The House of Commons 1793-94
1 of 2 portraits of Henry Welbore Agar-Ellis, 2nd Viscount Clifden
- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
The House of Commons 1793-94
by Karl Anton Hickel
127 in. x 177 in. (3226 mm x 4496 mm)
This portraitback to top
The exact occasion in the House of Commons which the picture is intended to represent is uncertain, in the absence of explicit documentation, but it has previously been thought to be an amalgam of the two debates in February 1793 at the outbreak of war with France. The first took place on 1 February, on the King's Message for the Augmentation of the Forces, during which Pitt referred to the execution of Louis XVI on 21 January - 'that calamitous event, that dreadful outrage against every principle of religion, of justice, and of humanity ...’. The motion was seconded by Lord Beauchamp supported by John Anstruther and William Windham, and opposed by Lord Wycombe, Samuel Whitbread, Charles James Fox and Lord William Russell. In the second debate on 12 February, on the King's Message Respecting the Declaration of War with France, Pitt moved that 'His Majesty may rely on the firm and effectual support of the representation of a brave and loyal people in the prosecution of a just and necessary war'. The motion was seconded by Edward Powys supported by Dundas, Windham, Burke, Sheridan, Ryder and Grenville. Fox moved an amendment rejecting the words 'his most gracious message' but otherwise supported the motion (Parliamentary History, XXX, pp 270-397).
There are several reasons for rejecting these two debates though they may have caused the original inspiration for Hickel's picture. Firstly the news of the execution of Louis XVI arrived in London on 25 January 1793. The whole country immediately went into mourning, Charles Grey (later Earl Grey and Prime Minister) being singular as the only MP not to wear mourning in the House of Commons (Diary of Joseph Farington, 6 June 1807). Hickel paints only two or three MPs in black; Pitt wears blue and most are in light suits and brightly coloured waistcoats. Secondly, the trees outside are in leaf and the sun is shining from the south-east, one MP actually shielding his eyes from the glare through the window - an unlikely need during the well-known fog and smoke of a February morning in Westminster; nor are there candles in the chandelier and side candlesticks. Thirdly there is the unmistakable presence of Canning on the back benches behind Pitt. Canning was elected for Newton, Isle of Wight, in July 1793 but did not take his seat in the House until January 1794. And in July Farington records breakfast with Admiral Gardner who 'sat yesterday to Hickel for the picture of the House of Commons - They think the Portrait like' (Diary of Joseph Farington, 23 July 1794). A terminus ad quem is provided by the aged and diminutive Welbore Ellis, a regular figure on the Treasury bench 'dressed in all points as if he had been going to a drawing-room at St James's'. He was created a peer (Lord Mendip) in August 1794.
In fact it is unlikely that Hickel intended to represent any specific occasion. No doubt the idea was sparked off by the excitement of the February debates and the constitutional bastion provided by the English Parliament against the excesses of the French Revolution. He may have made clandestine notes at the time. He would certainly not have been allowed prolonged access to paint the Chamber of the House until the summer recess and, in any case, the actual process of painting the picture lasted for at least two years. Most of the portraits were painted in the summer of 1794 and the picture was not ready for exhibition until May 1795. The best we can say is that it represents a general view of the House of Commons in 1793-4.
Karl Anton Hickel, brother of the better known Austrian Court painter Joseph Hickel, settled in Paris shortly before the Revolution and managed to gain the patronage of Marie-Antoinette whose portrait he painted. Appalled at conditions in France he fled to England in 1789 or 1790 where he found the country seething with discussion about democracy and even the abolition of the monarchy. The clash on these issues of the two major political figures, Pitt and Fox, impressed him enormously and he planned two large pictures of the House of Commons, one angled to the Government side with Pitt addressing the House, the other towards the Opposition with Fox speaking. Hickel had become well enough known in London to be able to take on this task. He had exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1791, and from 1792 at the Royal Academy where he gave his address as 113 Great Russell Street describing himself as 'Painter to the Emperor of Germany'. He was able to get sittings from many of the MPs and by the summer of 1794 the project was well under way.
