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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Caroline

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

Contents Foreword Introduction Catalogue scope Abbreviations Arrangement of entries

Queen Caroline (1683-1737)

Wilhelmina Caroline, daughter of John Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Anspach; consort of George II; her father dying, 1687, and her mother, 1696, she spent the early years in Berlin with Sophia Charlotte, Queen of Prussia, wife of her guardian; refused betrothal to the Catholic Archduke Charles; married, 1705, George, then electoral Prince of Hanover and, as Princess of Wales, accompanied him to England, 1714; of her eight children, seven survived.

529 After the portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller of 1716
Oil on canvas, 38 3/8 x 24 3/8 in. (975 x 619 mm), dark eyes, pale eyebrows, narrow nose, blonde hair, centre-parted, to below shoulders; scarlet robes of state over gold-brocaded grey skirt, looped pearls on shoulders, black diamond clasps down front of bodice; a column, right, and left, a table with single arched crown of the Princess of Wales on which she rests her right hand; black and white tiled floor, a window behind, with trees and pink sky beyond.

A copy by a hand not far from Charles Philips of the portrait by Kneller, signed and dated 1716, showing the sitter as Princess of Wales. The original is now in Buckingham Palace (Millar, 345). NPG 529 closely follows the three-quarter-length engraving by J. Faber junior, even in the misplacement of the cross on the crown, suggesting it was worked up from it. The engraving was re-issued when the sitter became Queen (CS 62). A life-size version, with the head very near to Kneller, was with the Leger Galleries in 1935 as by Vanderbank, apparently from the Byron collection, Newstead Abbey. It was bought for Robert E. Lee's house in Virginia, USA. Miniatures are at Ickworth [1] and in the National Museum, Stockholm, as by Zincke after Kneller.

Condition: surface cleaned three times and varnished twice between 1895 and 1900; examination in 1968 revealed the face and chest badly worn; cleaned, relined and damages below the crown, in the left sleeve and the floor, repaired, 1968.

Collections: transferred, 1879, from the British Museum, to whom presented, as by Jervas, by 'Lieut General Thornton', i.e. either William Thornton, promoted Lt-Gen. 1809 (d.1841) or Sir William Thornton, Lt-Gen. 1838 (d.1840); probably the former.

Engraved: the original engraved, with variations, by a number of hands (O'D 8-17) including J. Simon, J. Smith and by J. Faber junior.

369 From the studio of Charles Jervas, c.1727
Oil on canvas, 86 x 50 ¼ in. (2185 x 1276 mm); fair hair dressed with diamonds, blue eyes, pale grey eyebrows, fresh complexion; grey half-sleeved dress with gold and red flower pattern, dark blue robe of state with pearls looped at shoulders, black diamond motif down front of bodice and skirt, long corded girdle loosely knotted at waist; behind her a pillar, right, and, left, a table with crown on which she rests her right hand; yellow stone floor.

Like the companion portrait of her husband, NPG 369 is but an average version of the coronation portrait by Jervas. The originals are not certainly located although a better version of Caroline, framed as a pair with George II, [2] was seen in the Amherst sale, Sotheby's, 29 January 1964, lot 9, as by Lawrence. Among several versions, a pair is at the Guildhall and a portrait of the Queen inscribed and dated 1728, is at Rokeby. Her dress, in keeping with Hervey's waspish reminiscence of the coronation, is described 'as fine as the accumulated riches of the City and suburbs could make it; for besides her own jewels (which were a great number and very valuable) she had on her head and on her shoulders all the pearls she could borrow of the ladies of quality at one end of the town, and on her petticoat all the diamonds she could hire of the Jews and jewellers at the other . . .’. [3]

Condition: the chest over-cleaned in the past; an old horizontal damage in the floor, bottom left, about 4 ½ in. above the stretcher bar; cleaned and re-varnished, 1957.

Collections: See below, George II, NPG 368, Collections.

4332 By Jacopo Amigoni, 1735
Oil on canvas, 96 x 60 in. (2439 x 1524 mm); pale blue eyes, double chin, grey hair dressed with pearls; gold mantle lined with ermine, open, over a pale mauve dress edged with gold lace, white half sleeves with lace ruffles; a green curtain falls diagonally behind her throne, two putti in flight, top left, carry her crown and a laurel wreath; two more, bottom left, hold a cornucopia with the heads of her seven children.


One of two versions paid for by the Queen in 1735: 'To Amigoni for drawing two pictures of Her Majesty whole-length as a present to the Duke of Kent and Dr. Meade.' [4] Vertue also notes in that year: 'Signr. Amiconi finished a picture whole length of the Queen for Doctor Meade. the Queen sat to him for the face.' [5] The other version, still at Wrest Park, [6] has no cornucopia and there is masonry instead of the curtain background. A three-quarter length of the same design belongs to the University of Durham. [7] Vertue refers earlier in 1735, to another type, 'Signor Amiconi a large picture of the Queen and the Duke standing by her. several attributes of honour. and sciences. the whole freely and lively—but neither like nor correct—but of fine glowing colours', [8] a criticism that could equally be made in respect of NPG 4332. The head is surely flattering, making the Queen look like a young woman rather than the mother of seven children.

Condition: losses in the face and chest; fading in the dress; rubbed; discoloured varnish removed; cleaned, retouched and relined 1968.

Collections: bought, 1963, at Paskell and Cann's sale, Colchester, 22 October, lot 288; presented, 1736, to the Queen's physician Mead, and descended through his daughter who married Sir Edward Wilmot, Bart; in the Wilmot family until at least the 'Art Treasures Exhibition', Manchester, 1857 (362) and later with A.F. Jarmin of Bury St Edmunds.

