Search records

Ann Hammersley

Date made: 1805

Artist: Opie, John

Description: Ann Hammersley, by John Opie (1805), one of the leading portrait painters of the day.

In 1805 Ann Hammersely married William Ward (b.1762-d.1838) who later became Bishop of Sodor and Mann (1827-1838). It is perhaps not a coincidence that Hammersley married William Ward the same year as her portrait was completed, as there seems to be what looks like wedding ring on her visible hand in the painting. Perhaps the painting was a gift from her new husband?

The portrait is opulent and rich, with the velvety deep red of the background implying wealth and the fine clothing Hammersley is wearing demonstrating her high social status. Ann Hammersley came from a prominent banking family, with her father, Thomas, having been banker to the Prince of Wales (King George IV), and her mother was sister to Charles Greenwood Esq, a banker and army agent for Cox & Co., a company which later merged with Lloyds Bank in 1923.

The artist John Opie, also known as ‘The Cornish Wonder’, was born at Trevellas, St Agnes near Truro in Cornwall. He showed great talent for drawing and mathematics as a young boy, even opening a night school at the age of twelve for poor children in the neighbourhood. He moved to London in 1780 and had great success as a portrait painter, being hailed as the 'English Rembrandt'. From 1782 to 1807 he exhibited at the Royal Academy, receiving many commissions, and first exhibiting his work with the RA in 1782, then in 1787 he painted the Murder of Rizzio, a work which resulted in his election as associate of the RA, becoming full member in 1788. In 1805, he was elected as a professor at the Royal Academy. Opie died in April 1807 at his home in Berners Street and was buried at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Measurements: unframed artwork: 77 cm x 64 cm

Materials: oil on canvas

Object name: painting

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 1954-3182

Subject tags : #artgallerypeople


Optional, not displayed

Manx National Heritage (MNH) will always put you in control of the information we send you. Read our privacy policy