Irish Artist Directory

Thomas Hovenden (Irish Artist Directory)

Full Name: Thomas Hovenden

Lived: 1840 - 1895

Categories: Irish Artists in France, Painting

Artist Biography

Thomas Hovenden was sent from his home in Dunmanway to an orphanage in Cork City when his parents died during the Great Famine in 1847. Nine years later he was apprenticed to the Cork carver and gilder George Tolerton who noted Hovenden’s skill at draughtsmanship and sent him to the Cork School of Design (later to become the Crawford) in 1858. Part of the South Kensington School (now Victoria and Albert Museum), the Cork school promoted the ideas of Aestheticism and the teachings of John Ruskin. Although the school focussed on design, Hovenden subscribed to the notion of painting as a higher art with a social and moral purpose, and advanced his draughtsmanship by sketching the school’s collection of Antonio Canova’s plaster cast statuary as well as painting en plein air watercolours. 

In 1863, following his brother, Hovenden emigrated to New York. There he studied at the National Academy of Design under Charles Parsons, and managed to set up his own studio by running a framing business. Hovenden also lived in Baltimore, before being sent to Paris in 1874 with funding from the art collector John McCoy and his business partner William T. Walters. Hovenden studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Alexandre Cabanel before travelling to Pont-Aven where he was to meet Irish artists, as well as his future wife Helen Corson who he would settle with in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania on his return to America in 1881. 

On 15th August 1895 the headline 'ARTIST HOVENDEN A HERO' ran in The New York Times. Sadly it was the 54 year old’s obituary. Thomas Hovenden died when he was struck by a train, apparently in an attempt to save a young girl who had wandered onto the tracks. With the rise in popularity of modern rather than academic painting, Hovenden’s hard earned reputation was soon to be forgotten.

 Thomas Hovenden's work featured in Adam's loan exhibition 'The French Connection' (2010). Please click here to view the catalogue.

Thomas Hovenden Art Previously On Sale at Adam’s Auctioneers

Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895) The Story of the Hunt (1880) Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 78.75cm Signed and...

Hammer Price €47,000.00

View Lot Details

View More


1. Estimates and Reserves

Estimates are shown below each lot in this sale. All amounts shown are in Euro. The figures shown are provided merely as a guide to prospective purchasers. They are approximate prices which are expected, are not definitive and are subject to revision. Reserves, if any, will not be any higher than the lower estimate.

2. Artists Resale Rights (Droit de Suite) is NOT payable by purchasers

3. Paddle Bidding (In Person)

All intending purchasers must register for a paddle number before the auction. Please allow time for registration. We recommend reading "Buying at Adam's" for first time buyers from our web site for more information. Please be aware that photographic identification by way of passport or driving licence will be required for new registrants, together with a secure valid credit card. This is for security purposes only. Potential purchasers are recommended to register on viewing days.

3. Buyer's Premium, Payment & Delivery

Buyers Premium:

The buyer shall pay the Auctioneer a commission at the rate of 20% on the Hammer Price plus VAT @ 23% (applied only to the commission) on all individual lots.

For example on a hammer price of €1,000, the Buyer's Premium amounts to €200 and the VAT on the Buyer's Premium amounts to €46.00, giving a total amount due of €1,246


All purchases must be paid for within two calendar days of the sale. Our payment terms are cash, banker's draft or cheque drawn on an Irish bank. Cheques will take a minimum of five working days to clear the bank, unless they have been vouched to our satisfaction prior to the sale, or you have a previous cheque payment history with Adam's. We also accept the following Credit Cards: Visa & Mastercard, subject to a credit card surcharge of 1.5% of the total invoice value, & American Express, subject to a surcharge of 3.65%. Debit cards, including Laser card payments, are not subject to a surcharge, however there are daily limits on Laser Card payments. Bank Transfer details are available on request. Please ensure that all bank charges are paid in addition to the invoice total, in order to avoid delays in release of the items. Goods will only be released upon clearance through the bank of all monies due.

Delivery takes place the day after the sale from 10.00am to 5.00pm. Uncollected lots may be subject to storage and handling charges unless specific arrangements have been made with the department. It is important to make contact with us in this regard to avoid any unnecessary charges. Adam's outsource all carriage & shipping requests to recommended third parties whom we deal with on a regular basis. This list is available upon request.

4. VAT Regulations

All lots are sold within the Auctioneer's VAT Margin Scheme unless advised to the contrary. Revenue Regulations require that the Buyer's Premium must be invoiced at a rate which is inclusive of VAT. This is not recoverable by any VAT registered buyer.

The VAT on buyer's premium may be zero rated for lots exported outside of the EU. This facility is available to non-residents and has strict guidelines in relation to availing of this scheme. Please contact a member of the accounts department to enquire further.

5. Absentee and Telephone Bids

We are happy to execute absentee or written bids for bidders who are unable to attend or can arrange for bidding to be conducted by telephone. Bid forms are available from our web site or you can leave absentee bids online by registering on Cancellation of bids must be confirmed 24 hours before the auction.

Bidding by telephone may be booked on lots with a minimum estimate of €500. Early booking is advisable as availability of lines cannot be guaranteed.

6. Condition Reports

The property is sold "as is" therefore imperfections/defects are not stated in the catalogue description. It is up to the intending purchaser to satisfy themselves as to the condition of a lot(s) before bidding. Condition reports may be requested in advance of sale subject to our terms of business. The report is an expression of opinion only and must not be treated as a statement of fact.

7. Conditions of Sale

All lots are being sold under the Conditions of Sale as printed in the sale catalogue and on display in the salerooms or via our web site