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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

King George II (1683-1760), Reigned 1727-60

Before 1714
A portrait, known only from the engraving by W. Faithorne (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 14) was painted at the Hanoverian court by 'Fountin', i.e. Fountain, 1701 or before. The picture, dedicated to Lord Mohun, then presumably the owner, was 'brought over by the late Earl of Macclesfield', most likely on his return from the mission to invest George with the Garter at Hanover, 23-24 August, 1701. [1] A fine baroque half length in armour, in the Niedersächsische Landesgalerie, Hanover (149), is undated. A portrait in cuirass with ribbon, was engraved by J. Gole and again, reversed, by John Smith in 1706; the original at Herrenhausen, near Hanover, is by 'J. Hirsemen' (J. L. Hirschmann). Though nominated knight of the Garter in absentia and given the title Duke of Cambridge, George came to England only after Anne's death in 1714, being declared Prince of Wales on 22 September.

A later type by Fountain engraved by P. Van Gunst and by Simon (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 72) shows him with the electoral ermine and the George over a cuirass. An oval head by Sir James Thornhill, 1714-15, in the cove of the Queen's bedchamber at Hampton Court corresponds with this design. [2] A whole length by this artist is in the Painted Hall, Greenwich. The main portraits for this period, however, are by Kneller, signed and dated 1716, discussed under NPG 205. An engraving by M. Van der Gucht, obviously a derivative, shows a duke's coronet instead of the single arched crown of the Prince of Wales.

Apart from Zincke to whom 'he took more pleasure in setting ... than ... to any painter for that his works were beautiful & like', [3] George II disliked having his portrait taken and, as Vertue noted in 1731-32, there was a dismal series of relations with painters. Nevertheless, a number of portraits were attempted, many of them deriving from the Kneller of 1716. [4] Jervas (see NPG 368) failed to produce a satisfactory likeness and Joseph Highmore's portraits were produced partly from the Knellers and partly 'by stealth', the King and Queen being drawn 'first on paper at Several Views'. [5] A signed Highmore, stylistically of the 'thirties, now at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, engraved by Faber junior (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 157), [6] was at Sotheby's, 16 December 1925, lot 129, from the collection of Viscount Falmouth, Mereworth Castle. Another painting in the Mayor's Parlour at York, signed by Highmore, dates from 1755. [7] The King also refused to sit for Hudson, although a seated type (NPG 670) is certainly by him. A standing full length owned by Exeter City Council was stated to be 'but lately fixed up ... the ingenious work and generous present of the celebrated Mr Thomas Hudson heretofore of Exeter'. [8] Vertue states that the Chevalier Rusca successfully made a portrait in 1733, [9] but that the King refused to sit to Kent, [10] the designer and landscape gardener appointed King's painter at Jervas' death in 1739. However, a portrait painted for Sir Thomas Robinson, [11] inscribed with Kent's name and dated 1741 is among a set, including the Queen, at Rokeby. Enoch Seeman also produced versions of the King and his consort (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 508, 513) and payments in the Duchy of Cornwall accounts of 1738 probably relate to these. [12]
The next group of official likenesses is associated with the name of John Shackleton who, as principal painter from 1749, presented a whole length to the Foundling Hospital in 1758. Versions are in Huntingdon Town Hall, [13] the Scottish NPG (221), the Royal collection (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 567, 568), Pruitt collection, USA and in the British Museum, commissioned in 1759 from the artist; he later asked permission to alter the shading to suit the position of the picture. [14] An example of another group, presumably of Hanoverian origin, is the anonymous portrait in the Royal collection which Millar (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 620) dates to 1740-50. This is the source of the Reynolds of c.1756, [15] Diocese of York, which is near another portrait, signed and dated 1747, at Sotheby's, 21 June 1967, lot 36, by Gottfried Boy (b. 1701), a painter at the Hanoverian court. The type was engraved by J. J. Kleinschmidt after Franz Lippoldt (1688-1768). A corresponding oil is in a private collection in Geneva and a copy was at Christie's, 18 November 1949, lot 164, as by Vanloo. A portrait of the King in the library at St James's Palace, ascribed to Charles Philips, was exhibited 'The Countess of Suffolk and her Friends', Marble Hill House, 1966 (12).
For the portrait by Worlidge, see NPG 256. The final and arresting image of the sitter as an old man is by Robert Edge Pine, dated 1759. Originally destined for Maryland, it was bought from the artist in 1784 by Lord Howard de Walden and is now at Audley End. Several copies and versions exist including a reduced whole length at Kensington Palace (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 569) where the portrait is said to have been taken 'unseen by the King as he was speaking to one of his attendants at the top of the great Staircase'. [16] A small variant is in the collection of E. J. Tracy Kelly, and another is in the National Maritime Museum (47-457).

