John Hoppner was an English portrait painter, much influenced by Reynolds, who achieved fame as a brilliant colourist.
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 showed a fatherly interest and patronage of the young boy that 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.