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The House of Commons 1793-94

10 of 39 portraits on display at Palace of Westminster, London

The House of Commons 1793-94, by Karl Anton Hickel, 1793-1795 - NPG 745 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The House of Commons 1793-94

by Karl Anton Hickel
oil on canvas, 1793-1795
127 in. x 177 in. (3226 mm x 4496 mm)
Given by Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria, 1885
Primary Collection
NPG 745


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William Pitt was groomed for the role of Prime Minister by his father who had himself held office between 1756-61 and 1766-8. Pitt the Younger, as he became known, became Prime Minister at the age of twenty-four. On 12 February 1793, George III sent a message to the House of Commons announcing that France had declared war on Britain and Holland. This painting, which was exhibited at no.28 Haymarket in 1795, is by the Austrian artist Hickel (whose country was already at war with France). It was probably inspired by one of Pitt's addresses following the outbreak of war, although most of the portraits were not painted until summer 1794. It is set in St Stephen's Chapel, later destroyed by fire, and Fox, Sheridan and Erskine sit on the opposition front bench.

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