Sophia Western, from Fielding’s “Tom Jones”
- About the work
About the artist
John Hoppner, portrait painter, was born in London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1775 and became a member of the Academy in 1795. He was appointed Portrait Painter to the Prince of Wales in 1789. However, from the 1790s his achievements were overshadowed by those of the portraitist Sir Thomas Lawrence. Hoppner's first royal portraits were of three of the Princesses and were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1785. They show the influence of both Romney and Reynolds. Hoppner received numerous commissions, mainly from members of the Whig party. His best and most attractive portraits are considered to be his groups of children. He died in 1810 at his home in Charles Street, Mayfair.
Printmaker and publisher John Raphael Smith is best known for his mezzotints. He was born in Derby and apprenticed to a linen draper. He began his artistic career painting miniatures and engraved his first mezzotint in 1769. In 1784 he became Mezzotint Engraver to the Prince of Wales. Smith produced thousands of prints during his career, which he distributed throughout the UK and to St Petersburg, Milan and Paris. However, after the French Revolution caused a decline in exports, he opened the Morland Gallery in King Street, Covent Garden, initially producing 36 prints after works by George Morland. Smith spent his final years travelling throughout Yorkshire, in response to commissions for pastel portraits. He died in Doncaster, aged c.61.