Canning records a useful piece of evidence in May:
Then I went to Mr Hickel, a German painter, to sit for my picture ... He came to me one day with recommendations from F. North, Burke, Windham, the Master of the Rolls, and God knows how many more members of Parliament that he named, and proceeded to inform me that his design was to paint a picture of the House of Commons, from which in due time was to be taken a print, of the size of that of the Death of Lord Chatham - which would be a most pleasing and interesting thing for the present age and for posterity - and that he was anxious to rank me among those distinguished members of the House, who had condescended &c. to give him the length, breadth and expression of their phyzzes. There was no resisting the attainment of immortality at so easy a rate, especially when he added that he took his likeness in half-an-hour and asked nothing for taking it. I went accordingly - sat my half-hour in the morning, and half-an-hour more for finishing as I returned from my morning walk to the Temple - and the business is done. He has taken 40 or 50 of all parties and complexion - Fox, Sheridan, Burke, Windham, Ryder, Mornington, &c &c. and is to have Pitt and a thousand others, as soon as the rising of Parliament gives them leisure to sit. The painting of course is a daub - but the likeness is most formidable and astonishing. It certainly will be an interesting print and I would advise you by all means to subscribe for it. Next winter will be time enough.
(Canning's Journal 31 May 1794, kindly transcribed for me by Dr Roland Thorne from the Harewood MSS in Leeds Central Library.)
Joseph Farington continues the story in July:
I called on Hickel in Russell St. - He has made a great many Portraits of Members of the House of Commons. There are to be two pictures. The Majority being conspicuous in one with Pitt speaking. - The Minority in the other with Fox speaking.
Hickel was 4 days with Fox at St Anns Hill. - Burke insisted on being placed on the opposition side and of its being filled as before the late change of political sentiment.
(Diary of Joseph Farington, 25 July 1794.)
A year later the first picture was finished and on exhibition in the Haymarket, announced by The Times, May 1795:
The Exhibition is now open from 10 till 6, at No.28 Haymarket, of a Picture 15 feet wide 11 feet high representing the House of Commons, painted by Mr. A. Hickel, commenced in the year 1793, contains 96 Portraits as large as life, taken by favour from the Honourable Gentlemen themselves.
Admittance one Shilling.
Subscriptions are received at the Exhibition Room for a Print to be engraved from the above; size 30½ inches wide by 22 high. Proofs six guineas, Prints four guineas, half to be paid on subscribing and the remainder on delivery of the Prints.
The following week The Times said that the picture was attracting 'not only general admiration but a numerous attendance of the most fashionable Nobility'. In June it was still 'delighting the eye of a discerning public', Hickel had rejected an offer to purchase it from 'a certain noble Earl', and Pitt had entered his name as a subscriber for the engraving - 'this, no doubt, will make the subscriptions fill even with more rapidity than ever' (The Times, 9 June 1795). In July it was still on exhibition, Hickel had produced a sketch the same size as the engraving, and the noble Earl was still trying unsuccessfully to buy the picture (ibid., 9 and 21 July). Perhaps he should have accepted. Thereafter we lose sight of it temporarily. Hickel left England in 1797 for Hamburg where he established a brief success as fashionable portrait painter but died suddenly in 1798. The picture was removed to Vienna, put up for sale in 1814, and eventually in 1816, bought by Francis I, Emperor of Austria, and hung in the Schloss Belvedere where it received a brief notice in Murray's Guide: 'here is a curious representation of the House of Commons in 1793, with portraits of Pitt and Fox' (Murray's Southern Germany, 1853, p 219).
When in 1850 Sir George Hayter was trying to persuade the Government to buy his Reformed House of Commons (NPG 54) he remembered the picture well. In a letter to Lord John Russell he writes:
The Earl of Ellesmere and (I think) Mr Sydney Herbert, each complained to me that there should be a small picture in Prince Metternich's collection in Vienna representing a part of the House of Commons, with Pitt on his legs ... Lord Ellesmere said, that it was a disgrace to the country that it should not have been purchased by the Government.
Hayter was referring to the sketch, now disappeared, for he continues:
... it is small, coarsely and freely painted, by some unknown hand and contained at the utmost 15 or 20 heads. It was exposed in a shop window in Bond St. about 1821, and Lord Dover did not think it sufficiently good or authentic to purchase ...
(Letter from Hayter to Lord John Russell 6 March 1850, British Museum Add. MS 38080. f92.)
