Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

by Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, 1804
55 1/4 in. x 44 in. (1403 mm x 1118 mm)
Purchased, 1867
Primary Collection
NPG 244

On display in Room 15 on Floor 3 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist or producer associated with 696 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.

This portraitback to top

This portrait of Caroline of Brunswick was painted after her separation from the Prince of Wales. Thomas Lawrence - rumoured to be among her lovers - depicts her here in defiant mood, her left hand and wedding ring deep in shadow. Her dress is of striking red velvet. Its ruff of fine muslin and 'rolled-up' sleeves, secured with gold braid, illustrate the popularity of the Renaissance as an influence on female court costume at this time. A tight whaleboned corset worn underneath this gown accentuates Caroline's figure. Her matching hat is trimmed with bird-of-paradise feathers and she is heavily rouged. Court fashions were often rather removed from those of the world outside; the outdated hooped dresses of the 1740s, for example, were still worn until around 1820.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D48153: Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1804back to top

Current affairs

William Pitt returns to office and forms a second coalition administration, retaining many of those who had served under his predecessor Henry Addington but specifically excluding his arch rival Charles James Fox .

Art and science

William Blake starts writing Jerusalem. One of his most ambitious allegorical poems, it took nearly eight years to complete.
Amidst infighting about submissions to the annual exhibition, attempts are made to unseat painter Benjamin West as President of the Royal Academy and elect architect James Wyatt instead.


Napoleon declares himself Emperor of France and is crowned as Napoleon I by Pope Pius VII in Paris.
Haiti achieves independence led by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the patriot and martyr who had seized control from the French in 1801. He becomes a symbolic figure of freedom for the British anti-slavery movement.

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