George Hope was the son of an East Lothian tenant farmer. After being educated at Dirleton parish school he spent four years working as a clerk in a lawyer's office in Haddington, but gave up this career to work on his father's farm. He spent the rest of his life working as a farmer and gained an international reputation as a practical agriculturist. His holding, Fenton Barns, was known in agricultural circles in America and on the Continent as a model of what a farm should be. In 1875 Hope's landlord refused to renew his lease and he moved to Broadlands in Berwickshire. He died there the following year. This portrait, painted shortly before his death, was presented to Hope by his 'brother farmers and friends'.