Farington mentions two pictures. The Opposition companion with Fox speaking never got further than an oil sketch, probably because of the difficulty Hickel experienced in selling the original (NPG 745). The Opposition sketch later belonged to Major-General Sir Claud Alexander, MP for South Ayrshire, and was then known as Lord North's Ministry by Gainsborough. It later turned up at Tooth's Gallery in Bond Street and was given to Sir Henry (Chips) Channon by Lady Channon in 1938. It is now in a private collection London. It measures about 51 x 75 cm (20 x 30 in) and is freely painted without the meticulous attention to detail of NPG 745, clearly intended as a preliminary sketch. Fox is on his feet corpulent in blue coat, yellow waistcoat, dark brown breeches, grey stockings, black slippers, black hat in left hand. The Speaker wears no hat, Pitt (seated) takes notes with a quill pen, other MPs are unrecognisable, the chandeliers and candlesticks have been omitted, and there are slight differences in the fenestration. Very few MPs are in mourning.
The actual process of acquiring the Hickel picture is documented in some detail in the NPG archive. Visitors to the Belvedere and readers of Murray's Handbook do not seem to have realised its historic significance and it was not until 1867, when Hickel's oil sketches for the portraits of Erskine and Canning were lent to the National Portraits Exhibition at South Kensington by Earl Grey and Lord Houghton, that inquiries began to be made. It was found under the entry for Hickel in Nagler's Künstler Lexicon that a larger picture was mentioned. Even then nothing happened until Edward Stanhope MP (nephew of Lord Stanhope, Chairman of the NPG) by means of a plea in Notes & Queries located it in the Imperial Collection in Vienna. It was finally pin-pointed in the Belvedere by Colonel Everard Primrose, Military Attaché in Vienna, who had large-scale photographs taken but assured the NPG that there was no hope of its release - 'the picture is not to be begged, borrowed or stolen, but is obviously of great interest to your Gallery ...' (letter from Primrose to Scharf 1 October 1884 in NPG archive). Scharf immediately alerted the Chairman, Lord Hardinge, who wrote to the Foreign Secretary who instructed Augustus Paget, British Ambassador in Vienna, to take cautious steps towards its acquisition. At first Paget met with a total rebuff during the course of a private interview with Count Ferdinand Trauttmansdorff, the Lord Chamberlain, who assured him the picture was only temporarily in store while the Belvedere was being renovated, but that in any case it was Imperial property and there could be no question of its release or even transfer on loan. Paget appreciated the delicacy of the negotiations and asked for a little more time in which to manoeuvre, proposing that it might be possible to approach the Emperor personally:
I think therefore the only thing to be done is to endeavour to have the existence of this picture (of which H.I.M. is probably ignorant) brought before the Emperor, representing that it has of course the greatest historical interest for the British nation, that under the supposition that it belonged to the Gallery & not to the Emperor himself; I had been desired to make overtures for its acquisition for the National Portrait Gallery, and then to leave the rest to H.I.M.'s spontaneous action.
(Private letter from Sir Augustus Paget to Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice 23 March 1885 in NPG archive.)
Paget's years of experience in the Diplomatic Service stood him in good stead and a few months later he was able to write again with the good news that the picture had arrived at the British Embassy. The matter had been achieved almost entirely by Lady Paget:
Yesterday morning I received a letter from Lady Paget saying that Count Trauttmansdorff had called upon her and stated that the Emperor having heard (he, Ct Tr. did not know from whom) that she took an interest in the said picture, and as H.I.M. wished to do something agreeable to her, H.M. desired to place the picture entirely at her disposal to do with as she pleased ... You will easily understand how glad we both are that a work of such immense historical interest to England should become the property of the National Portrait Gallery, and how peculiarly gratifying it is to me as well as to Lady Paget herself that the Emperor should have afforded her this signal mark of his gracious favor ... although the Emperor laid special stress on the picture being given to her personally, as H.M. is nevertheless fully aware of the ultimate destination of the picture.
(Private letter from Paget to Fitzmaurice 9 June 1885 in NPG archive.)
