Unknown Artist, Sir John Coxe Hippisley (1746–1825)

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All Rights Reserved)


Country House
Mells Manor
Sir John Coxe Hippisley (1746–1825)
? c.1790–91
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 75 cm, Overall width: 61 cm
Unknown Artist
Catalogue Number


This portrait of John Coxe Hippisley relates closely to, and was evidently based partly on, the full-length portrait attributed to William Pars (MM54), made in Italy in 1779–80. As Brinsley Ford has observed, the quality of the present portrait is inferior to the Pars portrait and may have been made at some point after Hippisley returned to England in 1780.1

Following his Italian sojourn, Hippisley remained in England only a short time before embarking for Madras in 1781, where he took employment with the East India Company. He returned in 1789 a wealthy man, purchasing a house and estate in Berkshire and entering Parliament as the member for Sudbury, Suffolk. In January 1791 he joined the Whig Club.2 At that time the Whigs were affiliated closely to George, Prince of Wales, in opposition to the king. In the portrait, it is suggested here, Hippisley refers specifically to his political sympathies via his Whig ‘buff and blue’ coat, which displays prominently the Prince of Wales feathers. Having recently returned from India, Hippisley may have decided, rather than commissioning a new portrait, to recycle the existing one, modifying slightly the powdered grey wig and dress to conform to his current situation and political ambitions.

by Martin Postle


  1. Brinsley Ford, ‘Sir John Coxe Hippisley: An Unofficial English Envoy to the Vatican’, Apollo Magazine, vol. 99, January–June 1974, p. 441 and fig. 2.

  2. Hippisley, John Coxe [?1747–1825], of Warfield Grove, Berks, The History of Parliament, British, Political, Social & Local History, (accessed 21 April 2020).


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