John Hoppner ( 1758 – 1810) was an English portrait painter.
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’s fatherly interest and patronage of the young boy 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.
He 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, and was the greatest rival to the growing attraction of Thomas Lawrence.