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Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, studio of Allan Ramsay, 1761-1762 - NPG 224 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz

studio of Allan Ramsay
oil on canvas, 1761-1762
58 1/4 in. x 42 1/2 in. (1480 mm x 1080 mm)
Purchased, 1866
Primary Collection
NPG 224

On display at Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Australia

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Allan Ramsay (1713-1784), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 120 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The youngest daughter of Charles Louis of Mecklenberg-Strelitz, Charlotte first met George III on 8 September 1761 and was married to him that evening. Unable to speak English, for the first part of her marriage she felt alienated from her husband's court but eventually forged a strong and affectionate bond with the King which lasted until his second bout of 'madness' in 1804. She took no part in politics, lived a life of unimpeachable domesticity, and had fifteen children.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 223: King George III (companion portrait)
  • NPG D48151: Sophia Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Bennett, Sue, Five Centuries of Women and Gardens, 2000 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 5 October 2000 to 21 January 2001), p. 75
  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina ., Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. 160 Read entry

    The eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, George III was the first Hanoverian king to be born and bred in England. His reign was one of the longest and most eventful in modern times, and included the loss of the American colonies. Although plagued by mental illness, he maintained a meticulous personal interest in government until 1811. He first met German-born Charlotte on their wedding day on 8 September 1761. Overcoming initial obstacles of language, they forged a strong and affectionate bond and had fifteen children, of whom thirteen survived into adulthood.

    Issued by the talented Scottish court artist Allan Ramsay, these portraits (NPG 224 and NPG 223) are two of several versions of the State portraits that he painted in 1761 and 1762. The royal couple are shown in great splendour wearing the matching gold and ermine costumes worn at the coronation on 22 September 1761. Ramsay presents the young king with a grace and elegance that is complementary to the dignity and power of majesty. Many of the studio versions of these pictures found their way to Britain's newly acquired colonial territories, where they represented the authority of the nascent British Empire.

  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina ., Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. Back Flap
  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 102
  • Ross, Josephine, Jane Austen and her World, 2017, p. 11
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 118
  • Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 137
  • Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 138

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1761back to top

Current affairs

George, Prince of Wales marries Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz at St James' Palace. He is crowned George III two weeks later.
Buckingham House, on the site of present-day Buckingham Palace, is purchased for the royal family.
Bridgewater canal, engineered by James Brindley, opens as Britain's first canal.




Art and science

Establishment of Matthew Boulton's toy factory, the Soho Manufactory, near Birmingham; considered the first modern factory in Britain.
Allan Ramsay becomes Painter to the King.

International

Seven Years' War: General Sir Eyre Coote captures Pondicherry from the French in India. A combined Prussian-Hanoverian-British force led by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick defeats a large French army at the Battle of Villinghausen. France and Spain sign the Pacte de Famille forming an alliance against Britain. Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder fails to garner support to declare war on Spain.

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