King George V

1 portrait of King George V

King George V, by Sir Oswald Birley, circa 1933 - NPG 4013 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King George V

by Sir Oswald Birley
oil on canvas, circa 1933
23 1/4 in. x 16 7/8 in. (591 mm x 429 mm)
Purchased, 1957
Primary Collection
NPG 4013


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Like some other 20th-century artists, Oswald…

Sitterback to top

  • King George V (1865-1936), Reigned 1910-36. Sitter in 473 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Oswald Birley (1880-1952), Painter. Artist associated with 15 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Like a number of twentieth-century artists, Birley had a fondness for carved frames and would have a canvas made to fit a particular antique frame. His portrait of George V was made to fit the fine Italian 'cassetta' frame of a type used in Bologna and elsewhere in the Emilia in the first half of the seventeenth century.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 242
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 23

Events of 1933back to top

Current affairs

Sir Norman Angell is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Angell was recognised for his book, Europe's Optical Illusion (or The Great Illusion) first published in 1910 and updated in 1933, which argued that war between modern powers was futile as neither the looser or victor would gain economically from it.

Art and science

British Art embraces abstraction with the establishment of 'Unit 1', the first group of British Artists dedicated to producing abstract art. The critic Herbert Read formed the group by bringing together the artists Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Paul Nash and the architect, Wells Coates. The Duveen Wing extension at the National Portrait Gallery is opened by King George V.

International

The Nazi party comes to power in Germany as part of a coalition government with Hitler as Chancellor. Over the next year, the party consolidated its position through the Enabling Act (allowing them to pass legislation without the support of the coalition), by banning and purging opposition, and by making Hitler Führer in 1934: granting him the combined powers of Chancellor and President.

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