John Hoppner R.A., 1758-1810
PORTRAIT OF A LADY AS EVELINA
Oil on canvas
68.5 by 53.5 cm., 27 by 21 in
The traditional title for the portrait is 'Portrait of a Lady as Evelina'. Evelina or A Young Lady's Entrance into the World was a novel by Fanny Burney published in 1778. It tells of the beautiful Evelina who was abandoned when a child by her father and brought up by a guardian. She goes to London where she falls in love with the handsome Lord Orville and is eventually recognised by her father as his heir. It was enormously popular and amongst its admirers were Dr. Johnson, Burke, Gibbon, Sheridan and Reynolds. More on this painting
John Hoppner RA (4 April 1758 – 23 January 1810) was an English portrait painter, who achieved fame as a brilliant colourist. Hoppner was born in Whitechapel, London, the son of German parents - his mother was one of the German attendants at the royal palace. King George showed a fatherly interest and patronage of the young boy that gave rise to rumours, quite unfounded, that he may have been his illegitimate son.
Hoppner became a chorister at the royal chapel, but, showing strong inclination for art, in 1775 he entered the Royal Academy. In 1778 he took a silver medal for drawing from life, and in 1782 the Academy's highest award, the gold medal for historical painting, his subject being King Lear.
Hoppner first exhibited at the Royal Academy In 1780. His earliest love was for landscape, but necessity obliged him to turn to the more lucrative business of portrait painting. At once successful, he had throughout life the most fashionable and wealthy sitters. The Prince of Wales visited him especially often, and many of his finest portraits were hung in the state apartments at St James's Palace.
In 1803 he published A Series of Portraits of Ladies, and in 1805 a volume of translations of Eastern tales into English verse. More on John Hoppner
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