The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

The Trial of Queen Caroline 1820

Identify sitters

© National Portrait Gallery, London

8 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Buy a greetings card Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Buy greetings card
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

The Trial of Queen Caroline 1820

by Sir George Hayter
oil on canvas, 1820-1823
91 3/4 in. x 140 1/4 in. (2330 mm x 3562 mm)
Given by the Art Fund, 1912
Primary Collection
NPG 999

Artistback to top

  • Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), Portrait and history painter; son of Charles Hayter. Artist or producer associated with 198 portraits, Sitter associated with 16 portraits. Identify

Sittersback to top

This portraitback to top

The 'trial' of Queen Caroline in 1820 was not technically a trial but a parliamentary debate on a bill designed to grant the King a divorce. After separating from George IV, Caroline lived in England until 1814, and then travelled in Europe and the East. Her adulterous relationship with her Italian valet Count Pergami caused a scandal. On George IV's accession in January 1820 Caroline made haste for England to claim her throne as Queen. She was greeted by cheering crowds who, fuelled by their hatred of the King, dubbed her the 'people's queen'. Hayter's painting shows the House of Lords on the sixth day of the trial, with Lord Grey questioning the Italian Majocchi who repeatedly denied any memory of Caroline's sexual indiscretions. Other prominent figures are Caroline herself, Henry Brougham her lawyer and the Duke of Wellington, standing under the left hand balcony. The proceedings ended in a compromise and the anticlimax of Caroline's acquittal, but not before it had provided a feverishly partisan England with one of the last great spectacles of the Regency.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 1695(h): William Adams, James Parke, 1st Baron Wensleydale and Sir Christopher Robinson (study)
  • NPG 2662(10): William Adams (study)
  • NPG 2662(14): Charles Arbuthnot (study)
  • NPG 4940: Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(24): John Cust, 1st Earl Brownlow; Charles Gordon-Lennox, 5th Duke of Richmond and Lennox (study)
  • NPG 2662(11): Thomas Philip de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey (study)
  • NPG 1695(f): Thomas Denman, 1st Baron Denman (study)
  • NPG 2662(9): An official (study)
  • NPG 2662(29): Various heads including, Richard Hely-Hutchinson, 1st Earl of Donoughmore (study)
  • NPG 2662(22): George Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover; Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (study)
  • NPG 1695(l): John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (study)
  • NPG 1695(k): John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon (study)
  • NPG 1695(p): Henry Lascelles, 2nd Earl of Harewood (study)
  • NPG 5192: Henry Richard Fox (later Vassall), 3rd Baron Holland (study)
  • NPG 1695(g): Henry Richard Fox (later Vassall), 3rd Baron Holland (study)
  • NPG 1695(m): Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (study)
  • NPG 2662(16): Possibly Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (study)
  • NPG 2662(7): John Singleton Copley, Baron Lyndhurst (study)
  • NPG 1695(c): Theodore Majocchi (study)
  • NPG 1695(d): Theodore Majocchi (study)
  • NPG 2662(6): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 5257: Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool (study)
  • NPG 1695(a): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 1695(b): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(1): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(2): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(3): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(4): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(5): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(8): Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (study)
  • NPG 2662(12): Bowyer Edward Sparke and other figures (study)
  • NPG 2662(13): Three unknown sitters (study)
  • NPG 2662(15): Four heads (study)
  • NPG 2662(17): Group of four figures (study)
  • NPG 2662(18): Group of twelve heads (study)
  • NPG 2662(20): Various heads including 7th Baron King of Ockham, 1st Earl Granville, 5th Earl de la Warr and 1st Earl Amherst of Arracan (study)
  • NPG 2662(21): Various heads including William Nelson, 1st Earl Nelson and Frederick, Duke of York (study)
  • NPG 2662(23): John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden; Edward Southwell, 21st Baron de Clifford; Thomas Hampden, 2nd Viscount Hampden (study)
  • NPG 2662(25): Possibly Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (study)
  • NPG 2662(26): Charles Herbert Pierrepont, 2nd Earl Manvers (study)
  • NPG 2662(27): John Jeffreys Pratt, 1st Marquess Camden; Edward Southwell, 21st Baron de Clifford; Thomas Hampden, 2nd Viscount Hampden (study)
  • NPG 2662(28): Group of heads between Theodore Majocchi and Marchese di Spineto (study)
  • NPG 2662(30): Gallery rails (study)
  • NPG 2662(31): Hands of Marchese di Spineto (study)
  • NPG 2662(32): Hands on rails (study)
  • NPG 2662(33): Architectural features, left gallery (study)
  • NPG 2662(34): House of Lords (study)
  • NPG 2662(35): Architectural features, left gallery (study)
  • NPG 2662(36): Architectural features, right gallery (study)
  • NPG 1695(e): Robert Gifford, 1st Baron Gifford (study)
  • NPG 1695(i): Group including 1st Baron Gifford, Lushington, Baron Lyndhurst, di Spineto and 1st Baron Truro (study)
  • NPG 1695(j): Group including King William IV and others (study)
  • NPG 1695(n): Group including Majendie, Cornewall, Law, 5th Earl of Aylesford and 10th Baron Colville (study)
  • NPG 1695(o): Thomas Wilde, 1st Baron Truro (study)
  • NPG 1695(q): Group including some Members of Parliament (study)
  • NPG 1695(r): A member of the Council (study)
  • NPG 1695(s): Group including John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon; Sir William Garrow; Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool, and others (study)
  • NPG 1695(t): Group including Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Charles Manners-Sutton, Venables Vernon Harcourt and others (study)
  • NPG 1695(u): Balcony group (study)
  • NPG 1695(v): Group in left gallery (study)
  • NPG 1695(w): Members of the House of Commons (study)
  • NPG 1695(x): Group of eight unknown sitters for the right niche (study)

Linked publicationsback to top

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1820back to top

Current affairs

George III dies at Windsor Castle on 29 January and George IV ascends to the throne.
'Trial of Queen Caroline' in the House of Lords; Parliament drops the Bill which was to legitimise a divorce between Caroline and George IV.
Cato Street Conspiracy to assassinate the cabinet discovered. Arthur Thistlewood and fellow conspirators are hung.

Art and science

Sir Thomas Lawrence becomes President of the Royal Academy.
Astronomical Society is set up by John Herschel and Charles Babbage.
First iron steamship is launched.


Actor, Edmund Kean goes on a successful tour of America after making his name at the Drury Lane Theatre.
Revolutions begin in Spain, Portugal and Naples.
The famous ancient Greek statue of the Venus de Milo is rediscovered on the Island of Melos and purchased by the Louvre in Paris.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.


25 April 2018, 10:44

According to Walker Regency catalogue, it is the 9th Baron Colville in this painting. (Dates given for Colville are correct for the 9th Baron). Same goes for the study NPG 1695(n).

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Tudor and Elizabethan matching pairs

Test your memory by playing our matching pairs game. Three levels of difficulty make it fun for the whole family.

Test your skill

Regency familiar faces

Rearrange tiles to uncover sitters from the Gallery's Collection by playing our puzzle game.

Play today

Who do you think you were?

Answer a few lifestyle questions about the Elizabethan period and discover your inner Elizabethan!

Start now