The first of many visits to Indonesia in 1974 resulted in Jonathan Hope’s lifelong fascination with the arts and culture of Southeast Asia. Soon after returning to London he began trading in textiles and in 1977 he worked on the first ever museum exhibition of Southeast Asian ikat in the United Kingdom at the Abbot Hall Museum in Kendal, Cumbria. The curator was the museum’s director, the late Mary Burket OBE, and all the textiles were from Hope’s own collection.
Over the next decade he travelled extensively in Asia, from Tibet to outer island Indonesia. During this time, a widening circle of international collectors and museums became regular clients.
Research was always important to Jonathan and he published numerous articles on various subjects, usually for Hali magazine, the textile journal, for which he is also a contributing editor. His acquired knowledge and first hand experience of Asian artifacts and culture meant that he has often been invited as a guest lecturer by several institutions. These include the Sotheby’s education course, the Textile and Rug Society of Great Britain, the British Museum BA course and more recently S.O.A.S.
After spending much time in museums studying their collections of world, ethnographic art, he began acquiring examples of sculpture and metalwork from the countries in which he had travelled. Many of these pieces are now in important private and public collections, including the Australian National Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art and the Musée du Quai Branly Jacques Chirac.
In 2011 his collection of fine Javanese batik and Indian export textiles, made for Indonesia, was exhibited at the Edinburgh International Festival. The show was called “Heirlooms” and was curated by Jonathan Hope himself. It attracted much attention and was favourably reviewed by the world’s press, from “the Hindu” to “the Wall Street Journal”.
Parcours has become an annual event for Jonathan and he greatly enjoys the interaction with both academics and amateur collectors from so many countries.