King George I
- Extended Catalogue Entry
King George I
studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
oil on canvas, feigned oval, circa 1714
29 3/4 in. x 25 in. (756 mm x 635 mm) overall
Artistback to top
- Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt (1646-1723), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 1686 portraits, Sitter associated with 30 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This profile portrait was probably created in preparation for new coinage shortly after the accession of George I in 1714. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).
Linked publicationsback to top
- 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. 156 Read entry
Georg Ludwig of Hanover was the great-grandson of James I through his mother Sophia of the Palatine (1630-1714). He succeeded to the British throne as George I in 1714, on the death of the last Stuart monarch, Queen Anne, under the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701, which was designed to ensure a Protestant succession. As the first king of a new dynasty, it was necessary to pioneer a new visual identity for the monarchy and to establish quickly the legitimacy and authority of the new regime, as the succession was contested by supporters of the Jacobite claimant to the throne, James Francis Edward Stuart.
This profile portrait is one of several versions made as part of the campaign to disseminate the new king's image and is related to the preparation for new coinage at the Royal Mint. Coins are the most widely disseminated royal images and historically were, perhaps, the most potent symbols of royal authority. This important commission went to Sir Godrey Kneller, the Principal Painter to the Crown, and a payment of £20 'for the coin' was made to Kneller on 6 May 1715. The king wears gold-edged armour draped in a silk cloth and is presented as being ready and determined to defend both the Protestant faith and his new realm.
- Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 85
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 240
Events of 1714back to top
Current affairsQueen Anne dies at Kensington Palace aged 49, on 1st August. The same day, under the Act of Regency, the regency council proclaims James I's great-grandson, George, elector of Hanover, king of Great Britain and Ireland, thus transferring the crown from the house of Stuart to the house of Hanover.
Art and scienceWriter and politician, Sir Richard Steele, accepts the post of governorship for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Tenison, founds one of the first co-educational schools in Croydon.
The Longitude Act offers a reward for the invention of a method of precisely determining a ship's longitude.
InternationalDespite the peace accord at Utrecht in 1713, ratification of the treaties of Rastatt and Baden are required to end the continued hostilities in the War of the Spanish Succession between the French king Louis XIV and Charles VI Archduke of Austria and Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
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