'What a triumph,' wrote Edward Stanhope to Scharf. The transaction was enshrined in an official despatch from Vienna to the Foreign Office and in a letter from the Chairman of the Trustees to Lord Salisbury conveying their special thanks to Lady Paget. It was announced in the House of Commons in answer to a question from Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice on 14 July 1885 by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs who ended his statement: 'I am sure, Sir, I may take upon myself to say that the whole nation feels grateful to His Imperial Majesty for his most gracious and generous gift' (The Times, 15 July 1885). The whole affair was recounted by Lady Paget, with becoming modesty, in her book, Embassies of other Days, 1923, p 387. She rehearses the delicacy of the mission and ends:
However when Augustus was away in England I thought I would have a try by myself; and I succeeded so well that one day the Grand Chamberlain came to me, all bows and smiles, and said that the Emperor had heard - he did not know from whom - that I took an interest in the picture, and he begged to present it to me. I was very much touched, and wrote the Emperor a letter of thanks ... Count Szechen, a great Court dignitary, said that he had never seen the Emperor more delighted than at being able to give me this pleasure.
Unfortunately Hickel made no key for identifying the figures in the picture - or at least no key has come to light so far - even though the exhibition in the Haymarket Gallery excited considerable interest and subscriptions for the engraving were well under way. Several serious attempts have been made at identification since the picture's acquisition in 1885, especially by Scharf; Kingsley Adams and Mrs Isherwood Kay, but although Hickel is believed to have had sittings from most of his subjects and many are very well known indeed, the task has not been easy. Pitt's tax on hair powder was not enacted until 1795 and the uniform use of powder and closely shaven faces does not help. Out of 97 figures only 46 or 47 can be certainly identified and about another 40 are possibly identifiable. Of Pitt's close associates on the Treasury Front Bench, Ryder (Paymaster-General), Dundas (Home Secretary), Mornington (wearing Ribbon of KP), Jenkinson (India Board and later Lord Liverpool) and Welbore Ellis (later Lord Mendip) are distinctive and it is not difficult to add possibilities from the Lords of Treasury and Officers of State known to have served in 1793-4. On the back benches, Canning, Wilberforce and the two Hood brothers can easily be recognised. Canning in fact, who did not become an MP until July 1793 taking his seat the following January, has left a description of the seating near himself during his maiden speech on 31 January 1794:
... Lord Bayham who sat by me, Pitt and Dundas sat immediately below me, & next to them Ryder - & Jenkinson - Wallace stood a good way to my left hand, near the speaker's chair - Lord Hobart was immediately behind me, & Charles Ellis behind me, but a good way to the left.
(Canning's Journal cit. Dorothy Marshall, The Rise of George Canning, 1938, p 55.)
Some of Hickel's figures are unmistakable, many indeterminate, but in most cases he painted individual portraits, usually head and shoulders in an oval surround, signed and dated: K. Hickel p. 1793 or 1794. Canning described them as 'daubs'. The first two examples to come to light were the portraits of Erskine and Canning lent to the National Portrait Exhibition in 1867 and since them about 17 others have turned up, some identified by name, others simply labelled 'Unknown MP'. A few other MPs have been identified either from portraits by other artists or from engravings. The following list and key therefore are only temporary expedients and it is to be hoped that a more comprehensive picture can be built up in the future.
The sitters marked with an asterisk [*] appear in the main Catalogue; key numbers are given on the right, followed by the Member's final title in the peerage, the constituency represented at the time, and government office where applicable. His political orientation is given in brackets, showing on which side of the House we might expect to find him.
ADAM, William (1751-1839) KEY ?72
MP (Fox) for Ross-shire
*ADDINGTON, Henry (1757-1844) (later Prime Minister and 1st Viscount Sidmouth) KEY 69
MP (Tory) for Devizes and Speaker of the House of Commons. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is in Lincoln's Inn.
ANSTRUTHER, John (1753-1811) (later Sir John Anstruther, Bart) KEY ?33
MP (Whig) for Cockermouth and Solicitor-General to the Prince of Wales 1793-5
*ARDEN, Sir Richard Pepper (1744-1804) (later 1st Baron Alvanley) KEY 24
MP (Tory) for Hastings and Master of the Rolls
BANKES, Henry (1757-1834) KEY ?36
MP for Corfe Castle
BARING, Sir Francis, Bart (1740-1810) KEY ?32
MP (Whig) for Chipping Wycombe, elected February 1794; he was deaf.
