Born in Bohemia, Hickel spent his formative years painting portraits in southern Germany and Switzerland. In 1786 he travelled to Paris, where he included Marie Antoinette among his many sitters. Hickel was forced to leave France for England following the French Revolution, and in London he established a fine reputation, painting many prominent figures of the time including Charles James Fox and William Pitt.
This painting, along with a number of others in the collection, bears an inscription on the reverse by the 2nd Earl of Eldon. It appears that in 1840, two years after succeeding his grandfather as the 2nd Earl, Lord Eldon carried out a thorough inventory of his pictures, providing charming, informative and historically invaluable information relating to the collection.