Rysbrack had two sittings which resulted in the statue for the Greenwich Hospital erected 1735, [17] and a terracotta bust and marble, dated 1738, pair with the Queen, produced for her new library at St James's. The terracotta of Caroline is incised and dated posthumously, 1739. Both terracottas, at Teddersley Park, 1953, and now with the marbles in the Royal collection, were probably bought from Rysbrack by Sir Edward Littleton. [18] There is a statue at Stowe. Another at the Royal Exchange, sold after the fire in 1838 and a medallion at the artist's sale, 20 April 1765, lot 15, are now missing. The marble bust incised and dated 1760 in the Victoria and Albert Museum is a repetition of the 1738 type, of which other versions are at Windsor (unsigned) and Christ Church, Oxford. Roubiliac's fine bust made without sittings, Royal collection, shows the King somewhat older. [19] A wax by Gosset bought by Queen Mary at the Clumber sale, 1937, has the air of being from life which Vertue's comments of 1752 apparently confirm. [20] An equestrian statuette by John Van Nost the younger, owned by the late Sir James Mann, [21] is a reproduction of the statue commissioned in 1753 by the corporation of Dublin. Now destroyed, it was completed 1756 and erected on St Stephen's Green, 1758. [22]
Late types include a Chelsea figure with an example in the Los Angeles County Museum, [23] an ivory by Ludwig von Lücke incised and dated 1760, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a small marble, with David Peel, 1965. [24]

Hogarth, who was first granted and then refused sittings c.1733, produced at about that time the delightful but unfinished sketch of the King and his family (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 559, pl.209). [25] In the preceding year Vertue mentions a further equestrian portrait (NPG 368) painted for 'Lord Hubbard' (John, 1st Baron Hobart), the face 'by Mr. Jarvis & all the other parts by Mr. Wooton - the Horse etc was much approv'd off, but the Kings not thought to be like ...’ [26] Highmore also painted the King on horseback but without sittings. A version is at Goodwood. An equestrian type designed to commemorate the Battle of Dettingen, 1743, in which George fought with bravery, was produced by David Morier, the Swiss military and sporting painter newly arrived in England, and engraved by S. F. Ravenet. A large version is at Windsor Castle (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 591) and another was sold from the Brocket collection, Sotheby's, 16 July 1952, lot 78. It was, however, left to Wootton to produce the much more important souvenir, a painting in which George and Cumberland are seen mounted in the foreground with the battle raging to their left. [27] The picture, formerly in the Leeds collection and at Sotheby's, 14 June 1961, lot 17, when described as George II and the Earl of Holdernesse at Dettingen, is now in the National Army Museum. Its provenance derives from the presence at the battle of Robert, 4th Earl of Holdernesse, whose property presumably passed to the future 5th Duke of Leeds, husband of Amelia, his only surviving child. The knight of the Garter depicted must be Cumberland and Holdernesse, then twenty-five, the handsome young officer on his left. A version at Hopetoun House, Marquess of Linlithgow, is signed and dated 1754. George also appears in the group attributed to Johan Valentin Haidt and associated with the Moravian church (see NPG 1356).
There remain for students of iconography, the royal injunctions to Zincke written when the King and Queen were in their forty-ninth year: ‘... the Queen advis'd him to be sure to make the Kings picture young, not above 25.- & the King commended his works & admonished him not to make the Queens picture above 28 - these courtesies to each other. must be a mystery to posterity who sees them thus depicted without knowing partly the reason' [28] (see Queen Caroline).

1) G. E. Cockayne, The Complete Peerage, revised by V. Gibbs (and others), 1910-59, see Macclesfield, and vol. II, appendix B, p 583.
2) E. Croft-Murray, Decorative Painting in England 1537-1837, I, 1962, p 269; G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, I, p 45; V, p 83.
3) Ibid, III, p 63.
4) Ibid, III, pp 59, 63-64, 99.
5) Ibid, p 54.
6) J. Woodward, 'Four Royal Portraits at the Walker Gallery', Liverpool Bulletin, IV, 1954, pp 7-14, fig.2.
7) J. Ingamells, Catalogue of the Pictures in the Mansion House, York: I - The State Room, 1970, pp 3-6.
8) A. Brice, Grand Gazeteer, 1759, I, p 545; exhibited 'Kings & Queens of England', Liverpool, 1953 (31), reproduced souvenir catalogue, p 28.
9) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, III, p 76.
10) Ibid, p 140.
11) Information, O. Millar; Royal Collection 621 is a version.
12) Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, p 172.
13) J. Kerslake, 'Some little-known Portraits in Huntingdon Town Hall', Connoisseur, CXXXV, 1955, p 239; on loan from Lord Hinchingbrooke; at Sotheby's, 4 December 1937, lot 189.
14) British Museum Trustees, Committee Minutes, III, p 758: 16 April 1762.
15) Sir Ellis K. Waterhouse, Reynolds (English Master Painters), 1941, p 41.
16) R. J. B. Walker, Audley End, Essex: Catalogue of the pictures in the State Room, 3rd edition, 1964, p 20, pl.ii.
17) D. Lysons, The Environs of London, 1796, IV, p 441 and note 72.
18) M. I. Webb, Michael Rysbrack Sculptor, 1954, pp 154-56, 216; Exhibited 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953 (228, 234); also 'The Art of ... Rysbrack in Terracotta', Spinks, 1932.
19) Exhibited 'English Taste in the Eighteenth Century', RA, 1955-56 (216); K. A. Esdaile, The Life and Works of Louis François Roubiliac, 1928, 1928, pp 80, 91-92, (pl.xxva) stating it was commissioned.
20) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, III, p 160; Exhibited 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953 (230).
21) Exhibited 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953 (229).
22) R. Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, 1953, p 282.
23) From Hearst Foundation, reproduced Bulletin of Los Angeles County Museum, VI, 1954, p 33; duplicates in British Museum and V & A (Schreiber collection, 126).
24) Connoisseur, September 1965, reproduced advertisement.
25) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, III, p 68.
26) Ibid, pp 59, 62. This large but little known canvas has presumably been at Blickling since painted.
27) Exhibited 'Kings & Queens', RA, 1953, souvenir catalogue pl.60.
28) G. Vertue, Vertue Note Books (edited by The Earl of Ilchester), Walpole Society, III, p 58. The miniatures referred to are presumably those in the audience chamber at Windsor.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.