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'The Music Party'

2 of 35 portraits of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales

'The Music Party', by Philip Mercier, 1733 - NPG 1556 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

'The Music Party'

by Philip Mercier
oil on canvas, 1733
17 3/4 in. x 22 3/4 in. (451 mm x 578 mm)
Purchased, 1909
Primary Collection
NPG 1556


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  • Philip Mercier (1691-1760), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 26 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

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George II did not allow his son Frederick to come to London until the age of twenty. The prince soon established himself as a focus of political opposition to his father and became the patron of the most avant-garde artists of the time. In this portrait the 26-year-old Prince is shown playing the bass-viol with three of his younger sisters; from left to right, Anne, Princess Royal (age 24) at the harpsichord, Princess Caroline (age 20) plucking a mandora (a form of lute) and Princess Amelia (age 22) reading from Milton. In the background is the Dutch House at Kew where Anne lived before her marriage in 1734 to Prince William of Orange. The suggestion of harmony between the siblings belies the antipathy felt by his family for Frederick; it is said that he was hardly on speaking terms with Anne in the year that this portrait was painted.

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