Portrait of a Gentleman

JOHN HOPPNER R.A. (1758-1810)


Height - 30.00inch (76.20cm)
Width - 25.00inch (63.50cm)
Framed Height - 34.75inch (88.26cm)
Framed Width - 29.50inch (74.93cm)


Portrait of a Gentleman







Oil on canvas 30 x 25 inches Framed size 34 ¾ x 29 ½ inches

Born in Whitechapel, London on 25 April 1758, son of a German surgeon. His mother was an attendant or lady in waiting at the palace and it is rumored that he was the natural son of the future George III. As John grew older, he was brought up in the palace to be a chorister in the Chapel Royal. Walton, the Kings librarian, was given charge of Hoppner’s education and the King visited the library constantly to note his progress. George III made him a small allowance to enable him to become a painter. Hoppner entered the Royal Academy Schools on 6 March 1775 and went on to win a Silver Medal in 1778 and a Gold in 1782. He exhibited his paintings, 168 at the Royal Academy from 1780 to 1809 and was elected Associate in 1793 and a full member in 1795.
In 1782 on the 8 July he married Phoebe Wright, daughter of Patience Wright, an American modeler in wax and ardent patriot in the American cause. She is credited with having acted as a spy in London for the benefit of Benjamin Franklin, then the American Ambassador in Paris. He consequently lost the patronage of George III, under pressure from Benjamin West, although he managed to retain the patronage of Queen Charlotte of Windsor.
Hoppner enjoyed a highly successful portrait practice and his portraits of HRH Princess Sophia, HRH Princess Amelia and HRH Princess Maria (exhibited RA 1785) led to his appointment as ‘Portrait Painter to the Prince of Wales’1789. His work was influenced by Reynolds and Romney. He was friends with Gainsborough. Together with Lawrence, Hoppner divided the favours of high society in the late Georgian period.
Hoppner visited Paris in 1802 with Turner and Henry Fuseli and collaborated some work with S. Gilpin. John Hoppner died in London on the 23 January 1810 and is buried in St James’s Chapel Cemetery, Hampstead Road, London.
His paintings vary considerably with his finest examples outstanding achievements in British portraiture. His colours, like those of Reynolds are rich, creamy and mellow. His sons William Lascelles Hoppner and Richard Belgrave Hoppner were also artists. Among his pupils and assistants were J.J Masquerier, Henry Salt, John James Halls, Augustus Wall Callcott and R.R. Reinagle.

Works Represented: National Portrait Gallery London; National Gallery Ireland; Tate; Scottish National Portrait Gallery; Wallace Collection; Government House, Madras; British Museum; Victoria & Albert Museum; Brighton Art Galleries; Metropolitan Museum , New York; Detroit Institute; The Queens Collection; The Hermitage; St Petersburg.

Bibl: Portrait Painters - Brian Stewart & Mervyn Cutten
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