Hobson's Choice

by hobson in Cambridge

We did it
On 29th May 2016 we successfully raised £10,145 with 140 supporters in 56 days

The Cambridge Guildhall portrait of Thomas Hobson is in a poor state, needs repair. An appeal to the people of Cambridge to fund restoration

by hobson in Cambridge

New stretch target

Any overfunding will be applied to restoration of other works in the Cambridge City Council collection of artworks.





Who was Hobson?

 Thomas Hobson was a carrier working between London and Cambridge in the early 1600s.

He also hired out horses. His customer could not pick the best animal, you had to take the first horse in the rank – it was Hobson’s choice – you had no choice.

He helped to develop and finance Hobson’s Conduit, which brought fresh water to the people of Cambridge.

He is perhaps Cambridge’s most famous citizen; we must treasure his memory.


Where is the portrait?

His portrait hung in a London pub for 100 years and was bought for Cambridge in 1849 by public subscription.

It now hangs in the Cambridge Guildhall – but its in a very bad state. Its condition does no credit to Cambridge.


What’s wrong?

 A conservator has reported on the condition of the painting.   There’s a layer of grime and many big cracks. A thick and crudely applied over-paint covers large areas of the original paint. It will be necessary to remove the grime, varnish and over-paint and clean the surface. Then layers which have separated will be reattached. Weak paint will be retouched and a fresh varnish applied. This is a long and costly process.


How to pay for it?

The Council has no funds to pay for restoration. We appeal to those who live in Cambridge, and those who love Cambridge, to help us to restore this important part of the city’s heritage.

 As our predecessors paid for the picture to be given to Cambridge, will we pay for its restoration?




This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£10 or more

£10 Reward

Your name will appear on the commemorative plaque

£20 or more

£20 Reward

Your name will appear on the commemorative plaque

£50 or more

£50 Reward

Your name will appear on the commemorative plaque

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