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Charles James Fox

Charles James Fox, by Karl Anton Hickel, 1794 -NPG 743 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Charles James Fox

by Karl Anton Hickel
1794
52 in. x 44 1/2 in. (1321 mm x 1130 mm)
NPG 743

This portraitback to top

Lord Canning recorded that Fox had sat to Hickel by Mary 1794 [1] and in July 1794 Hickel told Farington he had spent four days with Fox at St Ann’s Hill, near Chertsey in Surrey. [2] The house had been acquired c.1778 by Mrs Armistead, subsequently Mrs Fox, and by 1794 Fox, then largely withdrawn from active politics, was enjoying this country retreat, ‘the seat of true happiness’, [3] where he had access to ‘Nightingales, Flowers, Litterature, History etc’. [4] NPG 743 evokes his pleasurable life, although the distant house differs somewhat from early-nineteenth-century depictions and plans of St Anne’s Hill House. [5]
Farington added that Hickel was to paint two Parliamentary groups, 'The Majority being conspicuous in one with Pitt speaking. - The Minority in the other with Fox speaking'. In both these compositions of 1793-95 the figure of Fox derived closely from NPG 743; the first is NPG 745 and the second is known only through a sketch in a private collection. [6]
A half length of Fox by Hickel, ‘Painter to His Imperial Majesty’, was engraved by John Young in 1797, the head closely resembling that in NPG 743.

Footnotesback to top

1) See R. J. B. Walker, National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, I, p 599.
1) Joseph Farington, Diary, 25 July 1794.
2) 6 March 1795; Memorials and Corr. of Charles James Fox, III, 1854, p 100.
3) L. G. Mitchell, Charles James Fox, 1992, p 178.
4) Cf. a map of Chertsey of 1814 and a watercolour of the house by John Hassell of 1822 (both in the Chertsey Museum). See E. W. Brayley, History of Surrey, 1850, pp 236-8, 242. The house was demolished in 1937.
5) Illus. R. J. B. Walker, National Portrait Gallery, Regency Portraits, II, pls.1511-12.

Physical descriptionback to top

Grey eyes, white hair, wearing a black top hat, dark blue coat and yellow waistcoat, with black breeches and white stockings; he sits on a green garden seat and a female statue stands behind him; for the distant houses, see below.

Provenanceback to top

Mr Desvignes, of Lewisham;1 Christie’s, 2 April 1885, lot 115; Graves, from whom purchased 1885.

1 As annotated by Scharf in his sale cat.

Exhibitionsback to top

Romantic Icons, Dove Cottage, the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, 1999 (14).

Reproductionsback to top

J. G. Huck.


This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.

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