Engraved: by Vertue, 1736, [9] three-quarter length, the Queen's face looking much younger, with a medallion of the three Graces, bottom left, and only one putto included; the portrait engraved after Amigoni by A. van Haecken, 1736, does not appear to be related to the NPG type.

Literature: J. van Gool, Nieuwe Schouberg der Nederlantsche Kunstschilders en Schilderessen, ii 1751; Some Materials Towards Memoirs of the Reign of King George II by John, Lord Hervey, ed. R. Sedgwick, 1931; J. Kerslake, 'Some little-known Portraits in Huntingdon Town Hall', Connoisseur, CXXXV, 1955; J. Woodward, 'Amigoni as Portrait Painter in England', Burlington Magazine, XCIX, 1957; E. Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England 1537-1837, I, 1962, II,1970; NPG Annual Report, 1963-4.


An oval by Sir James Thornhill, 1714-15, in the cove of the Queen's bedchamber at Hampton Court is one of a set of four including George I, George II as Prince of Wales, and Frederick, later Prince of Wales. [10] The sitter was next painted by Kneller in 1716, discussed above, and again by Thornhill in the Painted Hall at Greenwich, c.1722. [11] The coronation portrait of 1727 (NPG 369, see above) was supplied by Jervas, the official painter, but perhaps because he failed to satisfy the royal couple, Kneller's portraits of Caroline and her husband seem also to have been used at the accession. The Jervas pair is not represented in the Royal Collection which has only the double portrait of the Queen and the young Duke of Cumberland (Millar, 500). A head and shoulders enamel, Christie's, 17 December 1968, lot 50, near the Jervas type, may be the companion miniature to George II of c.1731 mentioned by Vertue 'when the King and Queen were in their forty ninth year' (see below, George II).

Amigoni's portrait (NPG 4332, above) is of 1735 but the engraving by A. Van Haecken of 1736 after this artist is of a different type. A corresponding oil in the Scottish NPG, attributed to Amigoni, has a face mask much nearer Jervas. A standing whole length, formerly in the Duke of Fife's collection, exhibited ‘Guelph', 1891 (11) as by Amigoni, is also near the Jervas design. It is more fluid, however, and gives the sitter a remarkably young face. A group of 'the late Queen and her three daughters' begun by Kneller and bought by the Duke of Dorset, was said to have been completed by Amigoni. [12] Another portrait by him, also unlocated, is of the Queen and the Duke of Cumberland. [13] A further painting of them at Hardwick Hall, formerly attributed to Jervas, is perhaps also by Amigoni. [14]

In 1736 there were sittings to Vanderbank for the whole length now at Goodwood, engraved by J. Faber junior, 1739. The derivative at Huntingdon Town Hall sometimes attributed to Gainsborough seems rather to be by his nephew Dupont. [15] The fine terracotta and marble busts by Michael Rysbrack in the Royal Collection may be posthumous. The former is incised and dated 1739. [16] However, in 1732, Vertue lists 'Queen Caroline From the life' [17] and, 1738, a 'Moddel of the Queen vastly like. tho' not done from the life'. [18] The marble, and the companion bust of George were made for the sitter's new library in St James's Palace. [19] Rysbrack was also probably responsible for the statue of Caroline in the gardens at Stowe. [20]

Undated whole length oils include two by Enoch Seeman of c.1730 in the Royal Collection (Millar, 511, 512), and a portrait in the Ionides collection, Orleans House, Twickenham, probably by Herman van der Myn who is mentioned by Vertue as painting the Queen in 1728. The handling agrees with his description of the artist's treatment of drapery [21] and is very close to the signed and dated Carew Henry Mildmay, 1733, sold at Sotheby's, 6 February 1957, lot 17. An elaborate whole length was presented to the Shire Hall, Hertford in 1768, possibly from the Cowper collection, Panshanger. An oval profile by Joseph Highmore, c.1735, is at Hampton Court (Millar, 518) and an oil in the Judges' Chambers, Warwick, corresponds with a three-quarter face type by this artist engraved by Faber junior. The Queen also appears in Hogarth's sketch of the family of George II, 1733-4 (Millar, 559). The sketch in the National Gallery of Ireland does not seem to be from life.

J. van Gool records seeing in 1751, in London, a portrait of Caroline with the Duke of Cumberland as a boy of seven. [22] Piper suggests this may have been the double portrait at the Hartwell House sale, Sotheby's, 26 April 1938, lot 65, as by Ramsay.


1. Farrer, p.200.
2. Lot 10 of the sale, catalogued as Ramsay though of the Shackleton type, face mask, reversed; very close to NPG 670 by Hudson (see below, George II).
3. Sedgwick, I, p.66.
4. 'Declared Accounts of the Treasurer of the Chamber 1735', PRO Audit Office Index 415, vol.169, cited Woodward, p.22.
5. Vertue, III, p.76.
6. Exh. 'Italian Art and Britain', RA, 1960 (174).
7. Exh. 'Kings & Queens of England', Liverpool, 1953 (32) prior to the discovery of NPG 4332, Woodward tentatively suggesting it as the Mead version, cut down.
8. Vertue, III, p.75.
9. For P.F. Le Courayer, Histoire du Concile de Trente, London, 1736: information from Miss F.A. Yates.
10. Croft-Murray, I, p.269.
11. Ibid, p.263.
12. Vertue, III, p.93.
13. Ibid, p.75.
14. Woodward, p.22.
15. Kerslake, p.236f.
16. Exh. 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953 (234); 'Eighteenth Century Portrait Busts', Kenwood, 1959 (32).
17. Vertue, III, p.57, listing works by Rysbrack.
18. Ibid, p.84.
19. Webb, 1954, pp.154-6.
20. Ibid, p.136.
21. Vertue, III, pp.34-5.
22. Van Gool, II, pp.44-5.


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