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King George IV

11 of 19 portraits on display in Room 17 at the National Portrait Gallery

King George IV, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, circa 1814 - NPG 123 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King George IV

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, circa 1814
36 in. x 28 in. (914 mm x 711 mm)
Purchased, 1861
Primary Collection
NPG 123

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Sitterback to top

  • King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 182 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 683 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

In 1814, Lord Stewart, who had been appointed ambassador in Vienna and was a previous client of Thomas Lawrence, wanted to commission a portrait by him of the Prince Regent (later King George IV). He therefore arranged that Lawrence should be presented to the Prince Regent at a levee. Soon after, the Prince visited Lawrence at his studio in Russell Square. Lawrence wrote to his brother that 'To crown this honour, (he) engag'd to sit to me at one today and after a successful sitting of two hours, has just left me and comes again tomorrow and the next day.' The result was a drawing in the Royal Collection, this dashing oil sketch of his head in profile like a Classical god and a large portrait of him in Field Marshall's uniform. Lawrence's unfinished profile was intended for a medal which was never struck. The cosmetic-wearing and much overweight Prince was regularly mocked as the 'Prince of Whales' and Lawrence had to defend this elegant portrait as a true likeness.

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