BASSET, Sir Francis, Bart (1757-1835) (later Baron De Dunstanville and Baron Basset) KEY ?66
MP (went over to Pitt 1793) for Penryn
BASTARD, John Pollexfen (1756-1816) KEY ?5
MP for Devonshire, usually supporting Pitt
*BAYHAM, John Jeffreys Pratt, Viscount (1759-1840) (later 1st Marquess Camden and Lord Chancellor) KEY 58
MP (Tory) for Bath and a Lord of the Treasury
BEAUCHAMP, Francis Seymour Conway, Viscount (1743-1822) (succeeded as 2nd Marquess of Hertford 1794) KEY ?65
MP (Tory) for Oxford but on an embassy to Berlin and Vienna 1793-4
*BEAUMONT, Sir George Howland, Bart (1753-1827) KEY ?63
MP (Tory) for Bere Alston; as an art patron and connoisseur probably well-known to K. A. Hickel.
BELGRAVE, Robert Grosvenor, Viscount (1767-1845) (later 1st Marquess of Westminster) KEY ?53
MP (Tory) for Chester
BERKELEY, Hon George Cranfield (1753-1818) KEY 21
Captain RN and MP (Pitt) for Gloucestershire
BRIDGEMAN, Sir Henry (1725-1800) (created Baron Bradford 1794) KEY ?16 or 42
MP for Ludlow and Wenlock from 1748
BROWNE, Isaac Hawkins (1745-1818) KEY ?15 or 43
MP (Pitt) for Bridgnorth
BURKE, Edmund (1729-97) KEY 95
MP (Whig) for Malton (see forthcoming NPG Catalogue 1760-90)
BYNG, George (1764-1847) KEY ?72
MP (Whig) for Middlesex
CAMPBELL, Lord Frederick KEY ?1
MP (Tory) for Argyllshire
*CANNING, George (1770-1827) KEY 46
MP (Tory) for Newport, maiden speech 35 January 1794. Hickel's oil study of 1794, formerly in Lord Houghton's collection is now in a private collection in Northern Ireland.
CLIFDEN, Henry Welbore Agar, Viscount (1761-1836) KEY ?66
MP (Pitt) for Heytesbury
CLINTON, General Sir Henry (1730-95) KEY 28
MP (Pitt) for Launceston. He and General Sir George Howard (no.13) were the senior army officers in the House.
*COKE, Thomas William (1752-1842) (later 1st Earl of Leicester) KEY 94
MP (Whig) for Norfolk
COLMAN, Edward (c.1734-1815) KEY 68
COURTENAY, John (1741-1816) KEY ?96
MP (Fox) for Tamworth
*CURTIS, William (1752-1829) KEY 9
MP (Tory) for London and later Lord Mayor
DOLBEN, Sir William, 3rd Bart (1727-1814) KEY ?16
MP (Pitt) for Oxford University, entered Parliament in 1768
DUNCOMBE, Henry (1728-1818) KEY ?51
MP (Pitt) for Yorkshire, friend of Wilberforce
*DUNDAS, Henry (1742-1811) (later 1st Viscount Melville) KEY 38
MP (Tory) for Edinburgh and Home Secretary
ELLIS, Welbore (1713-1802) (created 1st Baron Mendip 1794) KEY 26
MP (Whig) for Petersfield; PC from 1760. (For Hickel's oil study of 1793 in the NPG see forthcoming NPG Catalogue 1760-90.)
*ERSKINE, Thomas (1750-1823) (later 1st Baron Erskine and Lord Chancellor) KEY 74
MP (Fox) for Portsmouth. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is at Howick.
FEILDING, William Robert, Viscount (1760-99) KEY ?85
MP (Fox) for Newport and Colonel of Light Dragoons
FITZPATRICK, Major-General, the Hon Richard (1747-1813) KEY ?85
MP (Whig) for Tavistock and friend of C. J. Fox (see forthcoming NPG Catalogue 1760-90).
FOX, Charles James (1749-1806) KEY 80
MP for Westminster, for many years leader of the Opposition. (For Hickel's oil study in the NPG see forthcoming NPG Catalogue 1760-90.)
GARDNER, Captain Alan (1742-1809) (promoted Rear-Admiral 1793, later 1st Baron Gardner) KEY ?18
MP (Tory) for Plymouth. Sat to Hickel 22 July 1794.
GILBERT, Thomas (?1719-98) KEY ?16
MP (Pitt) for Lichfield, entered Parliament in 1763; chairman of Ways and Means from 1784.
