'The lover's dream'
14 of 24 portraits of Maria Anne Fitzherbert (nee Smythe)
'The lover's dream'
by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 24 January 1795
12 1/4 in. x 16 1/4 in. (311 mm x 412 mm) paper size
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Artistsback to top
Sittersback to top
- Caroline Amelia Elizabeth of Brunswick (1768-1821), Queen of George IV. Sitter in 89 portraits.
- Edward Smith Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby (1752-1834), Sportsman and patron of horse-racing. Sitter associated with 64 portraits.
- Maria Anne Fitzherbert (nee Smythe) (1756-1837), Famous beauty; morganatic wife of George IV. Sitter in 24 portraits.
- Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig statesman. Sitter associated with 299 portraits.
- King George III (1738-1820), Reigned 1760-1820. Sitter associated with 182 portraits.
- King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 182 portraits.
- Frances Villiers (nee Twysden), Countess of Jersey (1753-1821), Mistress of George IV and courtier. Sitter associated with 8 portraits.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816), Dramatist and parliamentary orator. Sitter associated with 162 portraits.
- Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818), Queen consort of George III. Sitter associated with 82 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The Prince of Wales sleeps, clasping his pillow with a blissful expression as he dreams of the pleasures of his forthcoming marriage to Caroline of Brunswick. A beautiful vision of her hovers above him, accompanied by Cupid and a winged cherub. At the other side of the bed George III and Queen Charlotte appear. His parents' offer of a bag of money refers to the King's promise to settle his son's large debts as part of the marriage agreement. Behind them a group embodying the Prince's vices flees at the sight of his approaching bride and apparent new-found virtue. They include his secret wife Mrs Fitzherbert, his mistress, Lady Jersey, Lord Derby as Bacchus astride a barrel of port and opposition leader Charles James Fox throwing dice. In fact the bridal couple had not yet met and the Prince needed a stiff drink when they did. Although George went through with the ceremony, the marriage was to prove disastrous.