1887The extravagant life of Lord Francis Hope
Henry Thomas Hope left his possessions, including the Hope Diamond, to his wife Anne Adéle Hope when he passed away in 1862. Anne, in turn, decided to leave the family treasures not to her daughter, Henrietta (whose husband was careless with money and often on the verge of bankruptcy) but to her grandson, Francis Hope. In her 1876 will, Anne named Francis as heir to the family treasures, stipulating that the estates and heirlooms were to be used during his lifetime and then passed on to another Hope descendant. Anne passed away in 1884, and Francis Hope claimed his inheritance when he turned 21, three years later (Kurin 2006).
Lord Francis Hope was less prudent than his grandmother might have hoped. He lived extravagantly, quickly spending his inheritance on traveling, entertainment, and gambling and sinking into tremendous debt. In 1892, he met a showgirl in New York City named May Yohé, a glamorous and charming actress from Pennsylvania. Hope and Yohé married in 1894 and continued to live well beyond their means. To avoid bankruptcy, Hope appealed to his relatives for permission to sell a portion of the family art collection, claiming that he could no longer afford to care for the paintings. After years of litigation, the family finally agreed to allow Hope to sell a selection of the paintings, but the sale was not enough to save him from financial crisis. In 1901, after more litigation with his family, Lord Francis offered the Hope Diamond for sale (Patch 1999).
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