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Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe) (1756-1837), Famous beauty; morganatic wife of George IV

Sitter in 24 portraits
A woman of tact and discretion, Mrs Fitzherbert was one of the great beauties of her day. Although a Catholic and a widow she was persuaded to marry the Prince of Wales in a secret ceremony in 1785. The marriage was illegal. The Prince did not have the King's approval and the heir could not marry a Catholic without forfeiting the right to the throne. Mrs Fitzherbert was condemned to a life of deception as the Prince's 'mistress'. She patiently maintained this position for almost a decade after George's official marriage to Caroline of Brunswick in 1795.

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L162

Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe)

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, circa 1788
On display in Room 17 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG L162

D13066

'Wife & no wife - or - a trip to the Continent'

by James Gillray, published by William Holland
hand-coloured etching, published 27 March 1786
NPG D13066

D12994

'Dido forsaken'

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
hand-coloured etching, published 21 May 1787
NPG D12994

D12996

'The royal joke, - or - black jacks delight'

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
hand-coloured etching, published 25 April 1788
NPG D12996

D12997

'The fall of Phaeton' (King George IV; Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe))

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
hand-coloured etching, published 1 July 1788
NPG D12997

D13065

'The installation-supper, as given at the Pantheon, by the Knights of the Bath on the 26th of May, 1788

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
hand-coloured etching, published 4 June 1788
NPG D13065

D13053

'The funeral procession of Miss Regency'

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
hand-coloured etching, published 29 April 1789
NPG D13053

D12412

'Bandelures' (King George IV; Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe); Richard Brinsley Sheridan)

by James Gillray, published by Samuel William Fores
etching and stipple, published 28 February 1791
NPG D12412

D12427

Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe) ('Patent-bolsters; - le moyèn d'etre en-bon-point')

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 13 October 1791
NPG D12427

D2344

Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe)

after Richard Cosway
stipple engraving, after 1792
NPG D2344

D2345

Maria Anne Fitzherbert (née Smythe)

by Jean Condé, after Richard Cosway
stipple engraving, published 1792
NPG D2345

D12462

'The visit to Piccadilly; - or - a Prussian reception'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 12 July 1792
NPG D12462

D12515

'The lover's dream'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 24 January 1795
NPG D12515

D12527

'John Bull ground down'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 1 June 1795
NPG D12527

D13099

'Dilettanti-theatricals: - or - a peep at the green room'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured soft-ground etching, published 18 February 1803
NPG D13099

D13107

'L'assemblée nationale: - or - grand cooperation meeting at St Ann's Hill'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 18 June 1804
NPG D13107

D12842

'The guardian-angel'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 22 April 1805
NPG D12842

D13110

'End of the Irish farce of Catholic Emancipation'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 17 May 1805
NPG D13110

D12858

'Le diable-boiteux, - or - the devil upon two sticks, conveying John Bull to the land of promise'

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching, published 8 February 1806
NPG D12858

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