumously An Historical Essay on Architecture, with the illustrations based on early Hope drawings (1835).

Hope married Louisa, the beautiful youngest daughter of William de la Poer Beresford, Archbishop of Tuam in Ireland.  They had three sons, one of whom, Charles, died in childhood.

Hope’s novel was published by John Murray in 1819 as Anastasius or Memoirs of a Greek, written at the close of the eighteenth century in three volumes.  Hope held back from revealing his authorship of Anastasius in the first edition.  In the light of the immediate success of the novel, Murray persuaded Hope to reveal his identity as author in the second edition of 1820.  The revelation that Hope was the author was greeted with widespread incredulity in the literary journals.

A few weeks after Hope died in February 1831, his final work, Essay on the Origin and Prospects of Man, was published in three volumes.    For an in-depth study of this book, please click here to read a fascinating  article by Professor Roger Scruton.

Unfortunately after Hope's  death most of his private papers were destroyed, Anastasius became unfashionable and today he is largely remembered as the ‘Furniture Man’ and not as the author of the astonishing Anastasius.

For more information on this remarkable man, please visit his official website.
 

Anastasius

Thomas Hope




ISBN 1590482824

(Click on picture to enlarge)

 

 

 

Here is the book that took the world by storm, and then was lost. In 1817 Thomas Hope began work on a book that was destined to astonish the West by lifting the curtain of ignorance which had encouraged enmity against the East. Hope's hero Anastasius was fearless, curious, cunning, ruthless, brave, and above all, sexy. Born the son of a respected Greek dragoman, he converted to Islam early on, a move which allowed the renamed Selim to take the reader along as he journeyed deep into the vast and dangerous Ottoman Empire. During the 35 years described in the book (1762-1798) the swashbuckling Anastasius/Selim infiltrated the deadly Wahhabis in Arabia, rode to war with the Mamelukes in Egypt and sailed the Mediterranean with the Turks. He was imprisoned, shipwrecked and hunted. He embraced lovers, killed enemies and had his heart broken forever in Trieste. In Anastasius can be found some of the most eloquently written English since Shakespeare. When completed in 1819, it was a work of such academic interest, raw excitement and descriptive power that the fabled London publisher, John Murray, released it. The first edition was an overnight sensation and the second sold out in twenty-four hours. Foreign editions quickly followed. This remarkable new edition features all three volumes together for the first time. Plus, in a series of commissioned Appendices, an international team of academic experts have examined Hope's life, political impact and artistic legacy, the latter being a ground-breaking investigation of the famous portrait of the author depicted as a noble of the Ottoman Empire.
In accordance with its academic mission, the royalties of this new edition are being donated to the National Portrait Gallery. To have discovered this book in 1819 would have opened a portal into a forbidden part of the world which the average reader could never have expected to visit. Yet open the book today and Anastasius will once again weave his enchanting tale of travel, love and war, all the while demonstrating the human harmonies still linking East and West.

Please click here to go to Amazon.co.uk or Barnes & Noble
 

Praise, then and now, for Thomas Hope’s masterpiece, Anastasius

To have been the author of Anastasius, I would have given the two poems which brought me the most glory. 
Lord Byron, author of Don Juan, 1820.


Once again, the pioneering publishers of Classic Travel Books have uncovered a forgotten treasure. Thomas Hope's book,
Anastasius, shook the literary world when it was first published by John Murray in 1819, and it influenced the great writers of the day, including Byron. Then, on his death when barely 60, it was discredited and banished from view. Now this stirring tale of early Oriental derring-do can be read again in its entirety and the readers eyes will be opened in unexpected ways. 

Robin Hanbury-Tenison, author of The Oxford Book of Exploration, 2008.

 

I am passing a few days with Thomas Hope, one of the most extraordinary men in England and the author of Anastasius, a work of great merit…It is a vast pity that he cannot be persuaded to publish more. 

Washington Irving, author of Rip van Winkle, 1820.

 

The Long Riders' Guild Press are to be congratulated on republishing Anastasius - at once a classic travel narrative and a work of picaresque fiction. Its author, Thomas Hope painted a vivid portrait of the Ottoman Empire based upon his personal experience. First published in 1819, this book, one of the most important novels of the nineteenth century, should be much more widely read. 

Robert Irwin, author of For lust of knowing: the Orientalists and their enemies, 2008.

 

Surely James Bond had his roots in the dashing Anastasius who swashbuckled his way across the Ottoman Empire in the 1780s? This book is a literary treasure, as fresh today as any modern novel. What gives it power is that it comes from first hand; the harems, dangerous streets, deserts, galleys and prisons found in the world of the Agas and Mamelukes. All intimately known: all experienced. Thomas Hope was a writer of outstanding talent - leaving one to wonder about the double life he must have led to know the world of the Porte so intimately.” 

Jeremy James, author of The Byerley Turk, 2008.

 

I had forgotten that Anastasius was originally a John Murray book, so the Introduction to the new Long Riders' Guild Press edition was most enlightening. I think it is marvellous that The Guild is reissuing this classic. 

John Murray, whose ancestor first published Anastasius, 2008.

 

As a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, I was encouraged to learn that during the re-publication of Thomas Hope’s Anastasius an intense academic investigation of Sir William Beechey’s portrait revealed that the author was depicted wearing the regal robes of an Ottoman official. As a travel author myself, I welcome the long overdue re-issuance of this neglected classic. The donation by the publishers of the royalties to the National Portrait Gallery reflects the importance of this literary and artistic union. 

Sir Christopher Ondaatje, author of Woolf in Ceylon, 2008.

 

The author of Anastasius has described the manners and vices of the Eastern Nations with fidelity and humour. 

Sir Walter Scott, author of Ivanhoe, 1820.

 

There are few books in the English language which contain passages of greater power, feeling and eloquence than Anastasius….Thomas Hope’s descriptions reveal a depth of sentiment and a vigour of imagination which Lord Byron could not excel. 

Reverend Sydney Smith, Chairman of the Edinburgh Review, 1820.

 

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