King George IV
1 of 4 portraits on display in Room 17: miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
King George IV
by Richard Cosway
watercolour on ivory, circa 1780-1782
3 7/8 in. x 2 7/8 in. (98 mm x 73 mm) oval
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 197 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Richard Cosway (1742-1821), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 96 portraits, Sitter in 15 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This miniature of the Prince as an elegant, fashion conscious young man may have been commissioned as a gift for the actress Mary 'Perdita' Robinson, the Prince's mistress in 1782. It was one of Cosway's first miniatures for George who appointed him 'Painter to the Prince of Wales' in 1785. Over the following twenty years, Cosway - a supreme connoisseur - was also the Prince's leading advisor on artistic matters.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 185
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 147
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 148
- Rogers, Malcolm, Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, 1993 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 August to 23 October 1994), p. 51
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 241
- Schama, Simon, The Face of Britain: The Nation Through its Portraits, 2015-09-15, p. 158
- Walker, Richard, Miniatures: 300 Years of the English Miniature, 1998, p. 86
Events of 1780back to top
Current affairsAnti-Catholic mob led by Lord George Gordon marches on Parliament to protest against the Catholic Relief Act, leading to the outbreak of the Gordon Riots in London. Six days of rioting are ended by the intervention of troops, with 285 people shot dead.
Dunning's Motion in Parliament attacks the influence of the crown, suggesting that it has increased and ought to be diminished.
Art and scienceRoyal Academy moves to Somerset House on The Strand, London.
Mrs E. Johnson's British Gazette and Sunday Monitor, the first Sunday newspaper in Britain, begins publication.
Potter Josiah Wedgwood invents the pyrometer; a device used for measuring high temperatures.
InternationalAmerican War of Independence: British troops under Charles Cornwallis defeat American army under Horatio Gates at Camden, South Carolina. The capture of British army officer and spy John André yields proof that US general Benedict Arnold is in the pay of the British. André is executed in as a spy.
Second Anglo-Mysore War in India between Hyder Ali and the East India Company.
Bolshoi Theatre of opera and ballet is founded in Moscow.
See this portrait
On display in Room 17: miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
- Only Connect
- Only Connect - installation video
- Only Connect - Richard Cosway <> Emma Hamilton
- Only Connect - Richard Cosway <> Maria Cosway
- Only Connect - Richard Cosway <> Ludwig Van Beethoven
- Only Connect - Richard Cosway <> Thomas Jefferson
- Only Connect - Richard Cosway <> Horatio Nelson
- WebQuest: Diversity on Display
- My Favourite Portrait by Jeremy Paxman
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Party Trail