The House of Commons 1793-94
Karl Anton Hickel (1745-98)
Oil on canvas, 1793-1795
3226 mm x 4496 mm
National Portrait Gallery, London

On 12 February 1793, George III sent a message to the House of Commons announcing that France had declared war on Britain and Holland. This painting, which was exhibited at no.28 Haymarket in 1795, is by the Austrian artist Hickel (whose country was already at war with France). It was probably inspired by one of Pitt’s addresses following the outbreak of war, although most of the portraits were not painted until summer 1794. It is set in St Stephen’s Chapel, later destroyed by fire, and Fox, Sheridan and Erskine sit on the opposition front bench.