GREY, Charles (1764-1845) (later 2nd Earl Grey and Prime Minister 1830-4) KEY ?84
MP (Whig) for Northumberland (see Richard Ormond, National Portrait Gallery: Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, pp 199-203)
HARLEY, Hon Thomas (1730-1804) KEY ?3
MP (Pitt) for Herefordshire; entered Parliament in 1761 and PC from 1768.
HATSELL, John (1733-1820) KEY 64
Clerk of the House of Commons 1768-97
HILL, Sir Richard, 2nd Bart (1733-1808) KEY 23
MP (Tory) for Shropshire
HOBART, Hon Henry (1738-99) KEY 40
MP (Pitt) for Norwich
HOBART, Hon Robert (1760-1816) (styled Lord Hobart and later 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire) KEY ?48
MP (Tory) for Lincoln and PC from 1793
HOLROYD, John Baker (1735-1821) (later 1st Earl of Sheffield) KEY ?37
MP (Pitt) for Bristol (see forthcoming NPG Catalogue 1760-90)
*HOOD, Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander (1726-1814) (promoted Admiral 1794 and later 1st Viscount Bridport) KEY 31
MP (Tory) for Buckingham
*HOOD, Vice-Admiral Sir Samuel, Bart (1724-1816) (promoted Admiral 1794 and later 1st Viscount Hood) KEY 10
MP (Tory) for Westminster. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is at Loder Court, Dorset.
HOWARD, General Sir George (1718-96) KEY 13
MP (Pitt) for Stamford; Colonel of 1st Dragoon Guards and Field Marshal from 1793; senior army officer in the House of Commons.
JEKYLL, Joseph (1754-1837) KEY ?81
MP (Whig) for Calne and later Solicitor-General to the Prince of Wales. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is in a private collection Dorset.
*JENKINSON, Robert Banks (1770-1828) (later 2nd Earl of Liverpool and Prime Minister) KEY 30
MP (Tory) for Rye
*JERVIS, Vice-Admiral Sir John (1735-1823) (later Earl of Saint Vincent and Commander-in-Chief) KEY ?27
MP (Whig) for Chipping Wycombe
KENSINGTON, William Edwardes, 1st Baron (c.1712-1801) KEY ?22
MP for Haverfordwest from 1747 and sometimes called 'Father of the House'
KING, Vice-Admiral Sir Richard (1730-1806) KEY ?4
MP (Tory) for Rochester
*KNIGHT, Richard Payne (1750-1824) KEY ?93
MP (Fox) for Ludlow
LAMBTON, William Henry (1764-97) KEY ?91
MP (Fox) for Durham. Hickel's oil study was engraved by W. Leney.
LEY, John (d. 1814) KEY 70
Clerk Assistant and Deputy Clerk of the House of Commons
*LONG, Charles (?1760-1838) (later 1st Baron Farnborough) KEY 52
MP (Pitt) for Rye and joint Secretary to the Treasury
LUDLOW, Peter, 1st Earl KEY ?87
MP (Fox) for Huntingdonshire and PC from 1782
MAINWARING, William (1735-1802) KEY 14
MP (Pitt) for Middlesex. Hickel's oil study of 1793 was at Christie's 23 February 1962 (165), bought Howard.
MARTIN, James (1738-1810) KEY 41
MP (Tory) for Tewkesbury and a Director of the Million Bank; later on, his portliness made him conspicuous.
MILBANKE, Captain Ralph (d. 1823) KEY ?88
MP (Whig) for County Durham
*MITFORD, Sir John (1748-1830) (later Speaker of the House of Commons and 1st Baron Redesdale) KEY 59
MP (Tory) for Bere Alston and Solicitor-General 1793-9
*MORNINGTON, Richard Wellesley, 2nd Earl of (1760-1842) (later Governor-General of India and Marquess Wellesley) KEY 34
MP (Tory) for Windsor and a member of the India Board. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is at Stratfield Saye House.
NORTH, Hon Frederick (1766-1827) (later 5th Earl of Guilford) KEY ?11
MP (Whig) for Banbury; introduced Hickel to C. J. Fox.
PARKER, George, Viscount (1755-1842) (later 4th Earl of Macclesfield) KEY ?90
MP for Minehead and Comptroller of the Household
PEEL, Robert (1750-1830) (later 1st Baronet) KEY 8
MP (Tory) for Tamworth and father of the Prime Minister
PEIRSE, Henry (1754-1824) KEY ?86
MP (Whig) for Northallerton. Hickel's oil study of 1793 was at Christie's 17 March 1978 (57).
