Louis Gabriel Blanchet

Portrait of William Rouet (1714-1785), scholar and tutor to the Hope Family in Italy

Portrait of William Rouet (1714-1785), scholar and tutor to the Hope Family in Italy by Louis Gabriel Blanchet

Artwork Detail

The subject of this painting is the Glasgow scholar William Rouet (1714–1785) during a visit to Italy, where he had been engaged by John Hope, second Earl of Hopetoun (1704–1781) as tutor to his elder son Charles on the Grand Tour. Rouet spent the first half of 1763 in Rome with Charles and his younger sibling James. Rouet advised his wealthy pupils in their sightseeing and art collecting. He also introduced them to a cosmopolitan milieu of local dealers, experts and artists, and kept their father informed of their activities.

Impatient for portraits of themselves and their tutor to send home to their father, the Hope brothers bypassed the popular Roman painter Pompeo Batoni (who was reportedly slow to deliver work) and engaged instead the English painter Nathaniel Dance-Holland and the French artist Louis Gabriel Blanchet, who was, along with Domenico Dupra (1689–1770), the preferred painter in British Catholic circles and a favourite of the Scottish James III.

Blanchet depicts Rouet in court dress, in a stylish blue velvet coat with gold embroidery and lace cuffs, in the act of examining an engraved gem with a magnifying glass. Rouet’s credentials as a scholar and a gentleman in his own right are further indicated by the fine replicas of the Farnese Hercules and a bust of Antinous at his elbow and a long letter from the Earl who has respectfully signed himself your humble servant Hope.

Portrait of William Rouet (1714-1785), scholar and tutor to the Hope Family in Italy
Louis Gabriel Blanchet
Production date
oil on canvas
985 x 75 mm
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with assistance of the Lyndsay Garland Trust, 2022
Accession no
Other ID
Copyright Expired
International Art
Display status
On display

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