Alexander, 10th Duke of
Hamilton, made extensive use of the London furniture-maker and
supplier Robert Hume. After inheriting the titles in 1819, Alexander
commissioned expensive furniture decorated with pietre dure or hardstones
from Hume and employed him as his agent. Later, he relied heavily
upon Hume to decorate Hamilton Palace and complete the furnishing
and fitting out of the interiors.
Hume bought at least nineteen lots for the duke
at the 1823 Fonthill sale. The pair of armoires by Boulle cost 485
guineas, plus £13.5s for restoration and cleaning. They were
quickly installed in the Long Gallery, flanking the famous painting
of Daniel in the Lions' Den by Rubens.
Hume also purchased the so-called 'Laughing Boy' (now at Elton Hall)
which was then regarded as a major work by Leonardo da Vinci. It
is now entitled Boy with a Puzzle and
downgraded to Luini. This 'bad buy' cost the staggering sum of 985
guineas or £1,034.5s. Hume's total bill came to £2,415.9s
and included a commission charge of £115.