*PITT, Hon William (1759-1806) KEY 50
MP (Tory) for Cambridge University and Prime Minister from 1783
*POLE, Hon William Wellesley (1763-1845) (later 3rd Earl of Mornington) KEY ?49
MP (Tory) for East Looe
*PORTER, George (1760-1828) (later General and Baron De Hochepied) KEY 12
MP (Tory) for Stockbridge. Hickel's oil study of 1794 was seen by Scharf in 1885 (Sir George Scharf’s Trustees’ Sketchbooks, XXXIII, 38).
RIDLEY, Sir Matthew White, 2nd Bart (1745-1813) KEY 47
MP (independent) for Newcastle-upon-Tyne
*ROLLE, John (1756-1842) (later 1st Baron Rolle of Stevenstone) KEY ?35
MP (Tory) for Devon. His dislike of Fox and Burke led to the satire The Rolliad.
*ROSE, George (1744-1818) KEY 45
MP (Pitt) for Christchurch and joint Secretary to the Treasury; Clerk of the Parliaments 1788-1818.
*RUSSELL, Lord John (1766-1839) (later 6th Duke of Bedford) KEY ?97
MP (advanced Whig) for Tavistock
RUSSELL, Lord William (1767-1840) (younger brother of Lord John) KEY ?97
MP (advanced Whig) for Surrey
*RYDER, Hon Dudley (1762-1847) (later 1st Earl of Harrowby) KEY 44
MP (Tory) for Tiverton, PC from 1790, and Paymaster of the Forces
*SCOTT, Sir John (1751-1838) (later 1st Earl of Eldon and Lord Chancellor) KEY 29
MP (Tory) for Weobley and Attorney-General
*SHERIDAN, Richard Brinsley (1751-1816) KEY 83
MP (Whig) for Stafford
*SINCLAIR, Sir John, Bart (1754-1835) KEY 2
MP ('armed neutrality') for Caithness and President of the Board of Agriculture
SMITH, William (1756-1835) KEY ?73
MP (Fox) for Camelford
SMYTH, John (1748-1811) KEY ?54
MP (Pitt) for Pontefract, a Lord of the Admiralty
STEPHENS, Philip (1723-1809) (created 1st Baronet 1795) KEY 19
MP (Tory) for Sandwich and Secretary to the Admiralty from 1763
STOPFORD, James George, Viscount (1765-1835) (later 3rd Earl of Courtown) KEY ?7
MP (Tory) for Great Bedwyn and Treasurer of the Household
THORNTON, Henry (1760-1815) KEY ?71
MP for Southwark
THORNTON, Robert (1759-1826) KEY ?82
MP for Colchester
*THORNTON, Samuel (1755-1838) KEY 76
MP (Tory) for Kingston-upon-Hull and Director of the Bank of England. Hickel's oil study of 14 is in the Bank of England collection. Thornton's 2 younger brothers may be the Members sitting near him, key nos.71 and 82; there is a strong facial resemblance.
TOWNSHEND, Charles (1728-1810) (later 1st Baron Bayning) KEY 57
MP for Yarmouth. Hickel's oil study of 1793 was at Sotheby's 10 June 1965 (185).
UPPER OSSORY, John Fitzpatrick, 2nd Earl of (1745-1818) KEY ?75
MP (Fox) for Bedfordshire
WHITBREAD, Samuel (1758-1815) KEY ?78
MP (Whig) for Bedford
*WILBERFORCE, William (1759-1833) KEY 39
MP (Tory) for Yorkshire and a friend of Pitt. Hickel's oil study of 1793 is in the family possession in Yorkshire.
WILMOT, John Eardley (1750-1815) KEY ?20 or 60
MP (Pitt) for Coventry
*WINDHAM, William (1750-1810) KEY 89
MP (Whig) for Norwich
WYCOMBE, John Henry Petty, Earl (1765-1809) (later 2nd Marquess of Lansdowne) KEY 79
MP (Whig) for Chipping Wycombe
YONGE, Sir George, 5th Bart (1731-1812) KEY 25
MP (Tory) for Honiton, Secretary for War
YORKE, Charles Philip (1764-1834) KEY ?6
MP (Tory) for Cambridgeshire, but often voting against Pitt
YOUNG, Sir William, 2nd Bart (1749-1815) KEY ?17
MP (Tory) for St Mawes
John Fenton Cawthorne (1753-1831)
Lord Euston (1760-1844)
Henry Mulgrave (1755-1831)
Thomas Steele (1753-1823)
Edward Bouverie (1738-1810)
Lord George Cavendish (c.1727-94)
John Christian Curwen (1756-1828)
James Grenville (1742-1825)
Filmer Honywood (c.1745-1809)
Michael Angelo Taylor (?1757-1834)
Referenceback to top
Diary of Joseph Farington 1795-1821, 25 July 1794 and 6 June 1807.
