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, and all the textiles were from Hope’s 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 and he has published numerous articles on various subjects, usually for Hali magazine, of which he is also a contributing editor. His acquired knowledge and first hand experience of Asian artefacts and culture means that he is often invited as a guest lecturer by several academic institutions.
After spending much time in museums studying their collections, Jonathan Hope began acquiring examples of sculpture, metalwork and textiles from Africa and parts of Oceania, as well as the Asian countries in which he had travelled extensively.
His most recent non-commercial exhibition was called "Heirlooms" at the Edinburgh international festival (co-curated with Ben Divall). It showed examples from his collection of fine Javanese batik and Indian export textiles made for Indonesia. He has exhibited at several important international art fairs including Parcours des Mondes in Paris.