Hone, Horace (1754–1825), miniaturist, was born in Frith St., London, second son of Nathaniel Hone (qv) (1718–84), and Mary Hone (née Earle) of York, England. His father taught him the techniques of painting miniature portraits on ivory and on enamel. The records of the Royal Academy confirm that he entered the Academy school on 9 October 1770, when his age was noted as ‘17 Feb 11th next’. This would indicate that he was born in 1754, rather than 1756 as usually stated. He began to exhibit in the Royal Academy in 1772 and was elected an associate in 1779.
Hone spent a significant part of his life (1782–1804) working as a miniaturist in Dublin. During that time he also exhibited and worked in London; for example, he gave his Piccadilly address in the 1793 catalogue of the Royal Academy exhibition. He came to Ireland on the invitation of the Countess Temple (Baroness Nugent in her own right, and afterwards marchioness of Buckingham) when her husband, Lord Temple (qv), was appointed viceroy for the first time (1782), ‘under whose auspices, he [Hone] drew the portraits of the first personages of that kingdom’ (Pasquin). Hone painted most of the prominent people of his day, such as the 1st earl of Charlemont (qv), the countess of Lanesborough, the 2nd duke of Leinster (qv), Lord Edward Fitzgerald (qv) (NGI), the 4th duke of Rutland (qv) (NGI), Lord Albemarle, Lady Elizabeth O'Neill (qv), Lord Powerscourt, James Gandon (qv) (NGI), and J. P. Kemble (private collection). In 1784 he painted a portrait of Mrs Siddons (NGI) who had made her debut in ‘Isabella’ at the Smock Alley theatre, Dublin, 21 June 1783.
His years in Dublin are chronicled by Mulvany and Gandon, who include a biography of him in their Life of James Gandon. In 1795 he was appointed miniature painter to the prince of Wales. His Dublin practice was extensive, but after the act of union he found that commissions were declining as his fashionable sitters settled in London. Hone's various addresses are recorded in the lists of exhibitors. He first lived in Capel St. and then moved to Dorset St.; in his house there, the painter Francis Grose died (1791). In 1794 he moved to 9 Nassau St., in 1800 he was living at 14 Charlemont St., and in 1801–2 at Lower Mount St. In 1800 he exhibited a number of miniatures at Allen's, 32 Dame St., and in 1801 at their exhibition in the parliament house.
Hone left Dublin in 1804 and worked in Bath that year before setting up a practice at his house in Dover St., London. He exhibited miniatures at the Royal Academy until 1822. His last years, when he suffered from mental illness, are documented in the diary of Joseph Farington. He died 24 May 1825 in Dover St. from an illness attributed to the effects of gout, from which he had suffered for many years. He was buried at St George's chapel, Bayswater Road, London.