Murray's Handbook to Southern Germany, 1853.
Parliamentary History, XXX, 1792-4, 1817.
George Scharf in The Athenaeum, 6 December 1884.
The Times, 8 and 13 May, 9 and 15 June, 9 and 21 July 1795.
R. G. Thorne, History of Parliament 1790-1820, 5 vols., forthcoming.
Physical descriptionback to top
The scene represents the interior of the House of Commons (St Stephen's Chapel, destroyed by fire 1834) looking eastwards towards Speaker Addington in the chair, Pitt addressing the House from the Government side, Fox, Sheridan and Erskine on the Opposition benches. 97 people are portrayed of whom about 48 can be certainly identified and a further 38 named by conjecture.
Provenanceback to top
The artist; His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Franz of Austria and King of Hungary; presented by his grandson Franz Josef in June 1885 to Lady Paget, wife of HM Ambassador in Vienna, who immediately presented it to the NPG.
Exhibitionsback to top
No.28 Haymarket 1795, a special exhibition arranged by Hickel himself.
Reproductionsback to top
A line engraving by Thomas Cheesman (pupil of Bartolozzi) was projected in 1795 but never achieved.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.
View all known portraits for Richard Pepper Arden, 1st Baron Alvanley
View all known portraits for Sir Francis Baring, 1st Bt
View all known portraits for Sir George Howland Beaumont, 7th Bt
View all known portraits for John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford
View all known portraits for Alexander Hood, 1st Viscount Bridport
View all known portraits for Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire
View all known portraits for Edmund Burke
View all known portraits for George Byng
View all known portraits for John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden
View all known portraits for George Canning
View all known portraits for Sir William Curtis, 1st Bt
View all known portraits for George Porter, 6th Baron de Hochepied
View all known portraits for John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon
View all known portraits for Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine
View all known portraits for Charles Long, 1st Baron Farnborough
View all known portraits for Richard Fitzpatrick
View all known portraits for Charles James Fox
View all known portraits for Alan Gardner, 1st Baron Gardner
View all known portraits for Thomas Gilbert
View all known portraits for Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey
View all known portraits for Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby
View all known portraits for Sir Richard Hill, 2nd Bt
View all known portraits for Samuel Hood, 1st Viscount Hood
View all known portraits for Joseph Jekyll
View all known portraits for Richard Payne Knight
View all known portraits for Thomas William Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester of Holkham
View all known portraits for John Ley
View all known portraits for Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
View all known portraits for Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville
View all known portraits for Welbore Ellis, 1st Baron Mendip
View all known portraits for William Wellesley-Pole, 3rd Earl of Mornington
View all known portraits for Paul Orchard
View all known portraits for William Pitt
View all known portraits for John Freeman-Mitford, 1st Baron Redesdale
View all known portraits for John Rolle, Baron Rolle
View all known portraits for George Rose
View all known portraits for John Jervis, Earl of St Vincent
View all known portraits for John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield
View all known portraits for Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
View all known portraits for Samuel Thornton
View all known portraits for John Fitzpatrick, 2nd Earl of Upper Ossory
View all known portraits for Richard Colley Wellesley, Marquess Wellesley
View all known portraits for Robert Grosvenor, 1st Marquess of Westminster
View all known portraits for Samuel Whitbread
View all known portraits for William Wilberforce
View all known portraits for Hon. William Windham
View all known portraits for Sir George Yonge, 5th Bt
Visit From Your Armchair
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize
An online exhibition celebrating the very best in contemporary portrait photography.
Explore our community photography project, which presents a personal record of the UK during lockdown.
Sculptures in 360°
See sculptures and fascinating objects from our Collection from all angles.
David Hockney: Drawing from Life
Watch highlights from our special exhibition, which had to close early in March 2020 due to lockdown.