Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Augusta

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

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Augusta, Princess of Wales (1719-72)
Daughter of Frederick II of Saxe-Gotha; married, 26 April 1736, Frederick Prince of Wales; mother of George III.

2093 By Charles Philips, c.1736
Oil on canvas, 50 1/4 x 40 in. (1276 x 1016 mm), deep blue eyes, pink cheeks, grey wig or own hair, falling behind shoulders; small crown, pearl earrings, single collar of pearls, oyster grey brocaded dress with half sleeves and wide skirt, ermine-lined crimson cloak; dark green drapery and behind it a column, left; a throne surmounted with Prince of Wales' feathers, right.

Signed on the base of the column, the initials in monogram: C Philips pinx

Companion portraits of Augusta and Frederick, at Christie's, 25 February 1924, lot 130, were stated to be signed and dated 1736 which, if correct, suggests that the original of NPG 2093 is perhaps associated with the sitter's marriage in April that year. The earliest reliable date for the prototype is 1737, a version at Rokeby [1] and Faber junior's engraving being so dated. A full-length pair, the portrait of Augusta signed and dated 1737, bought from the Turnor sale, Christie's, 4 December 1931, lot 25, is now in the Royal Collection (Millar, 531, 532) and an elaborate seated variant, also signed and dated 1737 showing the Princess nursing her daughter Augusta, born 31 October 1737, is at Warwick Castle.

Condition: surface cleaned 1954.

Collections: bought, 1925, from Charles Newman of Duke Street, who also offered the companion portrait of Frederick; both presumably from Sotheby's, 31 January 1924, lots 96 and 97, property of A.M. Champernowne, removed from Dartington Hall and stated in the sale catalogue to have been given to Dr John Hollings, then court physician, who married a Champernowne; according to DNB, however, it was one of Hollings' daughters who married a Champernowne.

Engraved: the type engraved by J. Faber junior [NPG D10777] (CS 19) and lettered as painted ad Vivum in 1737.

Appearance
The Earl of Egmont noted, 27 April 1736, before her wedding: 'She is about his [the Prince's] height, much pitted with the small pox and had a great colour from the heat of the day and the hurry and surprise she was in. But she has a peculiar affability of behaviour and a great sweetness of countenance, mixed with innocence, cheerfulness and sense' (Diary of Viscount Percival, afterwards First Earl of Egmont, Historical Manuscripts Commission 63, 1920-23, II, pp.263-64).

Iconography
Nearly all the principal types, often companions to portraits of her husband or children, are represented in the Royal Collection, though not all have been there since painted. A portrait by F. Huysman, presumably painted in Germany before her wedding, is now known only by J. Johnson's engraving [NPG D10942] lettered F. Huÿsman, Saxa, pinxt. Versions of the popular type by Charles Philips include NPG 2093 and a similar whole length, attributed to Hogarth, in the Royal Collection (Millar, 563). [2] Augusta was painted with members of her family and household by Jean Baptiste Vanloo (Millar, 538, pl.191), signed and dated 173[9] and again, whole length, with a companion portrait of her husband, both signed and dated 1742 (Millar, 536, 537; pls 187, 188). Vertue's reference, 1738, to a sitting which apparently also included the Prince probably refers to the family group. [3] The single portrait was engraved by B. Baron, [NPG D33036] 1756. A half length is at Ickworth (167) and a copy known as 'Sophia of Brunswick' is at Goodwood. A portrait, pair with her husband, both sent to Richard Nash at Bath, 1740, is based on the whole length by Philips. [4] Another whole length at Cliveden, somewhat similar to the Vanloo group, is by Hudson, the type engraved half length, [NPG D9122] 1751, by Faber junior as painted in 1750 (CS 17). Vertue records a half length of 1742 by Thomas Gibson, at Cliveden. [5] A group with her children by the Swiss artist Barthelemy du Pan (1712-63), Royal Collection (Millar, 572, pl.213), is signed and dated 1746, and the family group by George Knapton (Millar, 573), signed and dated 1751, was painted after her husband's death on 20 March that year. An undated portrait previously known as Maria Clementina Sobieska, sold Lyon and Turnbull, Edinburgh, 4 February 1950, shows her with the coronet of Princess of Wales and holding a miniature of her husband. A pastel by the Swiss artist Jean Etienne Liotard (1702-89) (Millar, 578), one of a set of the family, was painted from a sitting or sittings circa 14 February 1754.

Of several portraits by Ramsay the first type dated by Smart c.1760, is a whole length. [6] A sketch in black and white chalk is at Mountstuart, collection Marquess of Bute; [7] another sketch is in the Scottish NG (D 2046). The second type, in the Brunswick collection, at one time believed to represent her daughter Augusta who married Carl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, relates more probably to Ramsay's receipt of 1769 for a portrait of her mother: [8] 'Received from her Royal Highness the Princess Dowager of Wales fifty Guineas being in full for a half length picture of her Royal Highness sent to Brunswick by me.' An earlier portrait, by an unknown artist, in the Ulster Museum, formerly in the collection of Sir Cecil Stafford King-Harman, may be of her, [9] as also another small whole length seen at the NPG in 1915, then collection Mrs Spencer Thomson, Edinburgh. [10] A crude life-size head and shoulders with the same face mask, reversed, was at Christie's, 19 July 1963, lot 50, pair with her husband, there catalogued as George II. An able head and shoulders in the Museo de la Fundación Lazaro Galdiano, Madrid, of unknown provenance, appears to represent her a little later than this. Her portrait in wax by Gosset, noted by Vertue in 1752, is now lost. [11]

Notes
1. Information, O. Millar.
2. O. Millar, 'Notes on the Royal Collection... ', Burlington Magazine, CIII, 1961, pp.383-4, repr. fig.12.
3. Vertue, III, p.84.
4. Millar, p.29, note 85, as by Seeman; Farwell, p.32, repr. opp. pp.12, 18, as by Davison.
5. Vertue, III, p.112.
6. Smart, p.125; exh. 'Kings & Queens of England', Liverpool, 1953 (34), a half length.
7. Exh. 'Paintings and Drawings by Allan Ramsay', Kenwood, 1958 (68).
8. As first suggested by C.K. Adams.
9. Exh. 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953 (237), as by Ramsay. The portrait of Frederick from the King-Harman collection is now attributed to B. du Pan.
10. This, or an identical portrait, was brought to the NPG for inspection, 1965.
11. Vertue, III, p.160.